It’s my pleasure to announce the official launch of KBJ Capital, a $1 million angel fund focused on providing seed capital and mentorship to early stage technology companies. The fund was created by best-selling author and successful internet entrepreneur Kristopher B. Jones, founder of three-time Inc. Magazine fastest growing company Pepperjam….an interactive marketing and technology company Kris sold to GSI Commerce (NASDAQ – GSIC) in 2009.
$100,000 Angel Investment: Highlighter.com
It’s with double the pleasure and triple the excitement that I (through KBJ Capital) simultaneously announce the completion of a $100,000 investment in Highlighter.com, an early stage technology company and recent graduate of the nationally acclaimed TechStars start-up incubator program.
Highlighter.com unifies what you highlight, comment, and share across all content, platforms and devices, to create a dynamic relationship with publishers and readers. Highlighter changes the game in how you – the reader – can engage with content – whether that content is a word, a sentence, a paragraph, or an image…Highlighter allows you to start conversations or engage in existing conversations with content that you find interesting. You’ll see that Highlighter is installed on this blog so feel free to engage with existing highlights or highlight something of your own! Start a conversation. Have fun. Learn.
Highlighter is the brainchild of Josh Mullineaux, Matt Blancarte and Nate Whitehill, who are previous founders of Unique Blog Designs, a full-service blog and web design firm that has worked with tens of thousands of publishers. On a personal note, the Unique Blog Designs team created this blog (they’ve also done blogs for John Chow, Tony Robbins, Zac Johnson, Yahoo, and many others).
A Little More About TechStars:
TechStars is a mentorship-driven seed stage investment fund founded in 2006 by David Cohen, Brad Feld, Jared Polis and David Brown. Highlighter.com was one of ten (10) technology start-ups accepted into the 2010 inaugural TechStars Seattle program from more than 600 applications. Recent graduates of TechStars have been funded by venture capital firms such as Google Ventures, First Round Capital, and Foundry Group, while others have been acquired by the likes of AOL, Jive Software, and WordPress parent company Automattic. I fully anticipate the same thing happening for my partners at Highlighter.
Hey Kris – Why Start an Investment Fund? What Does Angel Investing Have to Do With Following Your Passion?
The creation of KBJ Capital and my angel investment in Highlighter.com is consistent with my personal and professional interest in supporting entrepreneurial development and technology innovation.
Honestly, it’s been a total buzz getting involved with my friends Josh, Matt, and Nate at Highlighter! It’s also a true honor to be putting my money and time where my mouth is as it relates to supporting the TechStars program – the simple reason for this is that I’ve been talking the ear off of fellow angels, economic development people, and elected officials from Northeastern Pennsylvania about the power of structured incubator programs like Y-Combinator and TechStars.
Granted….Northeastern Pennsylvania is home to multiple successful incubator programs, including the Innovation Center @ Wilkes Barre (ICWB) (that’s where I started Pepperjam!!!) and the Scranton Enterprise Center (SEC); however, the two missing ingredients with the ICWB and SEC are a lack of active (1) structured mentorship and (2) angel investment. Unlike the ICWB and SEC that do not have predefined beginnings and ends for participating start-ups….and do not include private equity partners….Y-Combinator and TechStars have created an incubation / investment model that continues to produce some of the most successful technology start-ups in the world.
What’s Next for KBJ Capital?
Expect more announcements forthcoming from KBJ Capital, but don’t get overly excited since I intend to be hyper selective with the companies I invest in and unless I conclude after the first meeting / introduction that I personally can help the start-up accomplish their goals, I won’t invest. At the same time, if I conclude a business idea is investor worthy I will do my best to open up (my large and growing) network of fellow angels, Venture Capital friends, as well as connections with economic development folks and elected officials to support your dreams.
What’s Next for Kris Jones?
LOL. Working on that. I intend to incubate a business or two myself with a little help from my friends at KBJ Capital. Stay tuned for a Q 1 2010 announcement. My current plan is under wraps and in ultra stealth mode. See ReferLocal.com
I’m also a partner in multiple other investments (sorry, can’t announce everything with bells and whistles)…and intend to spend the majority of time with my amazing wife Robyn and awesome children Kris Jr. (2 yrs 3 months) and Lauren (9 months)…etc.
If you want to interview me about this investment you can contact me here.
That’s all for now.