New venture by John James raises $100,000, seeks $2 million

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 776 views 

Gemini Development LLC, a Fayetteville technology development firm led by John James and Jim Kane, has raised $100,000 in equity and plans to raise $2 million.

The firm filed on June 12 a Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities (Form D) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indicating the fundraising round. The filing can be found here.

A Form D must be filed with the SEC within 15 days of the first sale of a security in a private placement. The first sale was June 1, according to the filing, and it was to one investor.

“We are quite a bit further along than that [$100,000] now, but it’s a good start,” James said. “We are making good progress.”

The funding is for Engine, a new computer software firm. Engine is a cloud-based e-commerce platform focused on optimizing customer acquisition and conversion rates.

For the past three years, James has run Hayseed Ventures, a startup studio in Fayetteville focused on e-commerce. Engine was one of its portfolio companies.

“This is the [company] I’m going to run,” James said. “This is what I’ve been looking for the past couple of years through Hayseed.”

James said Engine began working with a few pilot customers earlier this year, and the plan is to have the product ready for general availability to other online stores and merchants through a soft launch later this year.

James is perhaps best known as founder and CEO of Country Outfitter/Acumen Brands, which raised more than $100 million in venture capital and made its name as one of the nation’s largest online retailers of cowboy boots. Kane, a longtime friend of James’, was the company’s chief technical officer.

“The last time we started something together it turned out pretty well,” James said. “So we’re gonna do it again. We’ve tried to keep this under wraps for a while so it’s kind of fun to actually talk about it.”

James said the firm will be relocating from its office on the downtown Fayetteville square to a new office space on Township Street in Fayetteville in the coming weeks.

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