As told to John Jonelis
Joe—“Before we get started, I heard yer writin’ a novel.”
John—“Yes, The Gamemaker’s Father.”
Joe—“Well? Whatsit about?”
John—“A machinist competes with his brilliant son in verbal game of wits. The game turns into a duel that takes over their lives.”
Joe—“One o’ them crime novels?”
John—“A regular machinist, Joe. Union. Publisher’s shooting for a December launch of the electronic version. Then we follow up with a hardbound. Check out the videos, summary, reviews, and the first few pages at www.JohnJonelis.com
Joe—“Not fer the whole story. That crosses the line into what I call shameless self-promotion”
Editor’s Note—Joe Perogi strikes me as a bit of a curmudgeon. I wonder how he made all those companies so successful. But I take his cue and get back to the interview.
Q—”Tell me about the BNC meeting.”
A—”Yeah. I been comin’ to these things ever since Len started ’em. I like the way he makes all these companies sit up ‘n’ bark. Hafta answer the same five questions every time. And I can tell you fer sure—these questions is foundation for any business.”
Q—“Can you just give the highlights?”
A—“Sure, but most of them usually answer all five. The guys in the crowd grill ‘em pretty hard. And if yer financials don’t add up, they say so up front good ‘n’ loud.”
Q—“Maybe just tell me what they do.”
Editor’s Note—For those who haven’t attended a BNC Venture Capital meeting, the questions are as follows:
- What’s the product or service?
- Why will customers buy it?
- Why is the management team qualified to execute the business plan?
- How does the company make money?
- How will the investor make money?
Mill Creek Life Sciences
Judy Lundy – CEO www.millcreekls.com
Joe—“This group makes natural proteins to grow adult stem cells. They can grow proteins better, faster, ‘n’ with less risk. This’ll be the first heart regeneration treatment on the market, and there’s a lotta other uses, like Lou Gehrig’s disease, used-up kidneys, arthritis, diabetes, severe wounds.”
Q—“What’s your read on the industry?”
A—“Starved for new ideas. Stem cells from animal protein don’t cut it, with mad cow and human rejection. Then the genetical’ engineered stuff’s way too expensive and there’s problems with cell mutation. Fetal tissue is a fer barbarians. The concept o’ growing and harvesting babies like a crop is just morally depraved. Some people are fine with it but I call it murder and so do a lotta other people.”
Q—“I’m with you on that one.”
A—“Good. Mill Creek gets around all them problems. They use the patient’s own cells. That speeds up the healing and there’s no rejection. They already passed their Phase 2 study. Phase 3 is pending.”
Editor’s Note—Phase 1 proves safety. Phase 2 proves it works. Phase 3 validates Phase 2.
Joe—“One of the interesting things about the business is their other supply o’ materials. These is fer experiments and stuff. They collect expired adult human platelets. It’s useless to hospitals after five days and they scramble to get ridda the stuff. Mill Creek picks it up on day six and makes ever’body happy. They cryofreeze it and build a nice stockpile. Frozen, it lasts two or three years. So think about it. Their supply is cheap waste material or a guy’s own tissue. They get it almost free. They been busy signin’ 5-year supply contracts.”
“The CEO’s got credentials. Mayo, ISU, Novartis. She’s a scientist and an MBA. Good combo. From the look of it, they rounded up a top management team. Tech licensed by Mayo, which is the normal way Mayo does R&D.”
Editor’s Note—The Mayo Clinic’s model is to research the technology, then license it for 17 years and stay on as a partner.
Joe—“They already locked in two clients with others knocking at the door. Expected Y5 revenue—$52 mil. 5-year return about equal to a 183% annual interest rate. This one looks like the real thing t’ me.”
CFC Air Car
Stephen Cook – President www.labicheaerospace.com
Q—“Listen Joe, can you keep it short. Stick to the important points.”
A—“You wanna hear this er what? CFC’s product is the FSC-1. FSC stands for ‘Flying Sports Car’ It’s a flying car with wings that fold into the body. Yeah, you heard me right. James Bond stuff. Fold-away wings gets around the main obstacle these things always face. Can’t even tell they’s there when you tuck ’em away. The initial modal sells for $150K and they’re working to bring that down.”
Q—“Still cheap for an airplane.”
A— “Steve Cook’s got seven years in Aerospace and plenty o’ connections. He met with Burt Rutan, Tim Draper, and Clayten Christianson. Got a list of amazing people involved, from NASA to Toyota and Mazda. His team includes a Ph.D, a CPA, an MBA. He’s doing a Round A funding.”
Q—“As I recall, Henry Ford predicted this car in 1940. So far there have been nothing but duds.”
A—”Well it ain’t sci-fi no more. Technology’s a lot better now. Competition is heating up. Another outfit’s got a 2-seater, does 120 mph in the air– already FAA approved. That company’s got 250 hard orders for $250K each. Far as I’m concerned, that proves the concept. CFC’s got a better product for a lot less money. They plan to build theirs to hold five people. It’s supposed to do 150-225 mph in the air at 17 mpg with a 500-mile range.”
A—“Yeah. And counter-rotating pusher props to make it safe and easy. I seen a video of it flying. Looks good. And there’s even an airframe parachute to bring it down safe if the engine fails. I like it that they’s working with Burt Rutan. He knows how to pull this off. Another huge thing to consider—as a car, it looks hot. Nothing brought to market in the past can say that.”
Q—“You think they can deliver a car with sports car handling that has great flight characteristics? I’m an instrument rated pilot and I can tell you it’s a picky crowd.”
A—“Yeah, I can tell.”
Q—“Can they get past Rutan’s famous ego?”
A—“Yet to be seen. I think they need a good advisor to get them past the financing hurdle.”
Q—“What’s that? A little shameless self-promotion?”
John Dolphin www.heatwavesolar.com
Joe—“This’s advanced solar heating technology called “The Harvestor” and it’s made in the US of A. Looks real slick, like a big window. It’s a self-contained unit that mounts anywhere. Easy to put up. Hang it on yer south wall, hook up the fan, and it pumps hot air into your house. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. They’s probably gonna market through the home improvement outlets. Already talking to Menards.”
Q—“Can you wrap up your comments?”
A—“Yeah. I think it’s a killer product. It looks great on your house. In Minnesota you get 25% back as a tax credit. It pays for itself in five years and lasts 20. The competitors stuff is too hard to install and costs three times as much. There’s no national player in the space. Sells for just 12K. 45% margins. Patented. Company’s bootstrapped so far. Expecting a 20x return to investors in three years. Does that wrap it up fast enough for ya?”
Q—Yes. How did the voting come out at the end of the evening?
Joe—Mill Creek won big-time, followed by HeatWave and then CFC Air. Let me know when yer book comes out.
That’s the way Joe told it to me.
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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.
© 2011 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved.