John Thornton

  • Co-founder
  • AJP

This speaker was invited to present by a paid sponsor of the ONA19 conference.

John Thornton has two abiding passions: Venture capital investing and nonprofit journalism.

In 1991, John joined Austin Ventures, which became the largest regional capital firm in the US. He served for four years as the firm's managing partner and led nearly 50 investments in young software companies that created more than $2 billion in value for AV investors. In 2017 he co-founded Elsewhere Partners, a boutique software investment firm focused on bootstrapped companies in non-coastal markets.

In 2008, John founded the Texas Tribune, one of the largest local news organizations established anywhere in the world during the 21st century. In 2018, John co-founded the American Journalism Project, a first-of-its-kind venture philanthropy firm dedicated to starting and growing local news organizations. AJP has received over $42 million in commitments from the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, Arnold Ventures, the Emerson Collective, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Christopher Buck, Facebook, and the Democracy Fund.

John serves on the boards of several private software companies as well as The Texas Tribune and The City, a nonprofit news startup in New York. He also serves as a senior advisor to CAVU Venture Partners, an investment firm focused on consumer-packaged goods. He is a graduate of both the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Trinity University, where he graduated first in his class, was named Distinguished Alumnus of 2015, and is a former trustee. He lives in Austin with his wife Erin and their boys Wade and Wyatt.