Uncut transcript of an interview with storied business consultant, J. P. Pierogiczikowski—affectionately known as Joe Perogi. As told to John Jonelis
Editor’s Note—I’ve been out of the Loop a while. Under the surgeon’s knife in December. Launched a new novel, THE GAMEMAKER’S FATHER, www.JohnJonelis.com Then I almost burned my house down. I missed BNC Startup in January but learned that Joe Perogi was there. Seemed like a rare opportunity so I cornered him at a little joint on Lower Wacker that Mike Royko used to frequent and we munched hamburgers and talked.
Joe Perogi—I hear you found out spontaneous combustion is the real thing.
John Jonelis—Ouch. Yes, I can attest to that now.
Perogi—Always gotta learn the hard way, huh?
Jonelis—(I nod and give a wan grin.)
Perogi—You hear that David Carmen changed the name of his group? Makes a lotta sense. Silicon Valley is just tech and nothin’ but tech. Chicago’s about all kinds of new ideas—everything from plumbing to piezoelectric gadgets.
Jonelis—Can you give our readers the format of the meetings?
Perogi— I like the way they’re set up. Companies strut their stuff in front of investors and business people. David Carmen lets two companies present, then does an interview. The interviews are always good.
Jonelis—Who is it this month?
Perogi—Kevin Willer. I ducked out early. Hadda be someplace else.
Editor’s note—Kevin Willer is the new head of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC). www.chicagolandec.org He co-founded Google’s Chicago office. Held sales and business development positions at CMGI and U.S. Robotics. He’s now a venture partner at New World Ventures http://www.newworldvc.com.
Jonelis—Let’s talk about the two companies.
Perogi—Okay by me:
Perogi—This guy’s a P.E. with his own engineering firm. Makes a building panel called FortEco ™. It’s a whole new way to construct buildings fast, cheap, and green. Uses a revolutionary new lightweight composite framing system so they save time and money while creating a safe and healthy place to live and work. Sound good to you?
Jonelis—(I nod again.)
Perogi—Already completed 6 projects. Bidding on $25MM more all over the world. Lots of it in India. And they’re just getting started.
Jonelis—Exactly what problem do they solve?
Perogi—You name it. Building costs, construction time, energy efficiency. They improve on all those. They make lightweight interlocking panels with spans as large as 45 feet. $20/sq. ft. becomes $12/sq. ft. What used to take a week gets done in a day. I saw where a 15-story hotel in China went up in six days. Impressive stuff.
Jonelis—Any other advantages?
Perogi—What more you want, big shot? It’s panelized construction. Lightweight. Durable. Stands up to seismic and wind stress. Made outa recycled material. Super high R-value—40 or somethin’. Great sound attenuation. Non-toxic materials. Corrosion resistant and non-combustible. You can even build in floor heaters and other green stuff.
Jonelis—Are you in?
Perogi—You know better than to ask that.
Jonelis—Tell me about the other presentor.
Perogi—This one’s the solution to your tendency to slice a golf ball. Hook their gizmo to your club and it maps your swing in 3-D. Check it out on your mobile phone or send it to your golf pro. In your case, I advise the pro.
Jonelis—What’s so unique about it?
Perogi—Listen to me when I’m talking. It’s 3-D. You can’t say that about a video. It’s always with you. I think the guys on the PGA tour will use it. This company placed 3rd in Chicago Booth’s 2011 New Venture Challenge and walked away with the $100K prize at the Clique Studios business plan competition. Good looking management team and board of advisors.
I resist the urge to ask if he’s involved in it. After a couple beers I take my leave of Joe Perogi. Amazing what’s going on in this town.
BNC StartUp meets monthly at the law offices of Perkins Coie, 131 S. Dearborn, Suite 1600 www.perkinscoie.com. For more information visit the BNC website at: www.BNChicago.com View video of meeting at: www.Facebook.com/BusinessNetworkChicago. If you’re a startup and want to pitch, contact David Carman at: 312-943-6376 or dcarman@BNChicago.com
Find Chicago Venture Magazine at
www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.
© 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved.