Tag Archives: Internet


Lovendar Logo

Your calendar reminds you this is the anniversary of the day you first met. That’s a great heads-up because if you’re like me, you sometimes don’t remember the things that are truly important in a love relationship. How many years has it been? How can you create a surprise? Do you have a clue what to buy, where to go?

How much of your day do you spend poking around stores and websites for ideas? Or is Ellona Fersonit already 5pm on your anniversary—too late to get those theater tickets and you don’t know how to bust loose from the office?

What if love knowledge opened up to you and freed you to spend quality time building your relationship? Wouldn’t that be better?

Enter Lovendar.


No Action, No Marriage

Lovendar is a free calendar-driven mobile app—an intimate Pinterest.  It’s a relationship tool that turns wishes into actions.

It prompts you with new ideas, day to day. It reminds you of the important days. Where will you go? What will you buy? What special meal will you prepare? You and your spouse already entered personal wishes on the site. Lovendar is telling each of you exactly what the other wants at just the right time and how to find it using a seamless connection through online vendors.

Lasting relationship and lasting intimacy is built around small things—the day-to-day thoughtful surprises—the frequent expressions of love—the celebration of the special days.

Have you ever been faced with the question, “What have you done for me lately?” Well, Lovendar keeps a record of it all, so you’ll never find yourself tongue-tied.

Ellona Ferson - Lovendar CEO

Ellona Ferson – Lovendar CEO – jaj

 Ellona Ferson is the perfect spokewoman for this company. Her striking appearance and personal magnetism lead the listener to long for a perfect relationship. Her strong, articulate presentation skills, her knowledge and professionalism project acute business acumen and will lend confidence to any investor. In person, she is warm and real. You can’t help but like this gal.


Contact Ellona Ferson at http://Lovendar.com

Find BNC Venture Capital at






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.

Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved


Filed under BNC Venture Capital, Chicago Ventures, CORE Insight Story, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Internet, Mobile


Bill Blaire dictated this urgent tip.  I transcribe here it verbatim:

ToothpainRx Logo“Whadaya do when you wake up on a weekend with a horrendous toothache?  Yer gonna do almost anything, right?  But yer dentist, if you got one, ain’t around.  You gonna drag him outa bed?  You gonna pull him off the golf course?  Fat chance. 

No, you go to the emergency room, right?  Well, guess what.  If you do, you wait and wait ‘cause a toothache is low priority at the ER.  Besides, there ain’t no dentist there, so you’s building up a big bill for nothin’.  By now, the pain’s gettin’ real bad.  Whattaya gonna do?

Mobile Rescue

Dr. J Rosen - ToothpainRx

Dr. J Rosen – ToothpainRx

“In the future you’re gonna call ToothpainRx – the first virual dental ER.  Just dial up with your smartphone or computer.  An actual dentist looks at your problem usin’ yer webcam or a digital snapshot.  Unlike an MD, a dentist can legally prescribe pain meds and antibiotics without really bein’ there.  You get a prescription wired to yer local drug store and a follow-up appointment with a local dentist.

Is It Real?

“I think dis one’s gonna happen bigtime.  Hey, 13.8 M folks ain’t even got no regular dentist.  You know how long it takes to get one o’ them appointments?  Nobody’s serving this market.  This is a tech-enabled brick and mortar operation that most of us is gonna use at one time or another.  Simple.  Practical.  And it ain’t so easy to copy.  It took 2 years to develop this thing.  I asked if a big company can copy it fast and got this great quote:  “Nine women can’t make a baby in one month.”

Les Multack - ToothpainRx

Les Multack – ToothpainRx

How Do These Guys Make Money?

“They’re lookin’ at three revenue streams here.  They get paid by the patient.  They get paid for referring the dentists.  And they get paid to take nighttime and weekend calls.  It’s win/win/win. 

Will it work?  Hey, they only need 196 patients a day to break even.  If they only capture 4% of the target market, in three years we’re lookin’ at a company worth maybe $126 million bucks. 

How Does The Investor Make Money?

“They’re asking $2M for 48% of company with no dilution—one round and done.  We’re talkin’ 300% IRR for better than a 30x investor return.  When was the last time you seen a 30x return?

BNC Audience

BNC Audience

Wanna Know More?

“You can see the video of a real low-key pitch at http://vimeo.com/49016977.   I saw a bigger presentation in private a couple weeks earlier and that one really got me revved up.  To contact Les Multack or Dr J Rosen, go to www.toothpainrx.com 

Yeah, I think it’s for real.”


Thanks Bill.  That’s all of it – verbatim.  You can find BNC Venture Capital at:  http://www.bnchicago.com/Groups.php?group=8





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.

Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved


Filed under BNC Venture Capital, Characters, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Internet, Mobile



John Jonelis

So I ask, What’s the hottest marketing tool today?”  And the answer comes right back: “Gamification.” I glance left and right.  “What’s that?” 

Now the answers come at me fast.  Mike Rhodes, serial entrepreneur from AppFactoryInc and Central Street Games hits it outa the park at this session of The Tektite Group.  His marketing arm uses Gamification as their primary tool. 

Bottom line, people love to play games.  Games are the #1 activity on smartphones.  80% on tablets.  50% of Facebook logins.  Any time you offer a reward – that’s gamification.  Think about the way McDonald’s Monopoly game draws people to the store.   But it doesn’t have to be a big expensive campaign.  Turns out, the value of winning is bigger than the prize itself.  Sometimes a $10 gift card is more effective than an iPad. 

Mike Rhodes plays a guest's game

Mike Rhodes plays a guest’s game

3 Key Elements

So the question looms: ‘How do I use gamification in MY marketing plan?’  Three key elements make any interchange a game:

  1. Achievement
  2. Recognition
  3. Rewards

Mike ranks the three elements in that order, and the first two are a lot more important than the last.  Kinda counterintuitive, ain’t it?

The sweepstakes approach—awarding points incrementally—is the most economical way to host a game.  The game doesn’t need to have anything to do with the product you’re selling.  Come up with your own simple word game or trivia game and use a rented platform. 

Just keep the goal clear.  It’s amazing what people will do to win a game but no growth takes place till you bring the consumer to a call to action.  So make sure players register.  And make sure you give them questions that tell you what you want to know. 

Mike Rhode's AppFactoryInc

More Game Tips

Gamification is all about meeting the market where it’s at—and in an engaging way.  At a time when email clickthrough is below 8%, gamified campaigns are getting 30-50% because people are engaged. 

Think about giving points for activities with a weekly winner.  A player may not win this time, but points continue to accumulate.  Then you give free points just for answering 10 questions.  People are willing to do it because they actually want the points.

Think about rewards for liking a page on Facebook.  Give points for comments and comments on comments.  “I liked your tortilla.”  By the way, Gene just scored 15 points on our win a gas card game, and you can earn 10 points by just sharing with a friend.  It doesn’t need to be complicated.  Take what you do now.  Gamify it.  Put a sweepstakes element in your branding. 

Put this in your calculations:  Nobody ever stops after being involved in a 90 day game.  Keep the game going after the first winner.  Retention rates are huge. 

Want proof?   The field is new.  No banks of statistics.  Mike quotes Andy McKenna, who advises: “Invest a little, learn a lot.”

Types of Games

  • Trivia games
  • Word games
  • Action games
  • Casual games
  • Puzzles
  • Strategy games

Of all the different games, simple word games and trivia games are the easiest and least expensive to implement.

Who’s Here?

Jean Pickering of The Tektite Group

Jean Pickering of The Tektite Group

Find the speaker, Mike Rhodes at www.appfactoryinc.com.  I met Michael McConachie, from LoopDigital, www.loopdigitalus.com so the big players are here.  Kristin Tews of WIND Radio is covering the event  www.personalbestshow.com.  An investor who bought into one of my favorite startups introduces himself to me.  That company is Youtopia www.youtopia.com  and they’re integrating gamification into their platform as we speak. 

Tektite is always a small, limited crowd and I feel privileged to be here.  Sign up early if you want a spot.  You can find Tektite and Jean Pickering at www.Facebook.com/TheTektiteGroup and http://Twitter.com/TektiteGroup




Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.comComments 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.

Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved


Filed under Chicago Ventures, Events, Internet, Mobile, Tektite


Verbatim—as told to John Jonelis

Last time I saw Loop Lonagan, he stuck me with a big breakfast check. Then he invited me to lunch, promising the low-down on the Zero Moment of Truth. Now, instead of lunch, he emails me an MP3 file he dictated during an event held at the Chicago Booth Alumni Roundtable. I’ve transcribed it word-for-word, exactly as I heard it spoken:

Loop Lonagan here. I’m at this event at the Gleacher Center and I’m confused. There’s only two grey hairs in the room and we’re both lookin’ like deer in the headlights but for some reason we showed up. Looks like about 200 people. Most of ‘em I never met. All these brown hairs are usin’ a new vocabulary. SEO. What’s that—a new union out there someplace? Something about sex offenders? I don’t know.

The speaker is very bright. Jennifer Howard. Regional director of sales or somethin’ for this company called Google. This is a talk on the effects on advertising and how it really, really changes. I’m in trouble. Don’t know nothin’ about Google even though I use it every day and even own the stock. Don’t know if I’ll learn somethin’ tonight or not, but we’re gonna give it a try. I figure we all shoulda gone to school to learn how to learn insteada learnin’ facts then doin’ a file dump.

Okay, Jennifer’s givin’ some background now. Turns out this stuff got defined by P&G years ago and I remember it. She draws a line with three points: STIMULUS, FIRST MOMENT OF TRUTH, and SECOND MOMENT OF TRUTH. Classic advertising looks at everything as a response to The Stimulus. The First Moment of Truth is when the actual purchase gets made—the buy point. The Second Moment is when the consumer uses it. Now she’s inserting what she calls the ZERO MOMENT OF TRUTH between the Stimulus and the Purchase.

Talk about inserting somethin’ between stimulus and purchase, this Chicago Booth is so cheap, they only charge you ten bucks to get in the room but they make you pay for your beer. Most o’ the time they charge me 35 bucks and only give me one or two beers. I guess this is cheaper. Maybe I shouldn’t complain,

Jennifer’s putting numbers on it. You know I like numbers. She says, on average, people search the Internet for 10+ sources BEFORE they make the buy.  Consumers are a lot more proactive about gettin’ input FROM OTHER PEOPLE to make a decision.  That’s a big switch.  With that goin’ on, advertising as we know it might be a dinosaur.  Can she prove it?

She asks the audience, “How many of you read reviews online?” Answer—damn near a hundred percent.

She asks, “How many have written a review?” Answer—a lot.

Now she’s talkin’ about video. She says 84% of people are looking at YouTube video before the buy. That’s huge.

Nowadays, 15% of all advertising gets spent online. That’s stuff that used to go to magazines and TV and direct mail. I can believe it. I’m surprised it’s that low, considering the way everybody talks about the Internet as if it’s the next perfect world for everything. It doesn’t amaze me. And it doesn’t matter how I feel about it because it’s happening. I can’t control it. I guess I better join it rather than fight it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a struggle.

Okay, online advertising and social media keep getting more of the bucket. Are we past the early adopters and now in the mainstream? Didn’t Geoff Moore write “Crossing the Chasm?” Well, looks like we’re crossing it now. Anyhow, if his paradigm plays out then 50% of the spend is goin’ to the Internet in 2-3 years. But advertising only makes people aware. It’s word of mouth that moves people to buy.

So she asks, “When in the buying cycle are people asking each other questions?” And that’s the whole point.  This Zero Moment is a resource to tell you what’s good and what’s not. And the reason it didn’t exist before is we didn’t have access to it except for a very small circle of friends that we had contact with. So word-of-mouth marketing is now digital. You open one door to four or five people and all of a sudden, you open another door and find a crowd of millions of people out there. It’s hard for a lotta baby boomers to grab onto that. The Internet makes the world flat, to use Tom Friedman’s analogy. Bottom line, you gotta look at the Zero Moment to know how to influence buyers.

What she’s sayin’ makes a lotta sense. Maybe I was a too incredulous and didn’t wanna hear the truth before. Did I say incredulous? That reminds me of the old joke of why the South Dakota farmer sent his kid to Harvard. You ask me, “Whaddaya mean, why?” Answer: So he could learn to say “incredulous” instead of “no shit.”

Anyway, back to the presentation.  She says you gotta look at the Zero Moment to influence the buyer. She’s tellin’ a story about Mayonnaise vs. Miracle Whip. Mayonnaise says somethin’ about Miracle Whip and right away, Miracle Whip has a counter on Facebook. That’s agility.

Do people really follow Mayonase on Facebook? I have a hard time getting it onto a sandwich. Hey, talkin’ about food makes me hungry. They got these microscopic hamburgers here. Microsliders or somethin’. No bigger’n a thumbnail. Hafta eat a whole plate of ‘em just to get a bite. Guess they must be those fancy hors d’oeuvres or whatever you call ‘em. Gonna stop somewhere on the way home for a real hamburger when this is over.

Okay, she’s done now and people are clogging the aisle.  So what else did I learn?  Anything practical?  Yeah. Five keys:

1.) You can’t win without showin’ up. People gotta be able to evaluate your product. Start a conversation with the millions out there.

2.) You gotta answer the questions that people are asking. If you don’t, they’re gonna move on and leave you in the dust.

3.) Only 20% of sites are optimized for mobile phones. You gotta do this. If you don’t, you won’t even get one or two seconds of their time.  And don’t forget video—it’s bigger every day.

4.) You gotta be fast. It’s like an earthquake. The earth moves too fast under your feet for you to just stand there. Jump in and fail fast. If you try to make it perfect, you’ll never make it. Be biased for action.

5.) For any group o’ people, you gotta put a CMFIC in place. If you think that stands for Chief Master Fascist In Charge, you’re crazy.  It’s an old army term. The troops understand it. You gotta have somebody accountable who leads the strategy for you. Be intentional.

Anybody can download a 60 page writeup in PDF or e-book format and see video about this stuff, FREE from Google at http://www.zeromomentoftruth.com

That’s the crop, John. Hope it opens your eyes. Everybody can tell you need to do that.

Find Chicago Venture Magazine at
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.


Filed under Chicago Booth Alumni Roundtable