No one can accuse London native Tim Jackson, 35, of being afraid of change. In the 14 years since he graduated from Oxford, he has transformed himself from journalist to Netrepreneur to venture capitalist. His latest move came in March, when he became a managing director of Carlyle Internet Partners' $730 million Net fund--among the largest financers of Net startups in Europe.
Jackson paid his dues to get where he is today. After graduation, he became a business and technology journalist, eventually moving to the Financial Times to write a weekly column about the Web. That took him to Silicon Valley, where he caught the entrepreneurial bug. "It got to the stage where I no longer wanted to be a spectator but a participant," Jackson recalls.
So, in the spring of 1997, he used his life savings to start QXL.com, an online auctioneer. Business was slow at first and financing tough to come by. Jackson almost shut down in Dec., 1997, but then the online auction site took off. The business did so well that QXL's IPO on Nasdaq last fall valued the company at $350 million.
Jackson doesn't want to run the company day to day anymore, however. He's brought in managers from America Online and scaled his role back to "special advisor." Now, through the Carlyle fund, he wants to help the next wave of Netrepreneurs. He also wants to spend more time with his wife and his four young children. His 17.5% stake in QXL, worth $180 million at current prices, ought to help.