Tag Archives: Loop Lonagan

THROW THE BUM OUT

Mark T Wayne 1cTby John Jonelis

Mark T Wayne hurls his cigar to the barroom floor and grinds it under his heel. “Lonagan, you’re a consummate ass!”

“Shuttup ‘n’ have anudder whiskey.”

“You sir are heavily inebriated.” Wayne’s voice resonates above the noise of the crowded bar.  “I know better than to get tight oftener than once in three months.” He lifts his chin and peers down his nose at Loop Lonagan. “It sets a man back in the esteem of people whose opinions are worth having.”

“So whaddayuh think I should do?” His dog, Clamps, squirms in his arms and kicks wildly as Loop wrestles to gain a better hold on the 85 pound bull terrier.  He finally locks an arm around the animal’s thick neck.  Clamps immediately relaxes, bone in mouth. “Look Wayne—yer da one said I oughta take da guy in.  So you tell me how t’ get ‘im out.”

“Hmm…yes, I see your point. Options are a bit scarce at such times.  Your editor shows up at the door leaning on two canes, a bit unsteady on two new metal knees.  Never refuse to do a kindness, unless the act will work great injury to yourself—especially when it’s a close friend and your employer.” Wayne pauses a moment and inspects Lonagan more closely.  “But five months have elapsed since that day, and now I find myself sharing this fine bar with a sloppy drunk—a man utterly beyond reason or decorum, hugging a dangerous beast to his body like a rag doll.”

Loop plays with his dog’s ears.  “The police don’t want poor Clamps tied at da curb again.  Dey say he might eat a pedestrian.”

Therapy Dog

Therapy Dog

“Don’t blow smoke rings, Lonogan! There is only one course of action left to you! Claim back your domicile!  Throw the execrable bum out!”

“Throw out Jonelis?”

“That, sir, is precisely what I say.”

Loop Lonagan slowly wags his head. “He’ll throw me outa da magazine. Then where am I?  Gone, like a puff o’ smoke.”

“Where is your spine, sir? Can it be that abusive over-exposure to bitter hops has eroded it in total?  Look at you, stroking that hideous beast as if it were some lovely young woman.  Is that the proper posture for a grown man while seriously drinking?  Get ahold of yourself!  I say put the moocher out on the street!”

“Don’t ya think I tried? Sheesh, he moves right in with dat new therapy business.  Pavlovian PT he calls it.  Gals right outa some Hollywood movie swarmin’ all over da joint.  I can’t get no peace er sleep.  He fills my penthouse with exercise machines.  And busy? If he ain’t liftin’ weights, he’s gettin’ a Swedish massage or an ice pack or he’s loopy on pain killers, and then he’s asleep er somepin. Can’t hardly talk t’ da guy. When I do, I dunno what t’ say.”  Loop squeezes his eyes closed a moment.  “Today dis crew shows up t’ move da resta my furniture out da door—where to, I dunno.  More weight machines is comin’ in!  Yeah, Jonelis finally graduates therapy.  It’s strength trainin’ from now on!  So insteada my nice penthouse condo, I got a swank health club.”  Loop swallows a shot of scotch and immediately chases it with a slug of beer.  The pungent amber liquid dribbles down his jaw.

Mark T Wayne 1d Bold

Mark T Wayne

Wayne scowls at him. “You, sir, are mixing good medicine with poison. Give an Irishman lager for a month and he’s a dead man. An Irishman is lined with copper, and beer corrodes it. But whiskey polishes the copper and is the saving of him.  You’ll do well without that swill.”

“Dat’s da best idea you come up with since I knowed you. No wonder my belly’s naggin’ at me.  Bartender!”  Lonagan shifts his dog so it can lap beer from his mug.  Clamps knocks it over and yellow suds run down the counter.  The dog leaps onto the bar and voraciously polishes the wet varnished surface with a wide tongue.

Loop lifts the animal from the bar and hugs it close.  “Bartender! Gimme anudder scotch.  Make it a triple.  No more Blatz fer me!”

A muscular kid shows up with a towel and mops up the smelly mess while glaring at Loop under thick black eyebrows. He talks in a low voice with clenched teeth: “What’s with the dog?”

Loop makes an indignant expression. “It’s a therapy animal. You got a problem with that?” 

A long scar on the kid’s cheek flames red. “Hold down the noise, mister, or you and and your dog and the guy with the white suit are outa here. Y’ follah?

“Big talk—yadda yadda yadda.  Y’ gonna back it up?”

The bartender abruptly moves down the bar and serves another customer while Loop raises the fresh tumbler of whiskey.

Wayne’s finger idly traces the rim of his empty glass.  “Certainly the Drone’s Club is near at hand.  I believe they offer a gymnasium.  You might mention the possibility.”

“Yeah, yeah, but dey won’t let ‘im bring in his Pavlovian PT team. Same with East Bank, Union League, ‘n’ all da udders.  He’s too cheap t’ buy all them gals memberships.”

Both men stare into space. This goes on for a good two minutes as the noise of the crowd swells around them.

“Ah! A thought occurs to me…” Mark T Wayne draws himself erect, yanks his white lapels, and takes a step as if lecturing an audience, “Your domestic problem is transparently simple. Argue with the man!  Pick a fight!”

“How’s a guy gonna do that? Jonelis treats ever’body so nice—so polite.  No a harsh words, No foul language.  No nothin’”

“Shout him down! You need not be logical or coherent, nor do you require provocation.  Drown him in curses at high volume!  If that brings no response, I happen to know that you are skilled in the fine art of fisticuffs.  Pummel the man with blows!  Violence, sir!  That’s the ticket!  Beat him senseless!”

“C’mon Wayne, he’s just outa surgery ‘n’ all…”

“That man is gaining health by the day as you lose yours!”

Loop Lonagan goes suddenly quiet and rubs his chin with a blunt fingertip. He drops Clamps to the floor and the dog immediately strains the limit of a heavy leather lead, lashed to the stanchion of the barstool.  People immediately abandon the area adjacent to Lonagan and Wayne.  The dog pants with teeth fully exposed, tongue lolling outhis way of smiling but people shrink back, forming a big empty circle.

After a minute, Loop pulls out a cell phone.  “Hey Nick? It’s me.  Remember our talk?  Well, what about it?”  Loop rolls his eyes as he listens.  “Yeah…yeah. Okay! Done!”  He pockets the phone and grins a satisfied grin. “I’m takin’ yer advice.  If Jonelis fires me, you’ll find me right here.”  He moves his arm in a sweeping gesture.  “Dis whole place is mine now.”  

READ SERIES FROM BEGINNING

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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 © 2016 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, Characters, Chicago Ventures, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, loop lonagan, Mark T Wayne, vc, venture capital

DA LEG BREAKER ‘N’ DA SNAKE OIL

Glass_of_whiskyLoop Lonagan and John Jonelis

“I still sez he ain’t nothin but a well-dressed snake oil salesman. Too smooth. Too articulate. Voice too modjoo—madju—modulated. Guy shows up with FOURTEEN team members then hogs the whole show fer hisself. And that video with Joan London—” Then Loop Lonagan shakes his head and mutters under his breath. “Maybe it’s the flowing white hair. Kinda like the guy sold me my first car.”

Dr. Frank W Gibson

Dr. Frank W Gibson – CEO

“What do you want?”  I ask him.  “Should he speak street slang and dress like a bum?  I think he did a professional job of representing his company.” 

We’re at our corporate offices in the backroom of Ludditis Shots & Beer, fresh from a BNC Venture Capital meeting.  Loop’s boots are resting on my battered WWII Air Force desk and his Bull Terrier, Clamps, sleeps under my desk. “Face facts, Loop. Avantcare is solving the alcohol and nicotine addiction problem, and they’re doing it with a natural product. I think Sobrexa is the real deal.”

Clamps sleeping

“Bullshit. They went herbal just ‘cause that don’t take no FDA approval.”

I slide the bottle of REDBREAST across the desk with a tumbler, just to be polite, and he sits up and pours till the whiskey reaches the rim. “I think you’re missing a few pieces.” I say, trying to sound reasonable. “How many times did you duck out of the meeting for a fresh beer?  Let’s take it apart.  Addiction is a terrible thing.  Fact:  Their success rate is three times higher than anything out there.”

REDBREAST Irish Whiskey TLoop slams his tumbler down and Whiskey sloshes across the desktop. “Prove it,” he says. “All them herbal remedies is like that. Who knows what works and what don’t? The burden o’ proof is a hellavalot lower than what ya gotta do fer a real drug. Then there’s always some moron believes in it and says it works.” 

As far as I’m concerned, Loop’s full of bunk, so I’m ready to debate him.  Maybe he’ll even take a swing at me—you can never tell. “Apparently it actually does—work, I mean. Look at all those independent studies. Craving fades in three weeks. After 8 weeks, you’re done. The addiction is killed.”

Loop just sneers.  “Maybe it’s the patient gets killed.”

“C’mon Loop. Nobody gets away with that stuff anymore.”  And as far as I know, nobody does.  Health food stores are staffed by highly trained nutritionists and quack cures get shouted down all over the internet. “Consider this:  Alcoholism is now officially a disease.  With the new health care laws, who knows? Doctors could be writing scripts for Sobrexa pretty soon.”

Avantcare Artwork

Seems like a state-of-the-art therapy to me. “Look, it changes the neurophysiology of the body and brain and it’s response to alcohol and nicotine. It works on the neurotransmitters that cause the addiction in the first place. ” I stop talking because Loop is shaking his head and pointing his finger at me like he’s taking aim.

“So does Prozac,” he says.  “Nobody’s changing da neuro—nooru—da physique o’ my brain.” He downs his tumbler of the Irish whiskey and it occurs to me that alcohol may not be the only mood-altering drug he’s experienced in his lifetime. The way he packs away the hooch, maybe this Sobrexa is just what he needs. “Whadaya see that I don’t ?”  he says.

I settle back in my chair. “Money! It’s like this: Asking an alcoholic to stop drinking or a smoker to stop smoking without any help is like asking a man with a broken leg to run a mile.”

“So what?”

Loop seems to be getting more and more unreasonable.  I stop and consider another approach. “There’s a story about a guy that complained about Sobrexa. Said he couldn’t stand the smell of pot any more since he started the treatment. So what was his beef? All he wanted to cut back on was his alcohol abuse.”Avantcare 1

A wheezing laugh escapes from Loop and pretty soon he’s all smiles, so I keep hammering at him.

“Don’t you realize there’s 15 million untreated alcoholics that won’t even admit they’re sick? Avantcare LogoWho wants detox on his permanent electronic medical record? This company figured out that anonymity is the key to driving sales, so you can buy it right on an e-commerce site—nobody the wiser. That’s huge!  65% of customers click and buy. 9% provide personal information. 15% of chats result in a sale. One out of four phone calls ends in a sale.”

Loop drains his tumbler. “Pass me over summore o’ dat Pink Tit.”

I wince at the popular Irish moniker and slide the bottle across. He refills his glass, then holds it up to the light. “Been meanin’ to cut back. Maybe I’ll give that Sudoku stuff a try.”

“Sobrexa.”  Sheesh—I just made a sale! If it’s that easy, maybe those hockey stick projections actually make sense.

Let’s talk about the Glass Mountain Capital.”

Loop gives me a double-take. “Who—da leg breakers? Sure why not?”

“They’re not enforcers, Loop. This company turns bill collection into a science.”Glass Mountain logo

“Whadaya talkin’ about? You call da guy ‘n’ either he pays er else.”

That gets a laugh out of me. Nowadays, bill collectors have to comply with CFPB rules – that’s the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. No strong-arm stuff allowed. It just puts a stain on the industry anyway so this is a new approach. “You’ve got it all wrong, Loop.  This is debt collection without harassment. Treating people with dignity and respect. Protecting the reputation of the brand you represent.”

You mean you can’t call up some deadbeat and threaten his cat er somethin’?  How d’ya get any leverage over da guy?”

Anthony Nuzzo of Glass Mountain Capital 300

Anthony Nuzzo – CEO

I lean my head back in my hands and grin. “Analytics. They monitor everything and record every collection call, then analyze the data. Say they get 100,000 accounts. They use technology to figure out which ones are collectible and put all their resources on those. Then they match the right collector with the right consumer for a good outcome. That way, they collect more with less.”

Loop lets out a snort. “I ain’t convinced.  You done?”

“No. These guys are way ahead of the curve.  They safeguard data for the client as well as the customer. They’re real careful to stay in compliance. That’s good for everybody.”

“John, you ain’t makin’ no sale here yet.”

Glass Mountain artwork

“Okay, try this: While their competitors are going belly-up, these guys are growing fast. US Bank called them—not the other way around. They expect 80 Billion in collectibles by the end of the month and on average earn 4.25% of that.”

Loop sits up straight in his chair. He’s done the calculation. I always enjoy seeing that look of avarice transform his face when that happens.

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Go to – GAS FOR THE MASSES

Back to – BNC TUESDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN

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Photo credits—Avantcare, Glass Mountain Capital, Tektite Group

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Contacts

Avantcare

Glass Mountain Capital

BNC Venture Capital

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

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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 alcholics, angel, angel capital, angel investor, big money, BNC Venture Capital, Characters, Chicago Ventures, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship and Politics, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, Invention, investor, loop lonagan, pitch, vc, venture capital

LIGHT UP A CONTINENT

Impact Engine – Part 4

VERBATIM by Loop Lonagan – Investor and man about town,

as told to John Jonelis

Impact Engine

Ever hear o’ light poverty? Yeah, it’s a real thing ‘n’ it causes real poverty. But now somebody’s got a clever way t’ fix the problem. Lemme tell you about it.

This’s Loop Lonagan reporting. I’m here speakin’ to you again from Impact Engine Investor Day where a buncha new companies is makin’ their pitch fer growth capital.

Kerosene

This place is fulla us Impact Investors—them’s the only people invited here. And this crowd’s a whole lot more energized than other events. Way more lively.

Here’s what makes it so exciting: The best way to solve a social problem is to find a way t’ make money while yer fixin’ it. That way the solution becomes whacha call self-sustaining. They call it social entrepreneurship. I like da sound o’ that phrase.

Now let’s sit back and listen to one o’ these new ideas:

Note to Editor—I see you ain’t been fixin’ up my copy so the hell with it. I’m gonna let ‘er rip.

Note to Loop—Go for it. Keep it clean.

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Da Problem

Hey—we ain’t got no light poverty here at the Chase Auditorium. They even got a special guy assigned to control the banks o’ stage lights with a fancy computer just fer him. And it’s daylight outside! And tonight, dis city’ll be lit up like it was Christmas er somethin’. But whada we care? It’s just electricity, right? Always there when you need it and Chicago’s so purty all lit up at night.

Now lemme explain what light poverty is:

Just fer a minute, pertend—pertend mind you, that yer livin’ in a little village in the boonies of Kenya. Way out in the wilds. Got the picture?

There’s nothin’ around—well maybe a buncha big cats ‘n’ hyenas, that come out huntin’ whenever there’s a moon. And plenty o’ snakes come out at night too.  You can hear all them insects–even swat ’em when they land on yer moist skin–if they’s small enough to swat.  And yer happy to live just a couple miles from a well so you get a few sips o’ muddy water ever day.

So far it sounds like paradise, right? But here’s da rub: You got only so much time to find food fer yer family ‘cause when the sun goes down, that’s it fer the day! The night’s curtain falls so black you can’t see yer own nose. No light—no electricity—no nothin’. How d’ya like that fer quality o’ life?

Expensive Energy

“Wait a minute”, you say. “What about candles and kerosene lamps?” Turns out those ain’t real options. You spend all yer daylight hours tryin’ to make a livelihood but you can’t come up with the lousy 20 cents a day that it costs to burn a kerosene lamp. That kerosene costs 30% o’ yer income. Whadaya gonna do—conduct commerce around a bonfire? Hey bud—you ain’t goin’ nowhere. Yer stuck. And 85% of Kenyans are in this group. I say it’s a crock!

On the positive side, the only form o’ entertainment accounts fer a whole lot more more mouths t’ feed in the precious sweltering sunlight hours. Just fix that picture in yer mind ‘n’ let the magnitude o’ this thing’ll start to sink in.

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Da Solution

Light up Africa

This idea turns out nice and simple. A real bright kid named Alan Hurt starts a new company called LIGHT UP AFRICA and brings out the ZOOM BOX—a little gadget that makes a powerful electric charge just from ordinary motion ‘n’ stores it fer use later on.

It’s small. You can attach it to most anything that moves. Maybe tie it to the tail o’ the nearest cow—I dunno. Actually it’s designed fer you to wear when yer walkin’ around.

Zoom BoxNo this ain’t no fashion statement but I could see summa them green politicians makin’ it one.

Remember, yer livin’ in Africa, not the good old US of A. Nothin’ gets done in Africa without walkin’. Ever’body walks everywhere all day long. That’s how you get to market. That’s how you make your living. Takes up mosta the day.

Turns out all that walkin’ can generate lotsa electricity. Motion is da fuel. Sweat is da pollution. Get the idea?

So now fer the first time you can run a light at night. So what’s the big deal about that? Believe me, it’s big. Things really get rollin’ from here. All kindsa possibilities open up fer you ‘cause with electricity, you can jump all the way from the stone age to high tech.

  • Fer starters, you can actually study a book inside yer own hut at night—and maybe learn somethin’!
  • Somebody builds a clinic and saves yer worthless hide one night when you get bit by somethin’ nasty—all because they got light.
  • Pretty soon you got a new micro-enterprise o’ some kind goin’. Other businesses spring up around you sellin’ stuff ‘n’ yer little villiage comes alive.
  • Yer business grows. You start sellin’ yer goods to places where lotsa people live.

Now yer new office is in one o’ them big population centers ‘n’ there’s allota compicated problems in those places. But when it comes to light, you got the same problem.

  • Sure, you got a lamp or two—even a cell phone. But power’s so scarce they’re talkin’ about creating a new currency around trading electricity.
  • If you couldn’t afford kerosene in the boonies, how often d’ya think yer gonna flip on a light switch in da city?
  • But you still got yer ZOOM BOX so you charge up yer cell phone ‘n’ carry on business. Maybe even sell yer stuff on Amazon to those of us back here in Chicago!

.Portable Electric Generation

Da Business

Ever’body can buy a ZOOM BOX on the cheap just like you did. It’s a one-and-done proposition. Meanwhile, LIGHT UP AFRICA is collaborating with microfinance institutions and non-government organizations. They’re settin’ up a network o’ distribution and repair facilities. Pretty soon, ever’body’s gotta have one o’ these things. Hey, in Zambia alone there’s 650,000 bicycle cabs pedlin’ all day long. Alotta them’s probably Buffalo Bicycles made by F.K. Day—all just waitin fer the ZOOM BOX to make the right kinda juice.

This idea’s so simple, it’s transformational. Ω

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CONTINUE TO PART 5

Go back to Part 1

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Da Links

Check out dis cool video:

Light Up Africahttp://www.golightafrica.com
Contact – founders@golightafrica.com – 773-817-9053
c/o 1871, 222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza Suite 1212, Chicago, IL 60654

Impact Engine – http://www.TheImpactEngine.com
Contact Linda Darragh – L-Darragh@Kellogg.Northwestern.edu

Images courtesy Light Up Africa and Impact Engine

Impact Engine

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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1 Comment

Filed under 1871, angel, angel capital, angel investor, big money, Characters, chicago, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, city, Economics, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship and Politics, Events, Impact Engine, Impact Investing, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, Invention, investor, Kellogg, new companies, Northwestern, pitch, Social Entrepreneur, The City, venture capital

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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3 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 BUM IN ME

Funding Feeding Frenzy – Part 2

VERBATIM by Loop Lonagan—investor and man about town,

as told to John Jonelis

FFF LogoLoop Lonagan here. I’m headin’ out to this year’s Funding Feeding Frenzy. It’s the big event if ya wanna see all o’ Chicago’s best startups in one place. This time the FFF is happenin’ at a place called the Chopin Theater northwest o’ downtown and I wanna see how that’s gonna work out. Will there be a string quartet? They yusta hold it at a huge automobile showroom which seems weird but worked out. It had about half the floor space of McCormick Place and plenty o’ room fer hordes o’ people to roam. But this is gonna be a lot different.

One thing I wanna impress on your readers, John, is about Chicago itself. You know I love this place but face it—it’s a city with all the usual warts ‘n’ barnacles. And every neighborhood is different, so yer either at home here or yer not. Nobody never gave me no trouble. Maybe I’m no pushover, so I got an advantage. But if I’m gonna tell this story, I gotta give you the whole picture. And I’m gonna give it my best shot.

Clybourn

The Street

I’m comin’ in by train and can’t resist gettin’ off at the old Clybourn Station. From here, it’s only a mile walk to where I’m goin’. That looks real good on a map. But my advice to you is don’t do it. Get off all the way downtown and take a nice comfy cab to the event. This ain’t a bad part o’ town. Nothin’ like that. Just take my advice.

Once I’m on the Clybourn platform I draw in a lungful o’ cold air. It’s feelin’ like the Christmas season just gettin’ started up here and I got a wad o’ money in my pocket. I get my choice o’ passages down to street level. That always feels like descending into the bowels of hell. Mincing little concrete steps winding through grimy concrete tunnels. Once-yellow paint peeling off the walls. And the best part is you get yer choice o’ tunnels! They’s all the same!

It’s still early and the usual crowd is layin’ about the sidewalk. I step over Old Man Percy, ‘cause I don’t wanna disturb his sleep, but the others is startin’ to rise’n’ shine. I give a hearty good morning to Fred and Big Bubba and ignore Merry ‘n’ Pippin huddled in a corner—those two give me the creeps. Summa these people are new to me but you can’t never know ‘em all. Familiar faces go missing but still, there’s never no shortage. I got it on good authority that the poor will always be among us.

People tell me these guys makes Fifty Gs just panhandling. I say it’s a buncha hooey. The idea got invented in that Sherlock Holmes story, The Man With the Twisted Lip, ‘n people been repeatin’ it ever since. If it was true these guys’d find a warm place to sleep. Ever try an icy Bridgesidewalk ‘round about Christmastime? And there’s more ‘o these people hangin’ ‘round than ever. That means more competition. That means harder times fer all o’ them. Sure, any profession’s got it’s elite that strike it rich, but that leaves the multitudes, scrablin’ fer crumbs.

The Professionals

I always say there’s a lot to bein’ a good bum. You feel so warm inside when you drop a buck in his hat. ‘Specially near Christmas. Makes your whole day. Some ‘o these derelicts play musical instruments and summa them is pretty good at it too. Come to think of it, these guys fill an important role in society. They’re public servants. Maybe the city should fit ‘em into their patronage system. It’d mean more votes for The Chicago Machine. After all, The Machine is politicians.  And politicians is people paid to be bums.

Hell, when you get down to it, there ain’t much difference between these guys ‘n’ me. Maybe I invest alota money, drink good liquor, sleep in a warm bed. But whadda I really do for the world? I been givin’ that some thought lately and all I comes up with is this—I provide liquidity. Sounds pretty shallow, don’t it? Let’s just imagine some day I make a big mistake and lose it all. They throw me on the street. In no time, I’m part o’ this crowd. Makes a guy think. Maybe I got a talent for it, though—who knows? But it’s a profession without nobility.

Of course there’s gangs and outright criminals in the mix. Then there’s a lotta homeless people with no hope. Alcoholics, drug addicts, and whack jobs. Minds gone over the edge. They say Old Man Percy’s got millions stuffed in the bank but he’s sleepin’ here on the pavement whenever they shove him outa the loony bin. You think you can change him? Think again.

The Scholar

Everybody’s awake now. I always ask if one of ‘em can recite a famous quotation. Gotta keep up the level o’ education here. So I calls for somethin’ Christmassy. I give ‘em a choice—Isaiah 7:14 or Matthew 1:23, whatever their preference—theys exactly the same text. And Fred rattles it right off while Big Bubba stares him in the face, mouth hangin’ open. Fred’s a real intelligent guy. He’d be a good addition to my team.

Note to John – Why not make him a reporter?

Note to Loop – Bring him around for an interview.

Anyway, Fred’s recitation earns a C-Note for every one of ‘em that’s present—even Old Man Percy and the two Hobbits. Except I peel off ten fer Fred. Hell, it really is almost Christmas. I know most of ‘em is gonna waste it but I ain’t tellin’ these guys what to do with their own money.

Then Big Bubba rumbles to himself in a deep bass, “Emanuel—I thought dat was da name o’ da mayor.” Whadaya gonna do with guys like that?

Note to John— I ain’t had no coffee yet this mornin’ after a real rough night. Too much booze and no sleep, so maybe you oughta clean up my copy. I think I’m runnin’ on like the old days—I mean before I got some college. Understand what I’m sayin’?

Note to Loop— I find your account lucid and concise. I’ll publish it as is. And a graduate degree in finance at the University of Chicago is more than “some” college.

Overpass

Stumbling over the Truth 

Fred and Big Bubba take me up on my offer of breakfast. There’s a good old diner along the way. That’s the real reason I picked this station. But before you get to the gentry part o’ town, you gotta walk under the overpasses. The Kennedy Expressway bridges make natural roofs fer the homeless and the piles o’ rubble at the sides reek somethin’ horrible. Yeah it’s raw but so is any city.

Another thing about cities is potholes. In good times there was always holes in the street. Now, with this economic depression it’s worse than ever. So we’re walkin’ down Ashland Avenue at a brisk clip, enjoyin’ each other’s company and I’m scannin’ around like any careful city dweller when the next thing I knows I’m on my face. Lousy pothole—right in the sidewalk of all places.

Fred and Big Bubba haul me back to my feet and brush me off and I check for damage. Maybe a guy can get away with slashed knees and filth on his rumpled blue jeans but it don’t look right on a $2,000 suit. In an instant I go from Mr. Bigshot to a reject from the Salvation Army. But now I fit in with my companions, so I shrug it off. And I got a mile ahead o’ me to walk off the sprained ankle. But in a couple blocks we reach the nice section and the diner I told you about.

The Private Room

The cashier at the restaurant tries to push us out the door like we’re the Blues Brothers or somethin’. Probably thinks we’ll drive off the clientele. Phooey. Maybe this is a classier joint than Julio’s House of Jalapeños but hey—it’s still a diner, not the Chez Paul. So I ask for Lonny, the owner, and he leads us to a back room stacked with boxes. They lay a nice table for us and the room is perfect for planning out crimes and runnin’ poker games.

Big Bubba orders three stacks o’ pancakes. He butters every one of ‘em and drowns ‘em all in maple syrup. Fred sticks with a piece o’ pecan pie. But I dig into steak ‘n eggs with toast and A-1 Sauce ‘n’ bacon. And more important—a big pot o’ coffee for each of us. Round about the fifth cup I’m feelin’ a whole lot better. Fred smokes a cigarette. We talk. Lotsa stimulating conversation. It cheers me up. Now I’m ready—ready to meet with big money at the FFF.

Back on the street, Big Bubba and Fred part ways with a wave and a Merry Christmas. When I suck in the brisk air, I feel more coherent and alert—ready to pick winners, negotiate terms. Less than a mile left to walk off this sprained ankle. I think about them that puts their heads down on a frozen sidewalk and the ankle don’t seem so bad no more.

Note to John—Do I sound more coherent and alert now that I had my coffee?

Note to Loop—You’re always alert.

The Gentrification

Here’s another thing I find interesting about the city. Here in these gentrified sections you can never tell what’s inside a building. Alotta these are new construction or complete makeovers with big-time brands on their signs. Those buildings are nice inside—most o’ the time. But the others can surprise you. The outside of the Chopin Theater looks like a dump that’s been a dump for the last hundred years. Turns out completely different once you walk in the door. This place is gorgeous. A great spot for the FFF.

Chopin Theater

Chopin Theater

A beautiful lady greets me like royalty. I check the layout. Nice lobby. Nice coffee bar. Nice theater space for the companies to present. Steep stadium seating so everybody can see. Doors and windows floating around the stage give it a class look. I figure them’s props for some production but it’s a bonus for us.

Chopin Theater Lobby

Chopin Theater Lobby – photo courtesy of theater

I take in the morning’s presentations. Then I go bummin’ downstairs. Wow! A huge room with a great spread of food and drink. This is way better than the old place. People can talk and strike deals while they feed at the trough and make all the racket they want. Meanwhile, the presentations go on in the kinda setting they deserve—quiet and focused. Kudos to David Culver and company for finding this spot and nailing it down.

Chopin Theater Stage

Chopin Theater Stage – photo courtesy theater

So what’s the FFF all about? One o’ the most important things in the world—starting brand new companies! That means keepin’ as many people off the streets as we can! So here I am wolfing down food, crackin’ jokes, and talkin’ to intelligent company. Lotsa stimulating conversation. It cheers me up. Just like breakfast with the bums. Now I’m ready—ready fer the rest o’ the day.

Chopin Theater

Chopin Theater – photo courtesy theater

Listen John, I went off on a tangent and didn’t even cover the event yet. Now my batteries is gettin’ kinda low. I’ll buy some fresh ones and get back to ya later. Fer now, have a joyous Christmas.

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Continue to Part 3

Go back to Part 1

Links

Chopin Theater

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

Funding Feeding Frenzy

https://www.facebook.com/FundingFeedingFrenzy

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

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8 Comments

Filed under Characters, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship and Politics, Events, FFF, Funding Feeding Frenzy, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, jobs, The City

SHARK TANK MEETS THE APPRENTICE

Funding Feeding Frenzy – Part 1

VERBATIM by Loop Lonagan – Investor and man about town,

as told to John Jonelis

FFF LogoLoop Lonagan here. I’m at the Funding Feeding Frenzy ‘n’ there must be more’n 1000 people here and lots more goin’ in and out all day. If you wanna see what’s happening in the Chicago Startup Community, this is the place to be and you can do it all in one single day. But don’t ferget—there’s sharks in them waters and they bite.

This is the place where the judges hold up cards like they used to at the Olympics way back when. They say either FUNDABLE, which almost nobody gets, KEEP FISHING, which I see a lot, or the dreaded GO FUND YOURSELF. Plenty of those too. I watch one company get the thumbs down from the judges but later in the day that same company finds itself an Angel Investor right here at the event.  I’m trolling for a couple good companies myself.   And maybe some fun on the side.

It takes all day before I see any blood in the water. And I’m sittin’ here with a big grin. I always like a good fight.

The Setup

FFF is so big they hold it in this enormous indoor car dealership – almost as big as McCormick Place.  I crawl into a hot new Camaro and ogle the red Corvette.  In past years, with room to spread out, they ran three stages at once.

This year for the first time, the FFF runs just one stage—not the usual three. This poses some pros and some cons. It allows David Culver & Company to put together a large panel of distinguished judges—all recognized Chicago investors. That’s on the good side. I get to see every company that presents. That’s good too. They already weeded out the weak companies and lotsa these presenting here bear a deeper look. I’ll check into those. These companies seem like they’re coached better than ever before and I appreciate the professionalism. All o’ that is on the good side.

But some things don’t work so good on a single stage. You gotta picture the situation. This event goes on ALL DAY. Sure, you can walk around but with only one stage, there’s nowhere else interesting to go. And it’s a hot day. Real hot. The AC keeps going till afternoon, then it gets nasty. But I like investing in startup companies and I like fireworks. I expect to see some of both. So I show up bright and early and stay late. And so do the judges—the whole day. That’s what causes all the trouble.

FFF Corvette

FFF

Just like any good event, they save the best fer last. That means the big show happens late afternoon. By this time I see lotsa shiny faces. The audience gets kinda thin. Most of ‘em are feedin’ their faces and indulging in various liquid cravings and raising a terrific racket in back—so loud it’s hard to hear the panelists. Like I said, these judges been workin’ their tails off all day and barely time for a pit stop. Anybody can see they’re all wrung out. And cranky. For what it’s worth, I figure this thing needs to start at 10:00 am and end at 3:00 pm max. That gives time for a couple two-hour sessions and a nice break.  But that ain’t the way it is.  No it’s every minute all day.

I think it’s crazy to pitch to a buncha investors suffering the miseries, but I see that’s just what’s about to happen. I prick up my ears and lick my chops. I wanna see what develops.

The Donnybrook

After four o’clock, the panelist’s questions are gettin’ kinda testy. They’re attention spans are probably at the breaking point too. I figure some promising offering is about to get chewed up.

Lemme tell you what happens but first, remember my rules:

  1. Tell a good story.
  2. Don’t get the judges mad.
  3. There ain’t no third rule ‘cause three strikes and yer out.

The next company is real special. After hearin’ their pitch over lunch, I believe they’re the real deal. But the guy I talked to at lunch ain’t the same guy givin’ the presentation right now. No, this presenter comes off as a know-it-all. What’s the word? Arrogant. Could be the heat because I meet him later and he ain’t that way at all. But right now, it’s painful to hear. He’s breaking rule #2.

And sure enough, the first judge turns nasty right away.

FFF Speaker

FFF Speaker

“I don’t understand your value proposition.” That’s the opening salvo. Then he starts firing off questions at the poor guy like a machine gun and when he’s done, you can sweep the pieces off the floor. This judge is an investor I respect. He’s the kinda guy I call the sharpest knife in the drawer. Some people think he’s intimidating. This time as it turns out, it’s the kiss of death. No way the other judges are gonna say anything positive after this guy turns vicious. No—they all fall right in line:

It’s like lecturing a schoolboy when the next judge says, “Within the million dollars, how do you see using that money?” Hey, the presentation covered all that stuff. Was he asleep or what? Like I say, it’s late and these guys attention spans are all shot to hell.

They could rattle off the rest of the objections in their sleep:

“You spent virtually no time on the business side.”

“Can you describe in more detail…?”

“How is that justified…?”

“I have a concern…”

Then back to the first judge. “There’s some big players in the marketplace. Some BIG, BIG competitors. One is coming to Chicago probably this year. It’s gonna—they’ll crush you!”

It’s all a buncha hogwash. But now the poor guy is back on his heels. He’s shot his wad.

Here’s the problem: He’s fielding questions all alone—something I like to avoid. He let himself get caught up in details and he don’t recognize these questions is coming at him from an entirely different perspective. Naturally he gets defensive.  Naturally that offends the judges. What he needs is a colleague to observe and step in when there’s a problem. But he’s all on his own.

FFF Speaker

Then we hear objections shouted from the audience.

Can you move so I can see?” Sheesh, I been sittin’ here all day. I’m tryin’ to pay attention to the shellacking going on in front of the big screen. I don’t even need to turn around to recognize the loud, harsh voice of Rong Mayhem. Why’d he wheel himself behind me?

“Somebody make him move.” I don’t budge. Rong can take a flyin’ leap fer all I care. Then he calls out to the speaker—as if the guy didn’t have enough trouble. “What happened to your last venture? I heard it went bust.” I have no idea what he means by this remark. Their last venture is a film that turned out real good.

The moderator interferes before another word gets out: “Don’t talk to him,” he says, meaning the speaker and audience shouldn’t oughta talk to each other. That’s the rules but it seems kinda rude given the circumstances. I like Rong but he gets banned from alotta these events. Can’t keep his mouth shut.

Then there’s a burst of noise from the beer drinkers in back ‘n’ that gets a response from the audience.

“Turn up the speakers. I can’t hear anything,” shouts Rong Mayhem.

“Who cares?” yells Sheldon Tommygun.

“Shuttup Sheldon,” booms Rong.  This delightful interchange leaves me wondering if I’m gonna see an old man and a guy in a wheel chair duke it out. That’d be somethin’ to see.

Another judge goes on as if there was no interruption: “What does adopt the platform mean? C’mon, whaddaya think it means? Then he suggests a major change in the business plan and the poor guy is so beaten down he accepts it—even calls it “smart.”

Time’s up. The presenter limps off.

Next!

This comes as a big surprise – the very next company,  Pallette App, gets a nice warm and friendly reception and takes first place fer the whole event.

bnc-pallete-app

The Winner

I gotta admit, they’re good. Real good. But where’d all that irritability go? Maybe the shark’s bellies are full. To my mind, they just butchered a promising offering and missed a shot at a great investment.

The Happy Ending

I always say: If you tell a good story with passion and don’t personally offend the investors, they’ll gleefully fill-in the holes in your business plan using their own imaginations. Without a good story, they’ll pick you apart like vultures on a carcass. Well it isn’t hard to offend the investors this late in the afternoon. And that’s what just happened here.

So here’s what I do the next day: I run off a transcript of the Q&A. I go to the company’s offices and present it to them. There’s nothing like seeing something in black and white to get your attention. Then I encourage ‘em to show up at a couple other events. And sure enough, the next time these guys present, they do great. And I watch ‘em get fully funded. So this story has a happy ending.

A Promising Company

A Happy Ending

Upcoming FFF Event

So’s I’m goin’ to the next FFF.  It won’t be like this one was.  Probably strictly business. They’re holdin’ it in an auditorium where they can keep tighter control. All the noisy food and venders is gonna be separate. I’m sure David Culver’s got it figured out. It’s his show and he knows what he’s doin’. And I’ll be there ‘cause I’m always ready to pick up another great company or two.  And it’ll be ALL DAY again, so maybe, just maybe, we’ll get some fireworks on the side.  If not, I’ll see what I can stir up.

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Continue to Part 2

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Hey, you wanna know how it actually feels to give a pitch to this kinda crowd? Check out “My Kraken Encounter.” Just click da link.

My Kraken Encounter

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Continue to Part 2

Contacts

Find the Funding Feeding Frenzy at https://www.facebook.com/FundingFeedingFrenzy

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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.

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Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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8 Comments

Filed under Characters, Chicago Ventures, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Events, FFF, Funding Feeding Frenzy, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, Internet, Invention

I NEVER WORKED A DAY IN MY LIFE

The Story of Ray Markman – Part 1

Ray Markman

by John Jonelis

“What he says is—” I pause to confront the two men across my battered old WWII Air Force desk.  “What he says is this: ‘I never worked a day in my life.’  Far as I can tell, Ray Markman never stopped working a day in his life.  Should’ve retired years ago and he’s still working.  Day and night he’s working.”

“It is merely a paraphrase from ze great inventor, Thomas Edison.” Alexander Harbinger PhD, sits erect, speaking in his German baritone.  “Most likely, Mr. Markman does not intend such a statement to be taken seriously.”

Loop Lonagan slams his fist on the scarred maple desktop.  “No.  I heard ‘im say it.  Two times I heard ‘im.  That guy always says what he means and I believe him.”

I smile.  I believe Ray, too.  I glance at my notes and read Ray’s words: I loved what I did.  To me working was the greatest things in the world.  I still average twelve hours a day.  I never felt I worked a day in my life.’  How can you argue against that kind of heart?

Ray Markman

Ray Markman – Bachrach Photography

Again the baritone from the tall man, but more animated:  “Voicing such an outlandish opinion does not make it fact.  The very idea iss… what is ze word…”  He pauses.  “Vimsical.  It iss vimsical.”

It tickles me to hear Alex’ accent thicken when he gets excited.

“Proof,” he says.  “I cannot accept it vithout proof and I do not believe that you can produce evidence that vill convince an educated person that such a statement is…that it iss justified.”

“Waddaya mean educated?  You callin’ me illiterate?”  I don’t like the look Lonagan gives Harbinger.  Dangerous.  Personally, I never want to find myself on Lonagan’s bad side.

For a moment, the tall PhD appears nonplussed.  Then he stammers, “No—no.  Present company excepted, of course—of course.”  An amazing concession from the tall, cold scholar.

I roll my chair out of the way, stoop to the floor and work my fingers under a cardboard box, remembering what I learned working in factories as a boy—lift with your legs, not your back.  The massive old desk shifts when I drop the first box on the scored maple top.  I dump the second next to it.  Then the third.

Still standing, I heave a sigh. “Glad you’re taking it that way.  This is everything I have.  I’d appreciate each of your perspectives.  It’s short notice but I need your opinions by Friday.  Will you take it on?”

The room goes silent as the three of us stare at the bulging boxes, each with the name, RAY MARKMAN, printed in neat letters.  I know I’m asking a lot. Gazing down at Alex and Loop I am unable to read their eyes.

Loop is first to speak.  “You want I should dig through all this stuff by Friday?”

I lean forward on my fists.  “Listen—you are two of the smartest guys I know.  Loop, you traded huge money on the floor of the CME and later funded a lot of winning companies.  Your street smarts and business savvy make your opinion beyond value to me.  Alex, you’re academic credentials are legendary but at the same time you keep your feet solidly on the ground.  I trust your judgment—trust it thoroughly.  I’m hoping we can put our heads together on this.”

After a pause, Harbinger stands tall.  “I vill begin immediately.”  He turns to Loop.  “I meet you here Friday.”  Then he lifts a box of documents and ducks as he marches out the door.

Loop grunts when he hefts a box.  “Lug dis.  Lug dat.”  Leaning well back, he steps out of the room with the heavy burden.

I park my duff in my chair and stare at the remaining box.  A lot of documents to examine.  But I link my fingers behind my head and lean back into the plush leather, lifting my feet to the desktop, smiling to myself.  I’ve just succeeded in lighting a fire under two divergent thinkers.  I wonder what they’ll bring back with them.

Continue to Part 2

Comment on this article — Name and email optional

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

18 Comments

Filed under Biography, BNC Venture Capital, Chicago Ventures, Midwest Renaissance Fund, Nobel Prize, Northwestern