Fellow Spotlight: John McGrail, TurboSquid


Name: John McGrail

Hometown: Arlington, Virginia

University: Amherst College ’11

Product Analyst, TurboSquid
New Orleans, LA


What initially attracted you to Venture for America?

I wanted to work for a smaller, high growth company instead of a larger company.  I believe that I could learn more, and have a more exciting experience, working in an environment where my duties would vary.  I did not want to work somewhere where every day at the office was identical.

I also applied to Venture for America because I believe that start-up companies are a key component to the American economy.  I spent last year teaching English in eastern Ukraine, in a city full of coal mines and factories.  The idea of a start-up company was virtually non-existent due to imbecilic government regulations.  Many of the people that I met seemed resigned to a lifetime of manual labor, despite being well educated and technically savvy.  I realized that Americans are privileged to have the ability to start a business and was eager to become a VFA fellow to maintain this culture of innovation.

What is the best part of being a VFA fellow?

The camaraderie amongst fellows is great.  A lot of my non-VFA friends have expressed envy that I was able to find a job that doubled as a social network.

What does TurboSquid do?

TurboSquid is a deep-sea fishing company that is known for the fantastic speed at which it catches its product.  I’m joking. We actually are the world’s largest market place for 3D images.  Artists from around the world sell their products on our site to buyers from a surprisingly diverse set of industries.

What do you do on a typical day at work?

I am a product analyst, which involves analyzing past sales trends to help predict what products will sell well in the future. A typical day involves a few meetings, some work with Excel, and at least 10 minutes embroiled in a Nerf gun fight.

What’s your favorite thing about New Orleans?:

Come on, it’s New Orleans.  What’s not to love?  Great parties, great weather (hurricane season aside), and great food year round.

What do you hope to accomplish in your time with VFA?

 I hope to acquire the necessary skills and real-world experience to start my own business.