LA Venture: Investor Josh Jones on Bitcoin, Investing and the Future of Air Travel

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.

Josh Jones is one of the managing partners of The Fund LA, but he's been part of so much more.

He was a co-founder of DreamHost, a bitcoin pioneer and, most recently, the owner of an airline that plans to launch in the spring. On this episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, he talks about lessons learned along the way, and some of his future plans.


Jones stumbled into DreamHost while at Claremont's Harvey Mudd College. Some classmates had just started the company and asked if he'd be interested in joining on.

"I said, 'I hate those logos. And I hate the name of the company, but I'm in,'" said Jones.

They bought a server and then tried running an ad network, then an ecommerce service and even a delivery service. But the only thing that customers seemed to be interested in was paying to host their sites on DreamHost's servers.

Seventeen years later, DreamHost is still around. Jones stepped away from the company in 2013 after selling all his shares in order to pursue a new venture: Bitcoin.

Jones was introduced to cryptocurrency through an article and decided to buy in after doing some research to determine whether it was legitimate.

In 2010 he became one of the very early Bitcoin miners: "You couldn't get any unless you downloaded the software. And then it just ran on my little $300 media PC for a few months. And then I checked one day, and I was like, 'I have 50 Bitcoin.' I was like, 'Cool, it's worth $3', or something, at the time," said Jones.

Jones found his way back to Harvey Mudd in 2017, where he created an accelerator program. That's where he came across a startup called Float that was interested in creating a low-cost commuter airline to take passengers a short distance -- for instance, from Santa Monica to Pomona or Van Nuys to Santa Ana.

"They launched, I think it was March 7th, 2020. And they had a great week. And then COVID shut everything down," said Jones.

The Float team and Jones then bid on an airline that went bankrupt during the pandemic. "And now we run this regional airline in Alaska called Ravn." But Jones describes his much bigger vision for growing from Ravn to Northern Pacific, an airline that will fly from the US to Asia via a layover in Anchorage.

The company is now working on creating a loyalty program that uses crypto.

Press the playhead above to hear Jones talk in depth about his background and experience with bitcoin -- and what he sees for its future.

Engagement reporter Joshua Letona contributed to this post.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Los Angeles is home to the second-highest largest homeless population in the U.S. While new resources have been allocated to creating housing during the pandemic, it's not enough. Tent cities crowd freeway underpasses and sit alongside neighborhoods.

For Berok Khoshnevis, this crisis represents an opportunity. Khoshnevis is a professor of engineering at the University of Southern California and has had a lifelong interest in the potential of 3D printing. Since the 1980s, he has been working with 3D printed machinery, with a special emphasis on the creation of large structures.

Read more Show less

Wine Subscription Company Winc Postpones IPO

Harrison Weber

Do you know something we should know about L.A. tech or venture capital? Reach out securely via Signal: +1 917 434 4978.

Harrison is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. They previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find them on Twitter: @harrisonweber. Send tips on L.A. deals to harrison@dot.la. Pronouns: they/them.

Santa Monica-based wineseller Winc has postponed its expected debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

Read more Show less

OpenDrives Hires Ex-Activision Esports' André Rievers as Operations Lead

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Samson is also a proud member of the Transgender Journalists Association. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

Digital storage company OpenDrives is planning a move into the lucrative world of esports and gaming and has hired former Activision Blizzard post production lead André Rievers to help lead the effort.

OpenDrives is a backend storage provider for some of Hollywood's biggest studios including WarnerMedia, Disney, NBCUniversal, Dreamworks, Paramount, Netflix and the Los Angeles Kings hockey team.

And it already has three hot names in gaming – Santa Monica-based Riot Games, Culver City-based esports team 100 Thieves and "Fortnite" maker Epic Games – as clients. OpenDrives raised $20 million in January.

Read more Show less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending