The Alabama Capital Network (ACN) announced this week that Joshua Jones has been hired as its new chief executive officer, effective April 5.
ACN was founded in 2017 by Charlie Perry, Sanjay Singh, Ruffner Page, Bill Terry and Bill Goodrich – five Birmingham-area executives deeply attuned to the need for access to capital to grow and accelerate the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. The organization holds quarterly investor presentation events at which Alabama-based startups pitch their products and services. Members of ACN receive access to the most promising investment deals, while startups receive coaching, connections and the opportunity to raise the capital needed to scale their business.
“We are very proud of the impact that the Alabama Capital Network has had on our community,” stated Perry, ACN’s board chairman. “Since we started ACN nearly four years ago, we’ve seen an incredible increase in national interest, involvement from local business leaders, and capital investment in local startups.”
“We are excited to take that to the next level by bringing a proven entrepreneur, Joshua Jones, to run the organization. Josh has had a history of success,” Perry continued. “He possesses terrific organizational skills as well as excellent communication skills. We are excited about watching him move both ACN and our entrepreneurial ecosystem forward.”
Jones previously founded and ran Birmingham-based StrategyWise, a data science and AI consulting firm that was acquired last year by a private equity-backed firm based in Boulder, CO. During his tenure at StrategyWise, the company was listed three years in a row on the Inc 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private businesses and counted Toshiba, Southern Company and Samsung among its list of clients. Jones also co-founded QuantHub, a data science testing and training platform used nationally by companies ranging from Verizon and HP to the U.S. Navy.
“Starting and investing in growing businesses has been my passion for nearly 25 years, and in my free time I’ve been working to grow our local startup ecosystem. Joining ACN presented the perfect nexus for me to engage at a deeper level,” said Jones in a statement. “Alabama has all of the necessary components to become a hub for high growth startups, and access to capital is a key ingredient in driving our state forward.”
In addition to his new role at ACN, Jones also serves on Alabama’s Artificial Intelligence Commission and on the boards of directors of Kulture City, the Birmingham Zoo and the Birmingham Venture Club. He received his undergraduate degree in Business Management from the University of Alabama and his Masters in Business Administration from Emory’s Goizueta Business School.
“I met Josh 8 years ago and have watched with great admiration his achievements as an entrepreneur and community builder,” commented Singh. “He is incredibly talented, with phenomenal relationship building skills across the entrepreneurial ecosystem – policy makers, entrepreneurs, employees, clients, and investors. We are very excited that he has agreed to join ACN to continue its mission of fostering innovation and startups, which is the future of Alabama’s and our national economy.”
‘We’re on the precipice of something big in Alabama’
Jones’ hire comes at a time in which the Yellowhammer State is embarking on an unprecedented effort to drive innovation and promote entrepreneurship. The intentional focus has thus far been marked by collaborative public-private partnerships, such as the Alabama Innovation Commission formed last year by Governor Kay Ivey. Legislation has already been enacted this year to advance the effort, and another landmark bill was introduced in recent days.
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ACN is certainly one of the private sector partners furthering innovation and growing Alabama’s 21st-century economy.
“I love everything about starting and growing businesses, this is the perfect place for me to explore that passion while helping grow our entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Jones noted.
He advised, “I believe we’re on the precipice of something big in Alabama, and I’m excited to be part of the effort of getting our entrepreneurial ecosystem to the next level. We’re going to continue to build ACN to become the go-to place for entrepreneurs seeking access to capital, as well as investors looking for the news innovative ideas.”
“I’m looking forward to taking my experience as an entrepreneur, and applying it to the Alabama Capital Network system and process. That means deeper engagement with entrepreneurs, coaching and mentoring as they grow, and establishing processes that support investors as they seek to track and monitor progress,” Jones concluded. “I already have a working relationship with many of the ecosystem partners – I look forward to building on that base, but also expanding our reach and impact across the state.”
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Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn
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