Van Jones

When opportunity calls, you answer.

When I stepped off the plane in the searing summer heat of Shanghai, I knew that the trajectory of my life had fundamentally changed.

I had left a much safer career-start back home in Cincinnati to experience what I believed would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. The playbook for the business I was joining was still being written. The client relationships were new. The products were relatively untested. The team young. Would it work? There was no guarantee. But I knew I would be learning a ton and having a lot of fun along the way.

After five years in Asia, I applied the skills learned in China along with the best practices I would learn while studying at the Booth School of Business. Both experiences would give me the confidence that I could enter into any new environment and be successful.

While studying at Booth, I saw how the world was shifting and that some of the fastest-growing economies were popping up in Africa. With that insight, I co-founded a startup in Nigeria that would take me across the entire continent. I spent several amazing years in Africa launching a telematics platform for agricultural equipment that positively impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of farmers. It was an amazing experience working to fix a broken system in an enormous market.

When I learned of Drive Capital's thesis and the undeniable opportunity in the Midwest...well, you know the pattern of my choices by now.

I never set out to be an expat in China, an entrepreneur in Africa, or a venture capitalist in Columbus. Learning excites me. I love a challenging environment. And I love experiencing life. I am always down for an honest and frank conversation. I have learned along the way that a single conversation can turn into a life-changing opportunity. 

And when opportunity calls, you answer.