Tag Archives: Venture

DON’T GET DOWN—GET BUSY

Howard Tullman Double Gulp Tby Howard Tullman

If you run a startup you’ll hit a wall or screw up big-time at some point. It goes with the territory. What doesn’t is letting yourself get stopped. Adversity doesn’t need any help. There are things you can do to right the ship—and the first is to right yourself.

The bond between the best entrepreneurs and their businesses is often tight and all-encompassing—so much so that they can make the easy mistake of confusing who they are as people with what they do for a living. They can lose sight of some of the more important things that distinguish earning a living from having a life. And because they typically take the ups-and-downs of business so personally, there’s virtually no separation between work and what little time is left for the rest of life. Family, friends, everything suffers.

If the business takes a hit, which startups do on a regular basis, the tendency is to feel like a personal failure—to feel fundamentally worthless. If that sounds overly dramatic or overwrought, come live in my world for a few weeks and you’ll change your mind in no time. The external stresses of business creation are nothing compared to the mental beatings and recriminations we administer to ourselves. It’s not healthy, it’s not smart, but it’s common to what we’ve chosen.

Frustration from Getty Images

Getty Images

Having said that, I want to be clear that I believe that there’s no such thing as “just business.” It’s essential to take your business personally if you want any chance of real success—if you want to build something that matters and makes a difference. But, at the same time, I don’t think that you can let your identity and your sense of self-worth be entirely subsumed by the day-to-day crises and fire drills and the many setbacks that we all deal with. The ups and the occasional wins are nice; but it’s the downs and learning how to deal with them that makes all the difference in the long run.

We all get depressed from time to time because—and I hope this doesn’t come as a complete surprise to anyone—life isn’t fair. Even the nicest people get knocked on the head from time to time. The very best of intentions are scant protection from the vagaries of the startup world. And especially in the startup world, few things work out the way you planned. Sadly, and far too often, just being in the right time and place, or catching some other lucky break beats out a lot of better ideas, a bunch of long hours, hard work, and even much better technology and solutions. Bill Gates is a spectacular example. That’s just how it goes. But where things go after something good happens is up to you. How do you handle the bruises and blisters that are all an essential part of growing any business?

I’ve watched hundreds of entrepreneurs handle every kind of adversity, and lived through more near-death experiences myself than I care to recall, and I’ve concluded that there’s a right way to proceed and a lot of ways that are wastes of time, leading nowhere. Some of these approaches are just common sense ideas, but it’s easy to look past them when you’re feeling down and troubled. So here goes.

 

What Won’t Work

Playing the Blame Game

There’s always someone or something to blame. Usually it’s the people not in the room or circumstances you can’t do anything about. It doesn’t help to whine. Worse, by putting your fate in the hands of circumstances or third parties, you give up your own power to change things. Sitting back and feeling sorry for yourself isn’t ever a viable solution.

 

Settling for a Situation that Sucks

Nothing I know gets better by itself. If you want a better outcome or result, you have to take control of the situation and make things better. Standing still means you’re sliding back while others are racing ahead. As often as not, when you settle for less than your best, you end up with even less than you settled for.

 

Trying to Ignore the Problem

If you don’t want to believe or accept something, no amount of evidence will change your mind. But, if you ignore a serious problem long enough, you’ll eventually have a crisis on your hands and then you’ll have no choice but to take action. It makes much more sense to get started on a solution before things get out of control. Ignoring the unhappy facts doesn’t make them go away; they just fester.

 

Trying to Be Superman

You can’t solve everything by yourself regardless of how many all-nighters you pull. Important problems are complex and require a competent team to address and resolve. A team distributes the burdens, stresses, and makes for a much better result.

 

Trying to Distract Yourself

You may think that you can re-direct your focus on trivial things—see a show, a movie, take a run or workout, have a few drinks—and magically you’ll stop worrying about the elephant in the room. But that’s not the way an entrepreneurial brain works. It never shuts down completely. Convincing yourself that you don’t care isn’t as easy as you might imagine, regardless of what a great sales person you are. And even if you momentarily get your head out of the game, your stomach will still keep score.

 

What Will Work

Do Something Now to Fix the Problem

Nothing beats now. You may not get it totally right but you won’t get anywhere if you don’t get started. Better to do something constructive and move the ball forward than to sit in a pile of pity. People who work hard and still can’t find the right answers don’t come to a screeching halt. They bend the world to their needs and desires. They create their own solutions. They make conditions and circumstances that succeed.

 

Raise Your Sights and Expectations for Next Time

At 1871, one of our favorite mottos is: “It’s Only a NO for NOW.” The most critical skill of any successful entrepreneur is perseverance. Get knocked down. Get back up. Try again. While you’re at it, aim a little higher the next time because selling yourself short is stupid. Ignore all the people who tell you why things can’t be done.

 

Focus on What is Working and Build from There

I call this “eating the elephant one bite at a time.” Not every problem can be solved all at once. But you can build off the foundation formed by the accomplishments and successes that you’ve had to date and then break the remaining barriers down into manageable, bite-sized challenges. Take tasks on one at a time. A lot of small steps, pushes, and the occasional shove—as well as a little bit of patience—will get you there.

 

Acknowledge that Things Could Be a Lot Worse

People who aren’t living this life think that all entrepreneurs are cock-eyed optimists who view everything through rose-colored glasses and believe that trees grow to the sky. But we know better. Serial entrepreneurs will tell you that it’s never as bad or as good as it looks. Every day you must put on a brave and excited face for the world and your team. Deep down inside, it may pay to be a little paranoid, but it’s essential, in the privacy of your own mind, to be proud—proud of how far you’ve come when so many others never could, proud of what you’ve built so far and all the people you’ve benefited along the way. There are much worse ways you could spend your time and your life. Admit it and get on with it.

 

Remember Why You’re Doing This in the First Place

We didn’t come this far to quit or to only come this far. We didn’t come to play; we came to win. And we wouldn’t be doing this at all if it wasn’t important and likely to make a difference to a lot of people in addition to ourselves. That’s why we come to work; put our noses to the grindstone; and try to get better every single day. If it was easy, anyone could do it. It’s not.

 

Howard Tullman is the father of Chicago’s 1871 incubator.

Read his bio on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_A._Tullman

Check out his websites at http://tullman.com/ and http://tullman.blogspot.com/

Or just type his name into your favorite search engine.

 

Photo credits: Howard Tullman, Getty Images

This article is abridged from the version appearing in INC.

 

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 1871, angel, angel capital, angel investor, App, big money, chicago, Chicago Ventures, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Howard Tullman, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, Invention, investor, Mobile, Mobile App, Mobile Marketing, new companies, vc, venture capital

WHAT MAKES IT GOOD

Techweek Part 4 –

Two Points T

by storied business consultant, Joe Perogi,

as told to John Jonelis –

Been hearin’ complaints ‘n’ controversy about Techweek this year. People gripe so you figure there’s gotta be a good reason, right? Yeah, I hear you. Yer sayin’, where there’s smoke there’s fire. But all them critics completely miss THE HIDDEN ROOM that you and me stumple upon—the hidden room that makes this thing truly amazing. Now the dust is settled, lemme take you on a tour o’ what I seen.

First, permit me t’ introduce myself. Name’s J. P. Pierogiczikowski, but you can call me Joe Perogi. Everybody else does. They say I have way too much fun. Maybe they’re right. Confidentially, there’s alotta money in it, too.

Da Speakers

We meet at the office in the backroom o’ Ludditis Shots & Beer.

Ludditis Shots and Beer 3

It’s just a good stretch o’ the legs from here to the Chicago Merchandise Mart and we get there in fifteen minutes easy. This event takes up a whole floor and gets a special elevator.

On this tour, you and me start in a room packed with chairs and people eager to hear Sal Khan of Khan Academy—one o’ da featured speakers. I wanna hear this guy. His company solves problems in education. Uses technology to help the kids learn ‘n’ helps the teachers make better use o’ their time. That’s huge. I’m figure this is gonna be good.

Khan Academy’s gonna partner with big business—a move that’ll give ‘em a longer reach. None of us know about that at the time—all we wanna do is hear the guy talk.

Look at that outrageously pretty lady on stage. Now she’s tellin’ us how great the speaker is. Now she points out the big screen. Hey, Sal Khan ain’t even here. You’re here. I’m here. We paid to be here. All these other people are here, too. But no Sal. He’s on Skype. So I’m a little bit offended, but whaddaya gonna do? They call it Techweek, so I figure we’ll give it our best shot.

All the computers crash at Sal’s office out in California or wherever he really is. But Sal’s no quitter. He carries on—with his smartphone. Ever notice how people believe them smartphones can do anything? Maybe it’s ‘cause they call ‘em smart when they’re really just pocket-size computers waitin’ to go wrong.

THE MERCHANDISE MARTWe look at the big screen and see this faded picture of Sal Kahn. You can tell he’s holdin’ the phone too close to his face. That’s why he looks kinda distorted. And he’s got a lousy connection—maybe one bar, tops. Truth be told, none of us can get our phones working here in the Chicago Merchandise Mart. Too much concrete. But apparently the organizers think smart phones is a smart move. So we sit through snips and swipes o’ Sal’s voice, cutting in and out. Nobody knows what the hell he’s saying. It creates a feeling of suspense, doncha think? I mean, the way that distorted face skips and jerks across the faded auditorium screen.

Why don’t anybody get up and walk out? Easy. It’s that gorgeous gal on stage—she’s really somethin’. Class. Intelligent-looking. Businesslike. She apologizes. Now she’s promising they’s gonna fix the problem. Now she’s watching that big screen with such intense interest—like she can understand what he’s sayin’ and she’s hangin’ on every word. She creates in us what they call a sense of suspended belief. (I read that somewhere.) And it keeps everybody in their seats.

Sal keeps cutting in and out till his battery dies and that means, lecture over. It teaches me a lesson: It’s usually more about marketing than technology. But you don’t know that till the technology breaks down.

Did I mention that the Blackhawk’s rally is going on downtown today?Blackhawk logo You don’t wanna go? Hey—they won the Stanley Cup. It’s a big deal. Okay then, let’s crash a few more presentations.

So we take in summore lectures. Seems like every speaker talks in some important-sounding corporate lingo. It’s all meaningful stuff, right? Maybe it’s what they call high-elf—I dunno. I’m wishin’ I can be with the Blackhawk fans. So you and me ditch the lectures and hit the booths.

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Da Booths

There’s rows ‘n’ rows o’ these little islands o’ commerce packed side-by-side, with all sortsa people plugging up the floor and it all seems to go on forever. Pretty soon I get turned around and confused and everything’s a blur. Don’t it hit you that way, too? This place is so big, a guy can get lost in here real fast.

Look around. Everywhere it’s corporations hawking their wares. (There’s that word Hawk again.) Notice how most people just mill past the booths. Except fer that one—the one serving free booze. We stop there for a while. Pretty good, huh?

FREE BOOZE

So I learn a second lesson, but it don’t hit me till later: Big corporations waste lots of money. But they help an event pay the bills.

Then, just when I’m about to give up and say goodbye, we find the hidden room.

startup city logo

Da Hidden Room

See that wall with the huge Startup City logo painted on it? Looks like a dead end, don’t it? We walk up and take a closer look at the artwork. There’s a small door on our right. We go through there and WHAM! It’s a whole ‘nother room packed with booths ‘n’ people ‘n’ lotsa noise. These is all startup companies. Seventy of ‘em. Ambitious entrepreneurs, brilliant inventors and gutsy financiers ready to take a risk on a new idea. This is where the action is. So let’s do the rounds. Hey, I know summa these people! I like this place!

And whaddaya know—they got a competition goin’. The judges go from booth to booth and try to pick out the five best startups. Which o’ these folks is the judges? I can’t tell. It’s kinda like a benched dog show.

Now we find out the winners are gonna get announced at a special event with the mayor. Our tickets ain’t good enough to get in—those tickets musta cost thousands! No problemo. We crash it.

We’re in and now the mayor’s up there giving a speech:

“…I think the city of Chicago will become the mecca of the Midwest in startup cities,” he says. IMG_9067“The city of Chicago is building the digital economy as the fifth pillar…” I gotta ask you: Where’d he get all that mecca and fifth pillar stuff? I mean I like the guy but them terms don’t feel right coming outa him. Maybe if he wore a keffiyeh or a turban er somethin’. Naw, that ain’t never gonna happen.

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Da Shortlist

Then they announce the winners. But I’m an investor and I got my own short list. Lemme tell you about ‘em:

cervia diagnostic logoCervia Diagnostic Innovations is gonna wipe out cervical cancer by replacing the age-old pap smear with a better test. They got all the research and their team’s fulla PhDs and Nobel Prize winners.

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PaletteApp logoPaletteApp is bringing architects and interior designers outa da closets and into the digital world and saving companies a whole lot of money.

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youtopia logoYoutopia is gettin’ high school kids emotionally involved in those service projects they gotta do and documenting the results fer the colleges they wanna get into. You got a high school kid? Then you know that’s something worthwhile.

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faspark logoFaspark is helpin’ us all find street parking for our jalopies. It’s based on data analytics and probability of success and reduces time cruising the streets by 70%. Shows up as a map on your phone. They’re setting up in Chicago and Munich at the same time.

UPDATE – Faspark now gives you parking garage information in addition to the street parking.  Check out this article in Crain’s Chicago Business.  

None o’ them great companies made the finals ‘n’ that makes me scratch my head. And now they announce the winner:

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Da Official Finalists

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wedeliver logoWeDeliverFirst Place. I gotta say, this one’s on my short list now I get to know ‘em, and there’s an article about them in this magazine. But this is my first look at ‘em. You ever see these guys before? Great business model. Terrific CEO. Tech enabled same-day local delivery for brick and mortar businesses. These guys is gonna level the playing field with Amazon and create a buncha jobs right here in Chicago—and that’s just fer starters.

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Crowdfynd LogoCrowdFynd is a lost-n-found service that uses crowdsourcing to find yer stuff.

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Furywing LogoFurywing is is a gambling play. I don’t like online gambling, but it ain’t my place to judge.

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24Fundraiser logo24Fundraiser is a one-stop solution fer online auctions.

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neststepio logoNextStep.io helps you get yer daily workout by usin’ yer daily routine. I like that idea a lot. Gotta find out more about this one.

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trinet logoThe whole Startup City production is sponsored by TriNet. I talked to them folks at length and came away impressed.

Then I get a big surprise on the way home:

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Da Hawks

I ride the water taxi to the train and it turns out I don’t miss the Blackhawks celebration after all. The train’s loaded with drunken smiling people singin’ songs, makin’ a whole lotta noise, and generally havin’ a great time. Now it’s my turn, so I belt out The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

IMG_9086-001

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Back to Part 3 – BNC TUESDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN

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Photos courtesy Techweek, The Chicago Blackhawks, John Jonelis.  Logos courtesy companies.

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, Characters, chicago, Chicago Ventures, city, Donatas Ludditis, Education, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship and Politics, Events, Innovation, Internet, Internet Marketing, Invention, investor, Mobile, Mobile App, Mobile Marketing, new companies, Nobel Prize, pitch, Software, Techweek, the chicago machine, The City, the machine, vc, venture capital

MAKE TIME FOR LOVE

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.

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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.

Contacts

Contact Ellona Ferson at http://Lovendar.com

Find BNC Venture Capital at

http://www.bnchicago.com/Groups.php?group=8

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Go to – BNC TUESDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN

Back to –  FUNDED TONIGHT!

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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.

Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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

THE RIGHT WAY TO FAIL

The Story of Ray Markman – Part 6

by John Jonelis

Ray MarkmanFriday, 3:30 pm

The hour of the duel is closing fast.  Can I get the information I want out of these two hotheads before they beat each other senseless? If I prove one or the other right, will that snuff out the fuse?  At this point, I can’t be sure of anything.

This conflict hinges on some ill-chosen words by Loop Lonagan during heated debate with Alexander Harbinger, PhD. Fuel for the fire is an interesting research assignment—Ray Markman’s assertion, I never worked a day in my life.   We’ve all done our homework and given each other our reports, but it’s turned out to be far from routine.  Lonagan and Harbinger will fight a duel this afternoon.

I reach across my scarred WWII Air Force desk and refill their empty tumblers.  The bottle of single malt is more than half-gone.   They sip their scotch and for now, remain peaceful.  It brings to mind a picture of diplomats at a negotiating table—polite, formal, with seething hostilities hidden beneath a veneer of protocol.

Finally, Lonagan begins. “Da thing impresses me most about Ray,” he says, “is he knows howta take a loss. Ray says, ‘If you never lost money, you never did anything.’  And he’s dead right.”

That makes me smile. “Sounds like trader talk to me.”

“It’s da truth. I don’t care if it’s a trading floor or a corporate office.  Don’t matter.  It cuts against ever’body’s logic.  It ain’t easy fer a guy to learn but it’s a proven fact.  Winners know howta lose.”

Lonagan swallows a slug of his whiskey. “So Ray comes across this big fantastic product. Some sorta skin lotion—solves all kindsa problems ‘n’ feels great on yer hide.  He uses da stuff himself and thinks it’s terrific.  He falls in love with it.”  Lonagan shakes his head.  “That’s always a mistake. It’s an axiom on da trading floor:  Never let yerself fall in love with a deal.  You get burned.”  He blows on his fingers in pantomime style.

“Can’t blame ‘im.” Lonagan displays a toothy grin.  “Hadda learn it the hard way myself. Anyhow, here’s what Ray does.  He wants to mass market dis product.  The inventor ain’t got no money so Ray buys an option on it.  Now he owns it on the cheap.  Then he puts his heart ‘n’ soul in it.  He makes the rounds of all his advertisers—real rich men.  One thing for sure, Ray’s got contacts. 

“But for one reason or another, they all turn him down—every one of ‘em.”

Lonagan forms a fist and squeezes like he’s crushing a walnut. “But he ain’t givin’ up. He reads how the Tony Company—the outfit created da first home permanent—just sold for 20 million bucks to a big-time player.  That’s like maybe…”  He squints, “…maybe half a billion in today’s money. So then this Big Player makes it known he wants to invest in risk businesses.  Well, Ray’s figures—‘Hey, I got a risk business’—so he goes and sees duh guy.  Doncha love it?  He just goes out and sees dis guy dat spends half a billion like nothin’!

Half a Billion Dollars

“And it turns out, da guy’s impressed with Ray’s pitch. But does he fund da project?  No!  Instead, he offers Ray a job!”

Lonagan takes another slug of scotch before going on.  “Naturally, Ray turns da guy down so’s he kin laser-focus on his startup project.  But after a while, with no real capital, he’s gotta give up on that. So he takes da job after all, ‘n’ bides his time.”

Harbinger holds up a finger.  “Ziss! Ziss is yet another example of what I am saying.  He works as an employee!  He cannot claim he never worked a day in his life!”

Lonagan drains his whiskey and slams the tumbler on the desk so hard, the glass cracks.  “Shuttup, Mr. PhD.  I’m tellin’ dis story my way. Sure it’s a job, but I don’t think Ray sees it as work.  What about you?  I bet them universities pay real good, but whadaya think about it yerself?  Is lecturing work?  Is research work?  When yuh publish, is it work?  It’s a challenge, right?  There’s plenty o’ rewards and ya love it.  Gettin’ up early mornings.  Can’t wait to get started.  Is that work?” 

Lonagan cocks his head.  “‘Course maybe you’se is waitin’ for tenure so’s you can loaf da rest o’ yer career away.”

“Back off, Loop.”  I feel an urgent need to intervene before things get prematurely violent.  “Alex has a right to his opinion.  You two get to maul each other at five o’clock.   Right now I want to pick your brains while you both still have brains to pick.”  I slide across a new tumbler and the bottle.  “Think you can hold off hostilities till five PM?” It looks to me like Harbinger’s blood pressure is rising fast.

Lonagan sloshes whiskey into the glass.  “Could be you’re right.  Maybe I set my sites too high.  Maybe that big-time education, don’t leave no room in a guy’s head fer the common sense we’s all born with—‘specially a big German goon like Alex.”

 “Loop!  Can’t you stick to the point?”  It comes out louder than I expect and my voice seems to ring in my ears.  I sneak another glance at Harbinger.  He looks like his eyeballs might explode but he sits there and takes it, jaw clamped shut, arms crossed tight.

Lonagan smiles—a grin with real malice behind it. “Okay, I’ll play along.  Where’d I leave off?”  He leans back and his chair lets out a grinding squeak as he raises his feet to my desk.  “Oh yeah.  Ray gets busy and makes good on a buncha projects for Mr. Big.  Does a real fine job. Model exec.   So he figures, the time’s right, and he pitches that old product he’s in love with one more time.  After all, da guy owns the Tony Company and dis product’s a great fit.   Ray never gives up, see?  Just waits for the right time.”

Lonagan chuckles.  “Dis gets good—Big Shot makes up a survey, right there on the spot.  Sends Ray out to do consumer research.  When Ray comes back, his results are unbelievable—way too good to be true—like batting a thousand.  Ever’body loves dis thing.  All of ‘em do.  Hey, I’d like to invest in it myself!” He licks his lips and rests the tumbler on his belly.  Some whiskey sloshes on his shirt.  “Now, da boss says they’ll form a company.  Ray’s gonna be president and run it.  His boss brings in brand managers from the Tony Company.  Also a muckity-muck from a big ad agency.  Then he goes away on a trip—expects everything’ll be ready when he gets back. So Ray works the team.  Gets a lawyer and draws up the articles of incorporation.  Writes a national plan with the brand managers.  Gets everything buttoned up in three weeks—before the boss comes back—”

“You continue to use zee word ‘boss.’  You again identify Mr. Markman as an employee, not an entrepreneur.”

Lonagan looks at Harbinger out of the corner of his eye, clearly telegraphing an insulting sentiment.  His voice comes out in low sarcastic tones.  “He pitched a product venture, Alex.  He built a management team, made a business plan. Any time my meaning ain’t precise enough, just lemme know, okay?” 

Loop turns back to me.  “Now, Ray’s got ever’thing set for a big meeting. But nobody shows up.  Nobody!  Can you picture that?  Right away, Ray knows somethin’s really wrong.  I mean wrong in a huge way.  Ever’body knows somethin’ he doesn’t—but nobody’s talkin’ to him about it.  It’s what yuh call ‘big corporate office politics.’

“And sure enough, when Big Shot comes back he decides NOT to do da project, even though ever’thing looks great.  Ever’thing’s ready.  Don’t give no reason for it—just dumps the idea.  Maybe somethin’ on his trip made ‘im change his mind.  Maybe he didn’t wanna be in that line o’ business—maybe alotta things—I dunno.  End result, Ray gets stiffed.”

Lonagan swallows more scotch.  “You know as good as I do, after a thing like that a guy’s gotta move on.  Mr. Big offers Ray a position with another one o’ his companies, but Ray says no.  So the long ‘n short of it is he’s outava job, his wife is pregnant with their second kid and he’s stuck with this product nobody’ll fund.  All ‘cause he fell in love with a deal.”

I’ve seldom heard Loop go on that long—at least in a coherent manner—and it takes me a moment to get my thoughts together.

Harbinger is scowling down at Lonagan.  “Can you please come to zee conclusion?”

“Yeah, Loop.  What are you driving at?”

“It’s like I said—da loss don’t get to ‘im—it don’t make ‘im give up—he just starts another company, and he keeps on makin’ companies.  He ain’t got no quit in his body.  If he can’t make one thing fly, he finds another.  There’s plenty other ways to do business.”

Harbinger and I don’t say anything and Lonagan looks from one of us to the other.  “Don’t you guys get it?  Ray knows yuh gotta fail a lot to succeed. He puts his losses behind ‘im.  He knows da right way to fail—with style.”

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Continue to Part 7

Go back to Part 1

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

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Filed under Biography, Characters, Chicago Ventures, Conflict, CORE Insight Story, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Invention

RECOGNIZING OPPORTUNITY

Business Network Chicago

John Jonelis

I’m at the monthly BNC Venture Capital meeting. A number of things bring me to these get-togethers: Well-organized. First class. Efficient format. Limited guest list—just the right size so everybody can grill the presenters. And grill them we do.

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Genecor Trailers and Manufacturing, LLC

Jerry Kurtenbach presenting, Tom Stevenson CEO, Frank Jacquest COO

In anticipation of government regulation, Genecor proposes to make the first ISO certified portable tanks for the natural gas fracturing industry—the first to be manufactured using robotics. The thing I like about this space is the huge demand for tanks and the 6-8 month backlog. It’s a seller’s market.

Picture this: A property lease may run only three years, so when a company sets out to drill they face a time crunch. No frack tanks, no fracking. That means outsized profits for the tank providers and their investors.

Contact Tom Stevenson at tsgeneva@hotmail.com

Full disclosure—I am personally invested in this area with shares in ECA Marcellus Trust. (Ticker ECT)

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Portapure

George Page, CEO

Imagine taking off on a two-week wilderness excursion with one—count it—ONE small and EMPTY water bottle. Fill it and refill it in lakes, rivers, and streams. It filters out dirt, contaminants, even bacteria. No need to carry or cache water. No need to boil water. No need for water purification tablets.

Now take that same product and sell it cheap—way below any water purification product out there. Now bring it to a billion people in Third World countries who have no safe drinking water. That’s what Portapure plans to do.

They will serve NGO organizations, a $20 billion market as well as higher margin markets such as recreational and military. Portapure already boasts pilot projects in Japan, Haiti, Jamaica, and Kenya.

NO DILUTION—Portapure plans no equity financing after the first round. Do you have expertise to offer? Portapure is looking to fill out it’s team.

See their You Tube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPFzj7kbYqc&context=C3041478ADOEgsToPDskJQ3B_ZG8I81fsDI92baLUe

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Gigity.TV

This startup plans to install multiple cameras at music venues and create automatically edited footage broadcast as live streaming Internet content for members. They solve the problem of access to clubs due to capacity restrictions and age limitations.

Initial revenue comes from pay-per-view and advertising. They also archive footage and can monetize it. Bands thirsty for video content can get it as low as $40. Initial plans call for building infrastructure by anchoring 20 high-volume venues.

Do you have expertise to offer? This is a two-person company that needs to build a team. See their website at www.gigity.tv

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Lovendar

Ellona Ferson

I met Ellona between presentations and found her offering highly intriguing. This is a service for married couples that keeps the romance alive by daily suggestions and reminders—a refreshing change from dating services. Her website looks terrific and I think she’s off to a good start.

See if for yourself. www.Lovendar.com

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Go to – TECH MEETS BRICK & MORTAR

Back to – NO MORE PAIN

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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.

© 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved.

4 Comments

Filed under BNC Venture Capital, Events

BNC VENTURE CAPITAL

Business Network ChicagoEverybody Gets Funded

As I heard it—

Do you want to present your company with a 100% certainty of funding? Truck on down to Business Network Chicago’s monthly meetings. The claim is true—technically. It’s a running joke by Len Bland, who hosts these sessions. We vote. The speakers each get a dollar per vote. Hey, that’s hard cash. All joking aside, quite a few companies find funded because of these meetings—some from Venture Capital firms or Angel investors, some from Len’s own Midwest Renaissance Fund.

I dig my summer suit out of storage, skip the tie and stroll over to this month’s meeting. It feels like a soft spring day as I walk to the appointed skyscraper. Sunny, 75, green trees, flowers. Not your typical October in Chicago. There’s so much going on in this city. Why would an investor go anywhere else? Tonight I’ll see three startups each make their pitch. The elevator takes me to the great food, drink, and conversation.

 One Dollar

Patent Law Changed

The advantage of meeting at a law firm like Polsinelli Shughart is the legal updates they provide— gratis.  In case you missed it, US patent law is changed.   The USA has been on a “first to invent” system.  The rest of the world has been “first-to-file.”  Now we join the rest of the mess.  True, it eliminates the need for multiple patent strategies. It might provide better clarity on validity. Patents might issue faster.  But I say we already had it right.  The world is wrong.

CBS Foods, LLC

Are you bored with the usual culinary fare? CBS Foods creates casual gourmet seafood dishes. Tonight Shawn Davis, their CEO, serves up shrimp sandwiches and causes a sensation. This is a quality product—low fat, low cholesterol, high protein, and delicious.  CBS stands for “Chef Big Shake,” a name Davis used on a Shark Tank episode. He introduces himself as a black man that grew up in an Italian family—around great food.

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Silvrspoon

People wait too long at restaurants and bars for their service and bill. A huge gap exists between a restaurant and diners. Silvrspoon plans to become the point-of-sale of the future.  Using a smartphone or tablet app, Silvrspoon enables on-demand ordering at each table. The result? People order more. Service is quicker. Loyalties build. Waitresses don’t work as hard. A restaurants gains more revenue.

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Who’s on Third?

This one’s the latest venture by Kevin Callahan, affectionately known in our circles as the COO’s Bulldog. He’s professional, pugnacious, and ALL Notre Dame. This guy’s an operations guru. Due to a non-disclosure agreement, I can’t talk about his company. You had to be there. This one looks real strong and I rate it a rare 10.

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Contacts

CBS Foods, LLC

Silvrspoon

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Go to – A PRICKLY INTERVIEW

Back to – A CONTRARIAN VC MODEL

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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.

© 2011 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved.

10 Comments

Filed under BNC Venture Capital

FFF Presentation Elevation

John Jonelis

FFF KrakenTonight I’ll see something that could change the world

We’re meeting at Tower Club in the Civic Opera building. The raised-panel walls surround me with the ambience of wealth and the seats are packed with it. I take in the great view above the Chicago River while enjoying the dinner spread.

David Culver, CEO of Extraordinary Success hosts this event to put entrepreneurs in front of investors. Each company gets 10 minutes to present before comments by a panel staffed by Carl Moose of Property Calc Analytics, David Beaseley of Synergy Financial Partners and Ron Kirschner of Hartland Angels. Tonight is the prelude to the big Funding Feeding Frenzy in November. Here’s the story as I see it:

As I heard it –

 

Dr. Harvey Charles-Kaplan  

DoctorInvent@gmail.com  773-484-7731

The most memorable presenter in my recollection wears a rumpled suit and gives his entire talk barefoot. I recall stories of Einstein teaching class in a bathrobe and carpet slippers. No spit and polish–This is an inventor presenting new science—not yet a full-fledged company. As I watch, Dr. Kaplan proceeds to read complex patent verbiage off the screen until somebody with a dose of compassion calls out, “Show the pictures.” Kaplan kindly complies and goes on to explain everything in his own words. Things get hugely interesting. If what he has is real, we are seeing something that will change the world.

A few eyes have already glazed over, but along with many others, I am enthralled as he moves on to show us his mass of overlapping technology. His Kaplan Fibonacci is an entirely new method of generating electric power. It’s passive, requiring no fuel. It creates no pollution. Instead, it cleans the environment. Here’s how it works: Water falls through a spiral, using gravity for energy, creating a vortex under pressures upwards of 1000 psi. That swirling water passes through a magnetic field, eliminating the need for an expensive turbine.

It could double the capacity of hydroelectric plant. In Lake Michigan, it could pump water to the top of the Sears Tower while breaking down toxins in the water and cleaning the lake. At such high speeds and pressures it breaks apart water molecules and as a side efffect, produces hydrogen for automobile fuel cells, or in a water treatment plant, produces marketable methane gas.

With the BP disaster still making an impact, the technology cleans oil spills, transforming the molecules into nutrients that could boost the fish population. It is intended to convert nitrogen from the air into liquid nitrogen.  That freezes an oil leak, stopping its flow.

Dr. Kaplan is pursuing 243 patents pending. His personal credentials don’t fail to impress, with a Harvard degree, medical experience at Mayo, and a career in nuclear. Can this be the real thing? What do you think?

 

Nerve Access, Inc. – Dr. Yaser Maksoud, M.D. University of Illinois

ymaksoud@nerveaccess.com  312-731-4949

NA-135 is the first cure for Alzheimer’s disease. How many new offerings get more important than that? Insulin is a proven cure for the disease but the problem is delivery. Dr. Maksoud uses a novel nasal spray that is absorbed by the brain in 15 minutes without going through the blood stream. This is not a temporary fix or treatment of the symptoms like existing drugs. This is the first cure. In vitro studies show that brain cells regenerate using this treatment. Academic studies project a 67% increase in cognition.

Alzheimer’s is a huge market and big pharma is spending big money to address it. 36MM patients exist worldwide. This is a 7BB market growing to 70BB by 2040. The competition has no effective treatment—all are symptomatic, yet the top competitor brings in 3BB without curing the disease. Dr Maksoud estimates that NA-135 will be worth 500BB once it gets through phase II clinical trials.

I see a lot of testimonials from impressive sources. The project has already received 1.5 MM in Federal grants and Dr. Maksoud has his own skin in the game. Continuing research shows the same treatment addresses Parkinson’s disease and Diabetes. These are huge markets. Dr. Maksoud has several other products in pipeline. His team is made up of an impressive blend of PhDs with business and legal experts. The delivery method is patent pending for formulation and use.

 

ExpoInterface – Nick Henning and Mark Marineck

nickh@expointerface.com   312-208-0930

At 31,000 trade shows each year, people throw away brochures and business cards without reading them. Badges, books, brochures, and maps are costly. Registration lines are long and slow.

ExpoInterface creates a paperless trade show. All information is shared from a centralized cloud repository to mobile devices controlled by the trade show. And everybody gets a mobile device—attendees that don’t own smart phones can rent. The cost to the show is negligible and the system adds revenue.

This is a multi-billion dollar market with five competitors. ExpoInterface management has 30 years’ experience in trade shows and sees future opportunities at sporting events, amusement parks, or anywhere there’s a registration line and a payment transaction. Barrier to entry isn’t huge, making this is a time-to-market play.

 

Silvrspoon – Eugene Revzin

erevzin@silvrcorp.com    847-877-1128

People wait too long at restaurants and bars for their service and bill. A huge gap exists between restaurant and consumer interaction. Silvrspoon plans to become the point-of-sale of the future.

Using a smartphone app, they create convenience to the customers by on-demand ordering at each table. The result? People order more. Service is quicker. Loyalties are built. Rewards programs become interesting. Customers use social media as part of the experience. Waitresses don’t work as hard. Restaurants gain more revenue, see customer feedback and get access to data including inventory, ordering preferences, and facial recognition. When a customer returns, the restaurant has a record of who it is and what was ordered before.  Silvrspoon is already live at four locations, has gained international press, and is featured as one of Chicago’s most interesting startups. One member of the audience volunteered a testimonial of a terrific experience.

This is a subscription-based business model. To drive quick adoption, prices are low to restaurants and free to consumers. The database becomes an asset of the company. The management team is young and diverse.

 

SweetPerk Inc. – Kalan Kircher

kalan@sweetperk.com    614-634-2099

Amazon price checker scans a bar code and gives competitive prices while Google and Amazon provide local data. How does a store remain competitive under that kind of pressure? SweetPerk proposes the LiveLocal.com loyalty programs with a unique identity for each neighborhood. Merchants create a perk that goes live immediately. Customers see it immediately on their iPhone or Android and redeem it. They can “favorite” a merchant and link to Faceboook. Eighty three merchants are already on board.

The system creates multiple revenue streams. A chamber of commerce, merchant association, or city manager can see the dollars spent in a community.

 

What’s Next for FFF?

The upcoming Funding Feeding Frenzy runs for 12 hours starting at 8:30 am 11/2/11. For details, see http://FundingFeedingFrenzy.com  

To experience what it’s like to present, check out http://coreinsightstory.com/my-kraken-encounter  on this site.

That’s what I heard. What did you hear? Your comments are welcome.

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 © 2011 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved.

1 Comment

Filed under FFF