Category Archives: chopin theater

THEM CAKES

Coffeecake Gift 3 courtesy CoffeecakeConnectionBill Blaire – special correspondent

as told to John Jonelis

Bill Blaire here. Sometimes ya get surprised by a simple little idea—one that ain’t a mobile app er nothin’. Summa them make real nice businesses.  I’m at FFF—da Funding Feeding Frenzy where it ain’t just tech—it’s good investments.

I’m sittin’ here in back so’s I don’t block nobody’s view when all of a sudden Jim Kren plops down in da chair nexta the ones I’m lappin’ across—and just when things was gettin’ good, too.

He leans over and talks in a real low tone like he’s got some kinda secret er somethin’. But he ain’t got nothin’. “What did I miss?” is all he sez. Hell, what didn’t he miss? But I’m ready. Been savin’ a couple good ones fer Kren.

The Coffeecake Connection Company

Cinamon

Cinamon

“First,” I sez, “There’s this company called The Coffeecake Connection Company. Last minute entry, I think. Wants a quarter Mil…

“Hey, don’t look at me like that. Sure they got high tech here, but I’m givin’ ya the interestin’ stuff first.”

He starts to get nasty so I gotta clamp down on him. “Look Kren— just shaddup ‘n’ listen’ will ya?”

He calms down except for a twitch—just at the corner of his mouth. You gotta watch fer it to notice but it’s a twitch all right.

“Anyhow,” I sez, “When this gal talks about her company, she keeps sayin’, ‘WE this’ and Interview with judge courtesy FFF‘WE that,’ and one o’ the judges cuts her off cold.

‘Who’s WE?’ He sez, cause ever’body knows it’s a one-woman company.”

Kren sits up in his seat but his head still don’t reach my shoulders. “So she loses it completely?”

I really think he’s hopin’ she does—lose it, I mean. Don’t it sound that way to you?  That’s what I call mean spirited.   “Yer wrong, she’s straight with da guy. She comes right out with it: ‘I always say WE because it makes it sound bigger.’ She sez it real natural-like. No nerves er nothin’. This gal’s got guts. I could eat her coffeecake any time.”

“Save the crude remarks for your underworld connections, Blaire.” Kren scowls at me like I’s some kinda dirt. “And stop that horrid noise this instant!”

And I gotta admit Mr. Kren’s right. My laugh sounds like a hoarse wheeze. He prob’ly figures some first responder might panic and do CPR on me er somethin’. So I wind it down and start talkin’ again.

“All I’m sayin’ is she’s got the moxey to make a go o’ this thing. I’m bettin’ on her, personal-like. She deserves some respect in my book on accounta she bribed the judges with a coffecake fer each of ‘em all wrapped up in red foil with a ribbon.” 

Coffeecake Gifts courtesy CoffecakeConnection

Coffeecake Photographs courtesy The Coffeecake Connection Company

Then I say, “And the coffeecake costs 17 Bucks.”  I figure that’ll get some kinda response.

“That’s absurd.” He blurts it out loud, then covers his mouth ’cause ever’body in the room’s lookin’ at him.  I fergot to tell ya what a cheapskate this Kren really is. But he don’t get the whole picture, so I go on:

Gluten Free

Gluten Free

“No, I’m talkin’ corporate gifts. All natural ingredients. Gluten free.”

His face is turnin’ red.  “Not with my money she’s not.”

“Hey, the judges is all sayin’ she’s fundable! So yer thinkin’ they mean it as a play on words er somethin’?”

“I’m tired of your foul remarks, Blaire!” Now Kren’s starin’ up at me, his face scrunched like a piece o’ rotten fruit. “And don’t start that noise you use for laughter. I’ve heard enough!”

I just grin at him. “Turns out she’s got a B2B angle that’s worth alotta money. I’m sayin’ it could be a good little company. One o’ da judges talked t’ me about it at break and he’s all in.

.Coffeecake in a briefcase courtesy CoffeecakeConnection

“Anyhow, her financials is set up in units sold, so David Culver chimes in with, “She measures everything in cakes.”  Then on o’ the judges says, “It doesn’t matter—it’s all dough.”  Ya gotta laugh at that one, Mr. Kren.”

“It isn’t funny, Blaire”

I’m really gettin’ tired o’ his tone but it don’t surprise me none. Mr. Kren never thinks nothin’s funny.

David Culver

David Culver – FFF

In case none o’ you noticed before, Kren’s got a mean streak down his skinny little back. Hell, somebody’s gotta challenge the guy and it might as well be me. “That ain’t nice, makin’ funna my laugh. You shouldn’t oughta say them things, Mr. Kren.”

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“My secretary will send you a letter of apology.”

I reach one o’ my big hairy mitts behind his neck and pinch his head by the ears. That way, I can twist his face up so’s I’m lookin’ into his eyes insteada down on his bald spot. Then I sez, real quiet-like: “Sometimes it don’t turn out so good when people ain’t polite, see? You don’t want I should ferget my manners…” Hell, I know I’m way outa line here, but he asked for it, doncha think?

Now he’s stammerin’, “Okay, okay—I’m sorry—sorry Blaire. J-just tell me what’s next.”

I pat his cheek twice, real friendly like, and stop to think. “Oh yeah, da pollution-control guy.”

Note from Jim Kren – The remainder of this article has been removed due to, in my opinion, it’s unsuitability.  It  will be under review by the managing editor.

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Go to – THEM WORMS

Back to – MY KRAKEN ENCOUNTER

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Contacts

The Coffeecake Connection www.coffeecakeconnection.com

Funding Feeding Frenzy fundingfeedingfrenzy.com

PHOTO CREDITS – The Coffeecake Connection Company, Funding Feeding Frenzy

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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link . This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2013 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, big money, Bill Blaire., Characters, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, chopin theater, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Events, FFF, Funding Feeding Frenzy, investor, vc, venture capital

THE BUSINESS PLAN POLICE

Business Plan PoliceBill Blaire – special correspondent –

as told to John Jonelis

Bill Blaire here.  Lemme tell ya how things develop before all da trouble starts.  I’m at FFF again—Hold it; ‘scuse me a sec…

Hey, Bud, shut yer mouth!  FFF stands fer “Funding Feeding Frenzy,” and that’s all it stands fer, so if yer mind’s in da gutter keep yer trap zipped about it er I might get real helpful here.

…Sorry ’bout the interruption, but people get way outa line sometimes.  Anyhow, David Culver’s da big kahuna here and he’s just finishing up with an announcement: “…and after you judges get done crushing their dreams, please give some constructive criticism…” And he goes on. A real nice intro fer da first perspective company outa da box.

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Da Pidgeonsbirdfeud logo

Turns out, that’s a startup called birdfeud, for some goofy reason I ain’t goin’ into. They’re helpin’ people argue. That’s right—argue! 

It’s a B2B social media marketing play run by a coupla nice kids.  That’s Andrew Parnell, their CEO, ‘n’ that tall, pencil-thin guy with da accent’s Vladimir Jornitsky. These poor guys is da ones that get da worsta what happens next.

Shark 1(I hear a confusion of noises behind me.  Somebody’s kickin’ up a terrible ruckus at the entrance to da theater but I need to concentrate on what’s goin’ on here.)

Lemmy ask you this: How many businessmen you know got social media figured out? I mean so’s they can use it fer marketing. How’s about you? Makin’ it work fer yer company, are ya? Don’t chew yer knuckles—that’s a lousy habit.

Face it—companies need some way to connect with customers er else somebody’s gonna beat ‘em to it. But get it wrong and yer wastin’ alotta money. All ya do is line Mark Zuckerberg’s pockets.

(Now the noise outside is gettin’ real loud and distracting. Gotta check that out when this’s done.)

So Andrew ‘n’ Vladimir tell us that people like to argue—as if we ain’t already got a clue about that sometime in our lifetimes. Hey, it’s universal. But these guys figured out howta tempt people into online debates. They got this platform puts up opposite sides o’ any argument on yer Twitter account. Then the public shows up ‘n’ talks about da product.

Sample Feud

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I like their projections. The outfits bootstrapped so far and they’s already revenue positive. Gonna bring in 10 Million Pazoozas in five years. What’s not to like?

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Da Raid

Three o’ da judges rate it fundable when without any warning there’s loud shouts from the back o’ da theater. A voice with alotta authority booms out, “BUSINESS PLAN POLICE!”  It’s a raid!

People scream and run fer the exit, but two tough-lookin’ boys carryin’ M-16s shove ‘em all back into the theater. What the hey? Some o them people take seats like theys told to do. Others crawl under da bleachers. That looks like a better play to me, but I don’t fit under there so good.

m16 rifle

Then without no pause, three guys in neat Swat Team uniforms rush the stage!

Now they’s hustlin’ Andrew ‘n’ Vladimir out like sacks o’ potatoes. The boys is squirmin’ ‘n’ complainin’ good ‘n’ loud but it don’t do ‘em no good.

Even da judges look too startled to react. One’s standing up in a daze. The others is just sittin’ there, mouths hangin’ open.

The last I see o’ them two kids is the soles o’ their sneakers kickin’ at the air as they disappear out the door. Tough break fer them.FFF Shark

David Culver’s screamin’ at da top o’ his lungs. “How did those goons get past security?” I guess by security, he means da gal handin’ out them stick-on name tags at da folding table.

I see Bob Bock in back, palms up in a big shrug. Hey, ya can’t blame him. That swat team got the badges ‘n’ uniforms ‘n’ guns ‘n’ even a federal court order I find out later.

Culver tells Bock to call da police. But that ain’t gonna do no good, ‘cause I know who them guys are. They’s part o’ Da President’s Business Plan Initiative. This whole outfit got set up ‘causa that Solyndra fiasco. Yeah, they’s gonna regulate private equity meetings from now on, ‘n’ nobody knows when er where they might strike next.

Them two boys wasn’t doin’ no harm and now I’m wonderin’ if they’s gonna put ’em in Gitmo or some chain gang down south. Or maybe a Federal pen.  I hate them Federal pens.  Wouldn’t be so bad if they dragged off the dregs but trust da politicians to get it wrong every time.

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Go to – THEM CAKES

Back to – MY KRAKEN ENCOUNTER

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Da Contacts

birdfeudAndrew Parnell and Vladimir Jornitsky.

Funding Feeding Frenzy That’s David Culver ‘n’ company.
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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link . This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2013 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, App, big money, Bill Blaire., Characters, chicago, Chicago Ventures, chopin theater, city, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Events, FFF, Funding Feeding Frenzy, Marketing, Mobile Marketing, new companies, Software

THE FRENZY

Funding Feeding FrenzyBill Blair – special correspondent –

as told to John Jonelis

Bill Blaire here.  Mr. Jonelis wants I should go to this FUNDING FEEDING FRENZY thing. Says I’m gonna give a completely different slant compared to the resta this crowd here. I cut my teeth in the Local #1 Boilermakers, then as a Cement Contractor till I packed up my tools fer good.

Me? I’m always open to new ideas. I make loans to all kindsa people. John says I’ll see someFFF Logo real sharks at this place and that strikes me as a nasty crack but I let it slide.

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The Sharks

So I get here and whadaya think? Deeze guys is all legit investors. I glad-hand every one o’ them and their little mits all disappear between my hairy fingers. But I gotta give it to ‘em—these guys got balls. They throw money at raw startup companies and win maybe only 3 outa 10—and that’s just if the investors is real smart. They don’t get paid back by the deadbeats neither.

I don’t like them odds at all. Hell—the stuff I put money in gets a guaranteed payout or else, see?

Glenn Gottfried

Glenn Gottfried

Then I meet Glenn Gottfried—real smart guy. He explains it all to me. These is all private equity deals. Not a loan in the house. The ones that come in can make it big—REAL BIG. I’m talkin 10 times return—sometimes 100 times or more. It’s the stuff they make dreams outa. That gets my juices flowin’ and it’s all legal! Hoo boy, I’m gonna have some fun here!

I remembers catchin’ an episode o’ Shark Tank on TV and so I got the general idea.

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The Hideout

Chopin Theater

Chopin Theater

I don’t usually get caught dead at no place with a name like Chopin Theater but I always help my friends. And it turns out real nice. This thing goes on all day so they got coffee, booze, food, good seats—my big butt laps across two o’ those.  Nobody’s breathin’ down my neck ’cause none of ’em can see over my head. Yeah, it’s all good.

So here I is with my buddy Rocco Spumoni of the Pierce O’Shea Mob. Oops—maybe I oughta call it an investment firm, get the picture? Anyhow, Rocco goes after some gal and I ain’t seen him since. I think her name’s Jane Pickling or something, but I dunno fer sure. Lemme get down to business: Ludditis Shots and Beer

I wanna give you the whole picture first, so in a minute I’m gonna show ya a hard-hitting video from Blackline Review.  My buddy David Carmen is part o’ that outfit. They got that catchy name cuzza the L trains here in Chicago. There’s a Blue Line and a Red Line but there ain’t no Black Line. If there was, you can bet they’d build another Ludditis Shots & Beer right under the tracks.  Chicago’s best potato pancakes too. 

Anyhow, this video gives ya the flavor o’ the whole thing and it’s short:

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Check out Blackline Review fer more o’ that kinda stuff.

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The Companies

Phil Murphy of Call Potential  was the winner last time. He gives the keynote along with some guy that makes goofy looking glasses that cost an arm and a leg. But hey—people buy that stuff like crazy so who am I?  Murphy’s real smart. When he’s done speaking he sits down as one o’ the judges. I’ll get back to him later.

The companies is all kinds: There’s the Bomboard jet ski that fits in my trunk and I want one.  John West and Anders Stubkjaer put that one together. Then on d’other sida things there’s Nature’s Little Recyclers, a worm farm that can solve alotta pollution problems.  Blame that one on Ed Hubbard.

Jerry Freeman of PaletteAPP

Jerry Freeman of PaletteAPP

We get an update report from a Jerry Freeman’s company, Palette APP. They’s gettin’ traction now and it’s off to the races.

I’m comin’ back with a lot more on this event so keep yer heads up.  Meanwhile, lemme give you the winners: 

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The Winners

1stSmart GardnerCarl Alquire

Uses high tech to help city people grow their own healthy food.

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2ndPortapureGeorge Page 

We seen this guy before and he’s good. Won alotta awards.  Clean water fer the third world.

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3rdCardoonaColin Robertson, Jeffrey Herrington

Making it super-easy for restaurants to place orders with ALL their vendors.

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The Crowd Favorite – Geek Bar – David Zoltan

And yeah—this one’s a real riot. A bar that celebrates geekdom.

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Photo and Video Credits – Royalty Free Images, Glenn Gottfried, Wikipedia, Blackline Review, Donatas Ludditis, John Jonelis

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Go to – THE BUSINESS PLAN POLICE

Back to – MY KRAKEN ENCOUNTER

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Our logo proclaims “Chicago is the World.” We believe creativity is spawned by adversity. That makes Chicago a growing center for thought leadership in the world.
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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link . This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.
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Copyright © 2013 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved
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4 Comments

Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, big money, Bill Blaire., Characters, chicago, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, chopin theater, Donatas Ludditis, Entrepreneurship, Events, FFF, Funding Feeding Frenzy

7 TIPS FROM A WINNER

Funding Feeding Frenzy – Part 5

VERBATIM by Loop Lonagan – Investor and man about town,

as told to John Jonelis

FFF LogoLoop Lonagan here. I’m gonna go full circle at dis Funding Feeding Frenzy.

No, I ain’t drunk—well maybe I am by now—but what I mean is, I’m goin’ back to the start o’ this event. After all that stuff I already talked about, I’m finally gettin’ ‘round to the first speaker at the FFF—Palette App—the company that won last time.

Like I said, I seen the pitch before. I also seen them at BNC Venture Capital and later at their corporate offices. Research. A guy’s gotta check stuff out fer himself.  Anyhow, here I am at the FFF in the Chopin Theater to hear what he has to say.  And as it turns out, I’m very glad I to be here.

Chopin Theater Lobby

Lobby – courtesy Chopin Theater

The speaker is Jerry Freeman, founder of Palette App, and the guy’s real smart. He’s doin’ his pitch fer us as a demo—to break the ice before all the poor slobs face the judges.

So I’m sittin’ here next to Jay Kinzie, a colleague o’ mine from Mastermind Advisory Board in this cushy seat in the Chopin Theater. Rong Mayhem ain’t gonna wheel up behind me and start yellin’ like he did at that car barn they held this thing at last time. And the noisy crowd is banished to the trough downstairs.

Feeding Trough

Feeding Trough

That means I’m free. Free to concentrate on findin’ the companies I wanna follow up on. But first comes Jerry Freeman. He starts by giving his own pitch. I know it by heart so I’ll paraphrase:

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Da Pitch

Palette App logoPalette App helps architects and designers do their job better, faster, cheaper. (Jerry doesn’t actually say better, faster, cheaper, but that’s what it amounts to.)

They take away them old-fashioned sample binders that designers and architects been blowin’ their money on for 150 years. They hand ‘em this beautiful digital palette. It’s easier to put together, better organized and more efficient to use. You can make changes fer free! That’s a big deal in this industry.

Palette App

Palette App

It saves a designer about 30 business days a year. That’s alotta man hours. And that kinda time’s worth a few bucks. The digital palette’s better for the client too. That’s why I been excited ‘bout this company right from the first.

Palette

Palette

The software usta be just on iPad ‘cause that’s what designers and them kinda people use. But now it’s on Android too. There’s a version for architectural design schools, which turns out to be a big deal. You can read all about it at https://chicagoventuremagazine.com/2012/07/16/150-years-of-waste-meets-technology/

The company is up-and-running and generating revenue. They already got 35,000 products loaded in their system. They got multiple profit centers. They make money whenever a designer orders a sample. And they make money through subscriptions.

Far as capital goes, they already raised $700K and the first round is gonna close pretty quick. 70% of that came from the last FFF. You can read about that at https://chicagoventuremagazine.com/2012/11/23/shark-tank-meets-the-apprentice/

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Da Interview

So after his sample pitch which I kinda butchered—but hey—how ya gonna spoil something as good as that? Anyhow, Jerry sits down with David Culver and does an interview about what it’s like to run a startup. This is good stuff and I learn something.

Jerry Freeman and David Culver

Jerry Freeman interviewed by David Culver

Raising Money

This seems to be the biggest question on ever’body’s minds. Jerry says, keep pitching at every event you can ‘cause it’s the best way to get connections to lotsa investors. Raising money is a full time job. As CEO, raising capital turns out to be his #1 job.

Then there’s cold calling. You start by pitching on the phone to some junior-level gatekeeper. Then to the next one up, then the next. Then maybe you gets a face-to-face with a decision-maker, fly way out somewheres and run up the old expense account.

All that takes months. Then maybe you get a commitment. Whoa—the money ain’t in the bank yet, fella. Gotta go thru due diligence. Paperwork. It takes six months to get the check, if it comes at all. People drop out. Meanwhile, how you gonna pay yer staff? So you gotta watch yer cash flow real close.

So he says to keep entertaining small investors till the big checks come through—just to pay the bills. The little guys come through quicker.

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Crowd Funding

Glenn Gottfried

Glenn Gottfried

Let’s talk about the new self-directed IRA. Lotsa baby boomers got millions stashed in their IRAs. All those add up fast. There’s five trillion in investment dollars hidden away in these accounts. That’s right—I said five TRILLION dollars—almost a third as big as the national debt! It dwarfs private capital. Blows it away! And deals like that close in thirty days—not six months like with VCs and Angels.

This is a form o’ crowd funding. Usta be only charities raised money that way. Now there’s brand-new laws that open it up to investors. So far it’s only for accredited types—people with a million bucks plus. That’s gonna change but the government is draggin’ its toes—nothin’ new about that.

So fer now, friends ‘n’ family ‘n’ Kick Starter is still the best way for small cash, then

Loren Minkus with Jay Kinzie

Loren Minkus with Jay Kinzie

millionairs with self-directed IRAs. Pretty soon we might see the dam burst on crowdfunding and money’ll flow all over the place.

Jerry gives 7 more tips on how to run a startup:

7 Tips

  1. “The shorter your pitch, the better,” says Jerry. If you think yer gonna get through it in eight minutes, cut it back ‘cause it’ll always take longer. “Practice 21 times,” he says, “so you’re not nervous.”
  2. “Simplify. If you’ve got twenty ideas, narrow it down to three,” he says. When Steve Jobs came back to Apple, he cut down their product line to about five. Now they’re huge.
  3. “Challenge is important.” He asks himself why he ain’t tripling his users every month. You gotta find creative ways to reach that target.
  4. “The dot bomb era is over.” Start raising revenue ASAP. That helps attract investors way better than flashing yer goofy projections on PowerPoint. “When you can say, We already started generating revenue, it puts you in a different pile from the rest.”
  5. “Crank up sales fast because sales sell. Get to risk mitigation ASAP.” That’s important ‘cause investors is more risk-averse than dey ever was before. And the banks ain’t lending. Actual sales sounds a lot less risky.
  6. “Keep your people motivated.” Use every success to get your people rejuvenated. Tell ‘em stories from the road. Celebrate small successes.
  7. An entrepreneur is somebody who goes from failure to failure to failure without getting discouraged.” It’s good to come from a sales background so yer already used to rejection. “If you’re a wallflower, get over it,” he says. Then David Culver follows that with, “The fortune is in the follow-up.”
Chopin Theater

Stage – courtesy Chopin Theater

Gotta Go

I gotta catch a cab to another meeting, so after plenty o’ good food ‘n’ drink, I say g’bye to the FFF kinda early. Two guys tag along to share the ride. One’s an investment banker, the other a VC.

And wouldn’t you know it—I trip on another pothole, right there on the sidewalk. Now my suit’s slashed in both knees. Neither o’ these guys helps me up like the bums did.

And when I drop ‘em off, neither offers to share the cab fare.

Happy New Year to all o’ youse out there.  Cheers from da merry land of Shark Tank Meets the Apprentice.  

NOTE TO JOHN – I seen your articles on a buncha sites.  One o’ dem usta be a real good tech jounal run by the Huffington Post.  It went through a buncha changes.  Now it’s runnin’ third-rate soft porn right along with da articles.  Don’t know what’s with that but thought you’d wanna know.

NOTE TO LOOP – Thanks for the heads-up.  I’ll check it out and maybe put a stop to it.

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Continue to WHAT’S GOOD?

Go back to Part 1

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Da Contacts

Palette App – www.paletteapp.com

Funding Feeding Frenzy – www.facebook.com/FundingFeedingFrenzy

The Chopin Theater – www.chopintheatre.com/event.php?id=2275&pageId=soon

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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link . This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2013 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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5 Comments

Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, App, big money, BNC Venture Capital, Bums, Characters, chicago, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, chopin theater, Christmas, city, Conflict, CORE Insight Story, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Events, FFF, Funding Feeding Frenzy, Innovation, Internet, Internet Marketing, Invention, investor, loop lonagan, Marketing, Mastermind Advisory Board, Mobile, Mobile App, Mobile Marketing, new companies, pitch, Software, The City

THE RESUME IS DEAD

Funding Feeding Frenzy – Part 4

VERBATIM by Loop Lonagan – Investor and man about town,

as told to John Jonelis

FFF LogoLoop Lonagan here at FFF and we’re in for a treat. Mitch Schneider is pitching his new company, Kauzu. I like companies that do well by doin’ good fer people. And this one’s all about local jobs that keep people off the streets.

Say you got a business in an urban setting and need to hire an employee. You want somebody local. Hey, everbody wants local. Kauzu logoMcDonalds, Wal-Mart, Pace, Cook County—they want local people too. Local’s always better. Local employees stay longer and save the business alotta money.

Just by way of example, I’ll explain this from the point o’ view of a small guy—a shop or restaurant or somethin’.

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Da Old-Fashioned Way

You wanna put out feelers. But how you gonna do that? Monster? Whoa—they’re expensive and you get buried by applications from all over the place. So what else can you try? How about Craigs List? Usta be pretty good—my own daughter got a job thru them about five years back. But they’re still not as local as we’re talkin’. Then there’s the classifieds, but that’s expensive and in a city of millions, that’s not really local either. You can post a help-wanted sign in yer restaurant window, but then you gotta interview anybody comes in off the street, like my pal Big Bubba. Can’t picture him workin’ tables unless yer runnin’ a racket and need an enforcer or somethin’.

So those are all old-fashioned methods. If you decide to use one o’ those yer gonna get tons o’ applications to wade thru. Lots ‘n’ lotsa paper. Most o’ those’ll be the wrong people for the job. Ever try ‘n figure out which is best by lookin’ at paperwork? Good luck to you!  Far as I’m concerned you might as well throw darts.

Then after you pick a buncha people you think look good, you gotta interview ‘em. All of ‘em. There’s laws. Are you a professional in the use of modern interview techniques? Probably not. So yer wastin’ alota time and money. And it’s all happenin’ when yer short on help. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it.  What if we could dump the resume and the application too?

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Da New Way

Now, when I’m picking a stock, I use modern filtering and modern analytics. Why not apply that technology to jobs? So where do you go to get that?

Tablet

Along comes Kauzu. Here’s what they do:

  1. A business posts a digital help-wanted sign on Kauzu’s website for next to nothing. Kauzu uses filters and analytics and automatically matches the right people with the right jobs. And you get to set the filters yerself. No need to study hundreds of resumes or interview scores o’ people.
  2. Job-seekers fill out profiles on the Kauzu site for free. One and done. They see the close-by jobs that fit them right on their cell phones.
  3. The result? Businesses save time and money. You only interview pre-screened local candidates that are more likely to stick. Job seekers get a hyper-local job search with fully mobile functionality. The resume is a thing of the past.

Text Feature

“But,” you say, “What about people that don’t have smartphones.” And that’s true for about 70% of the unemployed. But hey—you don’t need no smartphone. Text works just as good. Just input yer location ‘n’ it shows you the nearby jobs.

If you got one o’ them newfangled smartphones or tablets, it gets evenSmart Phone better. Geo-location shows you the jobs right on a map. Of course you can always go to the public library and use their computer fer free.

Pretty slick. I like it a lot. So do chambers of commerce and city colleges that are pushing Kauzu. The timing couldn’t be better. Check out this video. And there’s lots more on their site.

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Da Business

Mitch, Paul, & GlennThis Mitch Schneider guy is super smart.  I had lunch with him not too long back at One North.  When we got done four hours had blown by.  I guess I like talkin’ to intelligent people and I’m impressed with Mitch.  I think this guy’s got the know-how, the drive and the creativity to make any startup sit up and bark.

They’re asking $500K for a 30% equity stake and expect to break even in month 17 with a 10X multiple in five years.  Translation—they’re investable.  So far they’re bootstrapping, but along with Paul Cusimano, they already built a nice team, a great website, and they got a big advisory board that includes—get this—Glenn Gottfried.  So they got the management, the tools, the channels.  Now they’re raising the money.

Mitch Pitch

Da Judging

So how did the judges respond to a terrific offering like this? Yer not gonna believe it. They didn’t get it at all. Mitch got four o’ the dreaded GO FUND YOURSELF signs and one STILL FISHING. Not a single FUNDABLE. Strange—real strange. Why didn’t the judges get it? The audience sure did—no question. People watching the Q&A got so frustrated, they kept calling out answers to the judge’s questions. That’s against the FFF rules but hey, it was kinda like a revolt. And these judges are guys I respect, so I ain’t got it figured out.

So afterwards I ask Mitch about it and he seems strangely unconcerned about it all. Turns out he’s using a different pitch every time he presents. He videotapes every one o’ them and runs comparisons. What a terrific strategy. Like I said, this guy’s smart. So he found a pitch that connects with an audience but not judges. He won’t repeat that one, but it might be good advertising fodder.

Glenn Gottfried at Lunch

Glenn Gottfried at Lunch

So I go downstairs fer some lunch and ask Glenn Gottfried how come the audience understands it but the judges don’t. He’s got alota good ideas fer fixing it but no real answer to why it happened. Guess we’ll wait fer the video analysis.  I’m still scratching my head, but it is what it is. If any o’ you guys can offer a suggestion, feel free to leave a comment.

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Continue to Part 5

Go back to Part 1

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Da Contacts

Kauzu  www.kauzu.com

Funding Feeding Frenzy

www.facebook.com/FundingFeedingFrenzy

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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link . This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2013 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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Filed under angel capital, angel investor, big money, Characters, chicago, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, chopin theater, CORE Insight Story, Data, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, FFF, Funding Feeding Frenzy, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, Internet, Internet Marketing, Invention, investor, jobs, loop lonagan, Mobile, Mobile App, Mobile Marketing, new companies, pitch, Social Media, Software, vc, venture capital

THE LUCKY DOG

Funding Feeding Frenzy – Part 3

VERBATIM by Loop Lonagan – Investor and man about town,

as told to John Jonelis

FFF LogoLoop Lonagan here, sittin’ with my friend Warren D Mink at the Funding Feeding Frenzy. We’re waitin’ for the first presentation, and I’m expectin’ some kinda high tech gadget.

Mink’s a real sharp VC and he tells me we’re gonna have some fun with a consumer product he knows all about ‘cause he saw it at BNC Venture Capital last night. This one serves a good purpose, he says, and looks like a winner. I sit back and enjoy myself ‘cause I know I’ll get all the detail I need from Mink’s notes.

And this one ends up takin’ 3rd place fer da whole event!  Summa the best inventions is the simple ones, and hey—how come YOU ain’t the first one to think of it?

KumfyTailz logo

Kumfy Tailz

EDITOR’S NOTE – Kumfy Tailz won 3rd Place for the entire FFF event.

This is a new slant on properly outfitting yer dog in harsh weather. So whaddaya think this thing can do? It keeps the animal’s core temperature in a good range. The core o’ the dog is what counts—that’s the findings of two years of veterinary science.

  • Too cold outside? It keeps Fido warm.
  • Too hot outside? It air conditions yer pooch.
  • And don’t worry about Rover rippin it up. It uses their own proprietary non-toxic UltraGel pack.
KumfyTailz Functions

KumfyTailz Functions

Gail Sanders-Luckman is the driving force behind this one. She’s a serial entrepreneur and this is her 4th venture. No gaps in the management team neither. Gail gives a solid presentation and I decide I gotta get me one o’ them things fer my dog fer Christmas.

I ask her where they’s sold and she gives me her display model, gratis! Here it is on Clamps, my 85-pound Bull Terrier.

Clamps wearing his Kumfy Tailz

Clamps wearing his Kumfy Tailz

I tell Clamps how good he looks in it and he wags his tail and stands proud. It snaps on fast and easy. Takes maybe 10 seconds to warm up in the microwave. Notice he ain’t wearin’ no collar. The Kumfy Tailz comes complete with a dog-sled style hitch to hook yer leash.

They also make a coat with the same technology. But Clamps seems happy with the deep core-warming he gets from the harness. You should see this big guy plowin’ thru snow, actin’ like it’s a day in spring! Don’t even wanna come in outa the cold. That’s way different than how he usually acts when he gets his feet wet. And I know he’s gonna love the cold pack in the summer heat.  And if yer like me and don’t read instructions, check this out:

KumfyTailz Instructions

KumfyTailz Instructions

The Business

Kumfy Tailz is priced with the ordinary harnesses—from $35 to $55 depending on model, but get this—they’re squeezin’ out 73% margins. The dog harness and apparel niche is two billion dollars strong ‘cause people spend more on their pets than anything else. The pet wellness space is exploding. They got products on the drawing board for horses even. Why stop there?

Comfy Tailz markets their stuff through social media but customers really find out about it through their vets. It’s already available on Amazon, Petsmart (1100 locations), Tractor Supply (1400 locations), and Global Pet. As you can imagine, there’s lotsa interest in Canada and the company’s ready to defend their patents on an international basis. Already $75K in sales last year and expectin’ $3M in six months. $35M in 5 years with EBITDA of 12-15%

They already raised seed money and only want another $250K which buys 10% of the company. They’re willing to offer a number of complex financing structures. I like complicated deals.

KumfyTailz features

So what’s the verdict? It’s unanimous. Every one o’ these judges holds up a sign bearing the coveted big-block letters—FUNDABLE—along with alotta oohs and ahs and plenty of outright enthusiasm. That hardly ever happens at FFF—especially for a non-tech offering.

The Judges

Almost forgot to mention these guys. This is an all-star panel that’ll be familiar to you. Ron Kirschner and Konstantine Kostov of Heartland Angels. Will Goldstein, another angel investor. David Beazley of Synergy Financial along with Les Teichner of Strategic Processing. Mike Moyer from Lake Shark Ventures. Bob Davidson from NASA, Chuck Corush, Craig Bradley, Bob Davidson and Christopher Ziobehr round it out with Glenn Gottfried, who fer my money’s probably the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Chopin Theater

Chopin Theater – Wikipedia

This time, David Culver alternates judges throughout the day so the guys don’t get tired and cranky like I told ya about in Part 1 of this series. And the Chopin Theater turns out to be a terrific venue—a whole lot better than the old place. I hope they hold it here again. .

Continue to Part 4

Go back to Part 1

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Links

Kumfy Tailz

www.KumfyTailz.com

Funding Feeding Frenzy

https://www.facebook.com/FundingFeedingFrenzy

BNC Venture Capital

http://www.bnchicago.com/

The Chopin Theater

http://www.chopintheatre.com/event.php?id=2275&pageId=soon

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Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link . This is not investment advice. I do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not my fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

.
.

1 Comment

Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, big money, BNC Venture Capital, Characters, chicago, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, chopin theater, Christmas, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Events, FFF, Funding Feeding Frenzy, Innovation, Internet Marketing, Invention, investor, loop lonagan, Marketing, new companies, pitch