"It's just about learning. So never stop being curious, having grit, and asking lots of questions, those are three top ones I'd probably throw out there."

- Dennis Reich

Dennis outlines what he looks for in a start-up

Talk Takeaways

Jeffery sits down with Dennis Reich as they talk about the many hats Dennis’ wears, what got him started in angel investing, his procedure during due diligence, what he looks for in a startup, his preferred vertical, his preferred terms, the top three things he sees that can help startups succeed and the investment landscape during COVID19.

About

Dr. Reich is a father, physician, entrepreneur, and technology consultant.

Dr. Dennis Reich is involved one a number of innovative companies. Dr. Reich recently joined Aureon Energy as business development officer. This plasma technology has the potential to radically alter power production and radioactive remediation globally. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Activated White Ltd. The polymer capture hydrocarbons (oil) and odours from surfaces, air and water. Dr. Reich recently co-founded Synaptic Systems Inc., a IIOT based company focused on sensor integration in industrial settings.

Dr. Reich is an M.D. with over 20 years of experience in healthcare provision. He established the Primacy Medical Centre in Sudbury which provides medical services to Sudbury’s patient population. Dr. Reich has over 17 years of experience in medical research. He is trained in GCP and is the Principal Investigator for numerous studies through Phase 2-4 studies. He is a researcher, owner and director of Medicor Research Inc. A respected physician leader in his community, he assisted in pandemic planning for H1N1 and now the COVID outbreak by sitting on local planning committees. Dr. Reich is a past president of the Sudbury and District Medical Society and Dr. Reich has been involved in multiple committees including the P5 (Pandemic Portal) committee, the Northern ICT (LHIN Technology) and has been on the e-business advisory committee for the Canadian Pharmacists Association.

Dr. Reich was board secretary of the Northern Ontario Angels and he mentors budding and established entrepreneurs through his involvement with Sudbury’s Regional Innovation Centre, Norcat (RIC). Dr. Reich founded and in 2005, sold Chyma Systems Inc, a leading provider of groupware and scheduling applications. He is on the scientific advisory board for MedX (MDX:CN) and is the scientific advisor for ChronoHeathcare.

Dr. Reich received his Medical Degree from Queen’s University in Kingston and received his family practice degree from University of Ottawa and NOSM. He has a Bachelor in Biochemistry from Laurentian University.

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery:
Welcome everybody for joining us today and as we do, we have Ask an Angel and today we are working with Dennis. So, Dennis before I kind of jump in and start shooting out questions, maybe you can give us a quick intro to yourself; Who you are, where you’re about, where you came from, and what you’re doing now and then we can jump into everything else.

Dennis:
Sure, sure so my name is Dennis Reich. I live in Sudbury Ontario, Canada. I’m a physician, entrepreneur, or entrepreneur physician, and started graduated in 2000 effectively, 1999 and then immediately, you know went into doing practice but at the same time started off with a business I got that you know, in my jeans from my parents uh who came from Italy and started up a shoe store. So, the entrepreneurialism is right there, so we started an app that allowed physicians to schedule online scheduling and trading this was before the cloud was- the cloud we were basically allowing physicians to trade and keeping track of hours and stuff like that which was a big issue back. Then ended up selling that company five years later because we just weren’t getting- we weren’t getting attraction that we wanted to because we were a bit ahead of the curve and in healthcare which you know you learn the hard way that healthcare is way behind on the curve in terms of implementation of technology, so we basically sold that company, you know basically pay back all the investors and ourselves didn’t make a huge amount of money, but we reinvested the money that we did get and started another company with the tech folks that we had it was called “concept share.” We ended up selling that to dell tech a number of years later and then we’ve reinvested again in a company called time hero which is a really cool. Scheduling and all-around task management, project management software that’s on the direct kind of you know, what have i done myself in terms of creating companies and then all throughout that I acted as an investor in other companies encouraging entrepreneurs. I act as a mentor in our local regional innovation center here in Sudbury called Norcat and eventually culminated to being on the board of the northern Ontario angels which is one of the largest angel groups in the world actually in North America. In particular they’re first in deal flow and first in the amount that’s invested which is pretty incredible for a northern Ontario angel fund. So yeah, so I’ve just always been involved in companies and helping companies mentoring companies. You know giving advice where I can so it’s been a great road and doing medical stuff in that as well working with you know, pandemics h1n1 planning, working with the pandemic, plan the portal, so basically back in the day and now with COVID assessment centers, we’re heavily involved in that so it’s a lot of fun. And we’ve got a family, got three kids, living in balmy Sudbury – it’s finally starting to warm up here so I’m gonna enjoy the summer.

Jeffery:
That’s awesome! You almost forgot about the real job that you had. You were talking so much about the exciting startups and you’re like ‘oh yeah and I do run a practice’ and but it’s interesting that when you get into the startup space how exciting it gets, you’re like ‘well we made this company, we sold this’ and then ‘oh yeah I still do this other job but man.’ I really like this start.

Dennis:
Yeah well, that’s why I kind of, you know, I said entrepreneurs slash physician that I love being a physician, it’s great. One of the things that I often tell people is like being a physician it allows me to kind of help and be an instrument for kind of positivity in you know, perhaps two- three thousand people’s lives. An entrepreneur, you have the ability to kind of affect change globally. So, one of the things I started about five years ago was a company called – well it was with a partner who had invented a product. It was a polymer resin that absorbs hydrocarbons so it basically sucks up in water on the ground and in the air so it actually takes ultrafine particulates out of the air and that’s been a challenge but boy like if you could take smog out of the air, that’s something worth spending a bit of your time on and that’s the kind of stuff that just, you know, although I love med – you know I love medicine I love – I just get really inspired by business.

Jeffery:
That’s amazing and that sounds like a pretty cool product as well they’re working on a bunch of stuff in Calgary Alberta where they have these big engines that are sucking in air and cleaning it as well and pushing it out the back side and running it through some tanks. It’s pretty sick too!

Dennis:
That’s the CO2 absorption. That’s incredible – yeah, that’s a hard thing to do you know, we- what we would do is we would actually remove the ultrafine particulates that would clog up those fans so at some point I will give them a call and ‘say hey you know, are you having an issue with this’ because what you want when you’re capturing co2 is you want just the gases you don’t want any ultra fines when you burn diesel and there’s that stuff that you see, that’s actually the biggest stuff. The smallest stuff is stuff you can’t see and in fact some of these engines that the government is kind of you know suggesting with the tier 4 and tier 5 engines. It just chops up those little particulates that don’t get combusted into CO2. Finally, you know into these small little things that cross the blood-brain barrier and they get into your GI system, they cause strokes, they cause heart attacks and GI upset. So, we’re you know it’s a bit of an educational process and both my front and the government side but these kinds of things take time no for-

Jeffery:
Well for sure but a lot of testing, right?

Dennis:
Absolutely

Jeffery:
You’ve got this massive passion for entrepreneurship and as a physician and helping others which is amazing! So, what was the driver that got you into investing because it is a little bit different from helping coaching or working in your practice was it the innovation side? was it just really “I wanted to give back”? and is there a story there that really triggered it all?

Dennis:
Yeah I think you know what was the first, it probably was the activated well it’s been longer than that you know at the end of the day, I just get excited about these companies when somebody’s telling like just you know yourself you’re telling me or the stuff that you’re doing, I’m just intrigued I’m interested and just by showing interest by having some ability to kind of converse on a level that’s both scientific business, personal you tend to get enmeshed in that life and inevitably you know one of the challenges these entrepreneurs have is financing so it’s not a hard job to go from mentoring to saying ‘hey I’ll help you out with a little bit of cash’ and that’ll get you over that hump. And then you know we can you know take this journey together a little bit and so, it’s that’s how it happens you end up just believing in something and wanting to be part of it that’s it in a nutshell. And then you’ll learn, you know there’s no textbook on how to be an angel investor or how to be an investor. You learn usually through the school of hard knocks that you know sometimes there’s this – it’s the people that you want to make sure you invest in, not the idea that they’ve got the right kind of path to success that they don’t over – there’s some of the challenges I’ve experienced is people who believe their product is worth more than it is. You know they got inventoritis, other people who are way too quick to kind of unload, they basically you know, you get a little bit of challenge and then you’re like ‘somebody offers them something,’ you’re like ‘they’re out’ so you don’t really capture the real financial benefit at the end. These are all things you learn as a mentor, as an investor, and that comes with experience. You know a lot of this gray hair on my head is because of that like it’s – and you know, sometimes you know family suffers a little bit and you question why you’re getting involved in so many things, so at the end of the day you have to choose how many investments you want to make in a year, how much time you want to dedicate to this kind of stuff and but again it’s – if it makes – if it’s if you’re passionate about it, it doesn’t take as much energy, right?

Jeffery:
No, for sure and you mentioned a couple of – well a lot of great points there and one that I’ll kind of will jump back into is you talk about a couple things that really make the entrepreneur and make the investment worthwhile and you mentioned that it’s about the CEO and then it’s also about making sure there’s traction, is there – are there a few other things that you might look out when you’re diving into a business and saying ‘you know what if they got the passion the CEOs online and they’ve got the innovation I’m in’ or is there something a little bit more to it?

Dennis:
Yeah, I think I’d probably add to that. You know the market, so you want to make sure that the person the idea and the market are all kind of synergistically moving in the right direction. That said I’ve seen companies that both stuff I’ve invested and not invested in where literally just grit like the CEO grit and that team – that initial founder team they just plow ahead and even in the eye of perhaps some really challenging obstacles like competition, you can succeed and so I don’t like. Although sometimes you know these other things like market and the idea matter- what matters the most is the people or the person that’s going to drive this forward. So gentle probing, sometimes it’s some of the questions like where do you see yourself in the air? where do you see yourself in five years? You know, if they’re telling you that they want to buy a massive yacht in two years, you know, you might gently walk out the door and say goodbye but
you know if they’re realistic and they realize that how much time it’s gonna take, sometimes that’s a challenge too it’s like they think ‘oh no I’m just gonna you know I’m gonna do this two days a week and then I’m good,’ that’s just not enough. You know it’s a dedication that you see just by interacting. Right you ask those questions, so do I look at a balance sheet and kind of make sure no – they know that’s angel investing is not about that. You know I’ve seen people who pretend to be angel investors and treat it like a VC or you know maybe a Series B or later type thing where they’re looking at all these numbers and you’re like ‘what are you doing that’s not angel investing,’ right? And so, it’s a little different then sometimes, you know investors want to really protect their, you know their investments, so they create these special shares and they want to protect themselves against the next two rounds of raise and inevitably that implodes, right? You try and protect yourself too much and the next person says ‘well I don’t know I’m not investing unless you kind of revert to common shares so you expand all this energy trying to protect yourself. And that’s another kind of thing that you know, you got to watch for and then sometimes it’s – anyway you know at the end of the day, it’s you, these are – you could just list them forever because there’s things that you learn as you go.

Jeffery:
And that again all valuable. I like the watchforce side and you’re right when investors come in, they sometimes try to take tackle too much inside of this really early stage business instead of just getting behind them and supporting what they’re doing and all of those are valid. And you’re
right, you really do have to spend some time with the CEO to understand how passionate they are, are they really going to understand this business, are they going to put in the regular 40-hour work week, but then are they going to go above and beyond because they really are so passionate about this that this is – you know their lifeline they want to make this succeed and they’re going to do whatever it takes and those are the people that I almost say they’re crazy and I want to find all the crazy people that own companies. Because they’re the ones that will do whatever it takes to move the needle every day and that’s the part that gets me excited because they’re going to talk to the right people, they’re going to find the right sales leads, they’re going to do all the things, and they’re going to come to their mentors and their coaches and they’re going to ask the right questions. And if they don’t, they’re going to – someone’s going to ask them the right questions and they’re going to figure it out, so it really does a lot of the time come back to that. So in these companies that you’re working with, and you’re diving into, and learning a bit about, is there – on the investment side do you pick a number of companies you want to invest in per year, or do you kind of just go in and ad hoc, or do you have a balance and say ‘this year I’m going to fill my health care portfolio and next year I’m going to work on EdTech,’ like how do you kind of structure? That –

Dennis:
Yeah unfortunately in Sudbury there’s not the plethora of opportunities that probably that present themselves to you so typically it’s kind of what’s in the circle and you know usually you’ll see about a year, 10 a year like through the mentoring shift that I used to do and continue to do my own, you know you’d be presented two or three every, you know month maybe quarter so, you kind of say there are any of these of interest to me and you just pick and choose. And then the other thing is your capacity, right? Is your personal capacity – it’s like what time do you have available? How mature are the ones you’ve invested in the past? It’s kind of like a small version of what you guys are doing you know, you’ve got 16 in your first round that you know, okay you take on any more, it just becomes too onerous and now you’ve got to start a new one. The same thing with individual angel investors like you’ve got a certain capacity and when you start you might take one you know and then the next year you go ‘that was kind of fun you know and you know it’s still going on but they don’t need me so I’ll take on a couple more.’ So you know in terms of where I stand, you know I’m probably five or six, you know I’ve got an extended release, cannabis, a CBD investment that I’ve got you know, the activated white and probably about three or four others the electronics that I mentioned with the concussion, prevention, and rehab and the stroke rehab – those yeah and those are just the top of my head I’ve probably got two or three more that you’ve got but again it’s about capacity.

Jeffery:
Yep and when you look at them do you – because they are doing reinvestments are you also looking at ‘hey maybe there’s something I need to do here and I’ll keep back 30 percent of my dollars and throw that into reinvesting into the companies as well,’ or do you kind of just, ‘you know what I’ve got them off this part I’m going to help coach but I’m going to move into this new company,’ is there a funnel on how you work that?

Dennis:
Yeah usually – yeah again, I say usually there’s no usually, right? It’s about needs it’s about you know because it’s when you sometimes, you invest in a company and then they come back six months later and say ‘I need a little more.’ You start kind of second guessing about why it is that you know what you, your plan that you put them on or kind of suggested or hoped that they would follow doesn’t come to fortune. They’re coming back to you again so then it’s kind of like
‘well why am i being asked again?’ So angel investing sometimes in my mind is like, okay you’re an angel, you’re coming in, you’re offering finances, at a very specific time and you hope by the time they come back to you, that you know they found bigger fish because you know one angel investor and what I’ll typically do is I’ll bring in three or four of my colleague friends who are angel investors as well and usually they’ll rely on due diligence and I do tend to go after the medical companies. The kind of things that I know a little bit about med – medical and sass software type companies the ones I kind of focus on and then most recently I did an interesting energy company it’s a very early company but very cool it’s called “Sapphire” and it’s a plasma kind of company that has a self-contained plasma technology so you know it’s yeah I think at the end of the day you gotta basically ‘I’ll follow on if i feel that there’s a real momentum there. If they’ve stalled, I’ll try and say okay, what have we not done; what are we missing.’

Jeffery:
So it sounds like in this process when you’re diving into this early company and figuring out, I made an investment I’m figuring out how to help them. I may do a reinvestment or not, so you’re kind of – you’re working with them and you’re trying to be as close to them as possible. So, is there in that next stage of investment you’re all in, are there certain things you look for in the dd side that you want? is it on the paperwork side? Are there different terms you don’t like certain vehicles that they might want to go in on? like are there certain things that you try to shape yourself just to make sure that it’s comfort for both sides because you’re coming from a different angle right you’ve been a startup before –

Dennis:
Yeah

Jeffery:
– Companies, so you kind of know the right thing and the wrong things that you want to stick away from and some of those startups may not know that. So, do you really try to take a hold of that and really help them, guide them through that?

Dennis:
Again it’s the maturity of the company. Another company I invested in is called “Bear Technologies” that got some technology from Germany and it’s an iiot play. You know early on I had colleagues that said ‘you know your model because if you’re gonna go try and attack the iiot in the mining sector you can’t go after a per ping licensing model.’ You can’t ask a mine to pay for the product once they’ve installed it. Mines tend to feel like I bought the asset I control it and so you know they took the advice. Did they follow it? Not necessarily but you know when the traction wasn’t really coming, you’re kind of like well you know all you can do is advise right and you know, what’s happened now is they’ve gone on and taken on massive investment right? So, the due diligence was on a broader sector for example iot within um centers of cities like Toronto for example right, so now you can start doing things like building, monitoring, and parking stuff so it’s like – it almost happens on its own you know that advice we’re not doing a
ton in mining, we’re doing a ton in building management. And maintenance right but also – so you’ve trusted those the CEO and the team to pivot when it’s necessary and so all you could do is advise. You know otherwise, you may as well take on the hat and be a director or be you know one of the sea level suite kind of folks that work for the company if you become too emotionally involved on that level. You burn out way too fast you – so when you when you invest in an angel, you kind of hope you know, because not all of them are going to turn out to be winners and you know the ratios, right? How many you have to invest in before you get a return and a lot of that is that right? if it’s crazy because if it was a perfect formula it would be easy but it’s really hard.

Jeffery:
No, it very much is and the closer you get, the more passionate you get and the more you probably want to, you know shake your head and think man ‘it seems so easy out here.’

Dennis:
no it’s hard

Jeffery:
It’s totally different so it’s good, there’s good people like yourself that are trying to help coach them and use their experience to help them alleviate some of those problems because they do come up too fast. And sometimes they don’t talk about it enough and then obviously there can be other catastrophes that occur and then it’s too hard to get to catch the company and it’s gone, right?

Dennis:
Absolutely. But again, the biggest thing that I constantly repeat to these entrepreneurs and to these folks that I’m mentoring into the investments that I’ve made is ‘stick with it’ you know like oh god like for example, that very first company that made that, did the software for the physicians, right? To me it made total another sense right even the oma had sent around people to do a review of companies that had similar technologies and they said ‘yeah yours is perfect’ you know I don’t know why they’re not using it. And it was just so frustrating and so we sold right we saw somebody came along and saw the vision they literally – this was in 2005 it is now 2020, they are still using the same technology without changing a line of code, right? And they’ve been milking it and slow not a ton of sales activities in it like they just kept on building slow clients and now it’s long in the tooth, right? New technologies are coming in but it really made me realize like ‘okay hang on,’ sometimes you know you’re just a little early to kind of give up on something and it takes time. And most entrepreneurs do tend to be in that front end of the curve right and that’s why they’re aiming, that’s why they’re entrepreneurs so you sometimes gotta be patient and make sure you don’t burn out that financing and that capital too quickly, right? You got to really build up the product, choose when you’re going to market it, choose how
you’re going to market it, and be smart about stuff like that.

Jeffery:
No, I like that those are all good like for the burnout and the capital and manager your deal flow. Oh sorry, managing your burn rate like just trying to balance everything out but still being able to knock off product development and I think the biggest piece that i have that I push with startups all the time is that, you can build the best car the best boat the best house, the best everything, but if you can’t figure out a way to sell it, you’re never going to get rid of it and you’re going to be stuck with that piece that you thought was the best because you didn’t have a client that was backing you from the beginning. So, you really got to take that understanding get it out to market right away and just take a piece of it doesn’t have to be the whole thing and just test it. And test it again and get 10 more clients and test it with them and I heard today with – I had a pitch that was from – was it Estonia or Russia? I can’t remember which one because talking with different ones and they said our first five clients we sold them lifetime membership into their product and I was like ‘oh never heard that before that sounds weird’ but they paid for it up in advance so they ended up getting their first clients. And their first clients paid for half a million dollars into their thing into their platform but they can use it forever and I was like ‘well that’s kind of fascinating’ because as that company grows it’s gonna cost you a lot of money but right now, you need that money and that’s helping you grow so I was like ‘as much as I think that’s odd, I’m like, that’s actually not a bad deal.’

Dennis:
You know that said, kudos to them because how you find a big company that’s willing to uh to pay up front for a product when it’s just starting is – it’s hard you know, right so –

Jeffery:
It’s solving a big problem for them so it’s got to be enough of a problem that they’re solving that they’re willing to part with that to help that company stay in business, right?

Dennis:
Perfect! Yeah did you invest in them?

Jeffery:
We just chatted today. It was our first time.

Dennis:
Give me the name later. (laughs)

Jeffery:
Here we go but it’s still pretty fascinating so –

Dennis:
Absolutely.

Jeffery:
So now you’ve kind of gone through the dd you’re learning more about this company you’re really enthralled in. Everything they’re doing, your help and support, do you lead rounds? Do you try to help lead rounds or do you kind of just participate with the groups that you’re in to help these companies move forward?

Dennis:
No, well, I’ll lead rounds. I’ll try and bring in a bunch of investors; I’ve done that probably three times in the last 10 years. You know the problem with leading rounds is you’re leveraging your credibility, right? Your people are coming in sometimes large amounts and yeah they’re asking you questions, so you always you always have to say look do your own due diligence and stuff like that but at the end of the day a lot of the people that do come in after you are – they get to know you, they trust you, and so it’s almost like now it’s like some of that pressure has come off the CEO or the marketing team, right? They’re not the marketing the founders and yeah so I’ll do that. It’s not something I love, it’s – I’d much rather be a follower and jump on somebody else’s work but yeah I’ll do that now with it.

Jeffery:
That’s interesting, you say that because the stress of making this investment and then you’re investing in everything to do with this company and you’re hoping that other people see what you see and the stress of hoping that everybody does follow along or jumps in as a lead it is always very tough but I’ve also learned that i saw this maybe two years ago in a video and it was Arnold Schwarzenegger and it was fluffy the comedian and he said ‘i went to this uh comic-con just to meet him and he’s got a big lineup to beat Arnold Schwarzenegger,’ so he’s like I’m waiting in line and this guy’s seeing thousands of people and he’s like ‘i don’t know how he does it but he has this calm demeanor.’ He’s having a conversation with everybody and I was like ‘wow that’s pretty cool’ he’s like all he did he’s a handler right behind him, and the handler would basically be counting seconds and he would be like okay the conversation’s done and he’d just tap Arnold on the shoulder and Arnold will be like ‘hey it was amazing to meet you,’ shake his hand and the guy would move on. And he’s like ‘i thought that was amazing like he never felt anything bad he’d just cut the conversation off, reach out to my specialist or do this but he had all the right lines and that person always felt comfortable.’ So i kind of look at investing in the same spaces that I have to move on from the investment I’m going to support them all the way but I got to know in my mind that I made the right choice I got behind them and I can’t stop from that. I’m on to the next thing but that was the right choice so i got to get people to get behind me on that choice and then I’ve got to move on so back and fall on the thing and say ‘oh i shouldn’t have done that.’ You really have to go with the punches and just keep rolling along.

Dennis:
I like that a lot Jeff and it really makes me think about uh process and how having the good process takes away a lot of the fatigue and a lot of the unnecessary energy so the things that you find is OPN that works, making sure that becomes part of your process having that person behind you tapping on the shoulder and going ‘okay,’ it’s you know time to move on you’re like ‘okay got it,’ you know so you’re allowed to do what you’re good at and allow that process to kind of drive the time element of it all which is kind of cool.

Jeffery:
Yeah and it does it really helps and it takes a lot of your head so you don’t have to stress about everything so much of that we don’t need.

Dennis:
Makes me think of time hero, did you look at that yet?

Jeffery:
I actually – I’ve written it down and I keep pushing the calendar so tomorrow is my open day so I’m going to look at it.

Dennis:
There you go time hero doesn’t let you push things ahead it does it for you. (laughs) I’m teasing only teasing. It’s good have a look

Jeffery:
I’m going to because we have a product that I think might fit nicely into that so on the investment side and we just briefly touched to it, do you have any specific terms you like, like preferred shares, common shares? Are you okay with safes or do you just kind of go with the flow at that point in time as long as you’ve got a good investment cap amount or whatnot, you’re okay and you’ll just take whatever those are because you know it’s gonna convert?

Dennis:
Yeah like I just did a safe with that energy company and it’s at a 20 percent discount to the next round because they just need to get things fired up again. It sometimes it’s about what makes the most sense in terms of time, sometimes in terms of money. Some of these investment vehicles can be expensive, you got to get you know an entire legal firm behind it. I’m fine with commons prefers like unless there’s a real mature model there, some of these preferred shares as i mentioned earlier tend to complicate future rounds and stuff like that and everybody always wants to look under the hood and feel like, no we’re just we’re all common right now. You know, so each case is unique and so you try and structure it um in the best way in the quickest way possible.

Jeffery:
No that’s perfect. On that side of it because you do really like to get in with that company and work tight with them, do you take board seats?

Dennis:
I do yeah I will take board seats and again sometimes that means you know you’re committing time, right? And so you have to choose when you’re doing it, but I’ll take board seats like I’m on the board of Medex which is a publicly traded company, right? and I love that these guys are doing scanning of moles for melanoma utilizing five different wavelengths of light so they’re looking under the skin two millimeters and they just like they just did a deal in Brazil, some good stuff coming so I – and giving them medic like so that would be more of an advisory board role. That one but you know I’ll take board seats if that makes sense yeah.

Jeffery:
Oh that’s awesome! All right, is there while you’re kind of you know choosing between all these different ways to invest vehicles that if you’re going to be part of the board or advisors, is there a piece where I – you say, you know what it’s not about the money, there’s some other things I can do to help you guys and i don’t know if that’s introductions or getting them in front of bigger consortiums, you’re in the medical field so, will you bring their product in and test it? like are there other things that you can really go above and beyond with and you bring that extra value to the to the startups you work with?

Dennis:
Yeah no absolutely, like you know I’ll advise especially on the medical side, that’s i think- that’s the biggest thing like I’m finding that healthcare is a bit backwards like everybody always comes in, patients come in, and they’re like ‘so can you pull up my lab results that I had done? you know last week for another doctor?’ and like no like everybody expects everything to be connected today and you know after 15 years of you know Canada health infoway where
they’re spending a billion dollars a year on connectedness right we’re just starting to see kind of the benefits of this massive investment. So one of the things I – when and I don’t want to be negative to people who really want to make a change in health care, but you always you always see those startups like ‘I’m going to make an EMR medical record that everybody uses,’ right? or ‘I’m going to put it on this little card that people will carry around with them’ or ‘I’ll do this now but
like google tried it as well,’ right? And they’re the biggest company in the world, like this is not something that you know, so you can be entrepreneurial minded but you’re like you’re not gonna climb Mount Kilimanjaro tomorrow right like start off with something smaller. So sometimes, the advice is about you know okay let’s take a breather, let’s start, let’s really figure out what resources you have available to you, how hard it is to penetrate some of these markets, and it’s not i don’t find it’s being negative, I find it’s more being realistic, right? and then letting them run because sometimes even though you give them that advice, they’re still going to do what they’re going to do. I don’t choose to invest obviously right but so sometimes it’s about deflating the balloon a little bit sometimes it’s about giving a little bit of a realistic nudge in a certain direction and then letting people make their own decisions. So sometimes the bad, not bad advice the negative or the more realistic advice of, this isn’t a good idea is more of a help than cash or time or anything it’s just – it’s a really – but and again it’s one person’s advice right but – and you know you always hear about these people that he said it wouldn’t work and you know, look what I did, and sure she said it wouldn’t work and look what I did. You know great, you think can prove me wrong but you know that’s why you know we’re older and we have more experience and why you have to listen to mentors, right?

Jeffery:
Well, if it takes 12 touch points to close somebody on buying your product maybe you need to take 12 points of jabbing them with little hints and information to get them to convert into your model, so that might be a way to get them to move over but sometimes everybody has their own passions and you can feed it, and they can morph it and hopefully they do morph it, because a lot of the times it’s too direct and maybe they don’t see that they’re going to fail because they assume everybody wants what they have.

Dennis:
Right.

Jeffery:
Why is it the take on that is a thousand times harder and people all have egos so you kind of have to figure out how to work with everybody to get into that space, right?

Dennis:
Exactly right yeah.

Jeffery:
So in the markets right now, we’re all going through COVID. It’s been a real crazy last three months and it seems to be not settling down in any way. Have you seen a change in the investment vehicles of people on your side more in the north i guess and even around here? Are you finding that they’re yourself has shifted, you’re pulling back on investments, or are you saying you know what, there’s some great opportunities just keep plowing forward?

Dennis:
Yeah I think it’d be interesting to know everybody’s experience on that one but I my own experience is that it’s like stalled, right? Like no nobody knows what the markets are going to do, I’m amazed at the tenacity or the way that the markets have been able to hold on to what’s occurring and yet I’m still cautious like I’m very cautious because it’s risky, it’s right now the global economy, everything’s happening in the states, COVID and yet in the last I’d say three weeks, Jeff I’ve seen things moving, starting to move again and i don’t know what the sentiment is i don’t know when that decision is made to say okay I’m good to invest but I’m feeling it too now I’m feeling where I’m feeling more optimistic and I’m opening up dialogues about investing again so it’s an interesting thing like if you know a socio economist. Economist would probably have some insights that might say why this happens, you know, but I’m still shocked at the state of the economy and in terms of the markets themselves and how they just are resistant to any kind of downward pressure at all. I just – it makes no sense to me but here we are with the market still still moving.

Jeffery:
For sure there’s one – there was one big bang and then the next day everybody was like ‘what happened? ah it’s gone,’ oh yeah exactly the rest of the market’s kind of slowed for a little bit and you’re right everybody’s kind of – the pace has really changed as soon, as they opened up the storefronts, the pace just started to pick back up and the city’s hustling and booming again. Construction’s in the way but everything is moving and I think that’s kind of the pace is. You know what man, I took a break and now i need to move forward because I miss what I was doing or whatever it might be but I get interested.

Dennis:
Exactly so you know I think we’re gonna have a great summer as a physician I’m a bit concerned about the fall. Obviously with flu coming and the potential for a second wave but I think if we keep testing and we keep watching and we keep social distancing we’ll get this past us and you know I see a lot of people out there who are you know, believe there’s some kind of a conspiracy theories out there that I try and kind of allay but you know at the end of the day, you’re right things are moving again. Things are happening so that’s great.

Jeffery:
Optimistic and energy man! We all like the good energy so-

Dennis:
Absolutely.

Jeffery:
We’re kind of getting down to our last couple questions so before I – we jump into the crystal ball the question and i want to throw at you, if you take all the companies that you’ve invested in all the companies you’ve worked with, is there an underlying one or two items or things that really stand out to you that you would want everybody, every entrepreneur to know that you know, write this on your wall, envision it, live it, breathe it, push it, this is the thing that’s going to help you be successful, is there something that you can kind of denote as one of those top three things or one thing that you might want to share with the audience?

Dennis:
In terms of life lessons I’d say grit, so that’s the tenacity, the belief in yourself that get up in the morning and get stuff done, talk to people, don’t let tissue paper stop you. You know what I mean if it’s just it’s that grit, right? And then probably on a broader level you know things like uh reading a lot, broadening your horizons, understanding people, you know Dale Carnegie’s, “You Know Winning Friends and Influencing People,” a highly recommended book as an entrepreneur. When you meet people, when you meet mentors, make sure you say to them ‘you know what book really inspired?’ You know what I mean one of the first books that on entrepreneurialism that I read and I sometimes still recommend to entrepreneurs is the Emif you know these are classics from you know and I’m sure you could probably name five or six as well. It’s just about learning. So never stop being curious, having grit, and asking lots of questions, those are three top ones I’d probably throw out there

Jeffery:
I like that. 100 percent ask a lot of questions, you know they showed that in statistic-wise that when you’re going through school, the school system is created to funnel you down to be good at one thing not two, one and while you’re funneling down to learn that your abilities to ask questions shift. So you go from asking a lot of questions as a kid to asking very few questions so by the time you leave university, you’re a marketer or you are a business person and your
questionability has shifted. So what happens is that your creativity levels drop dramatically so because you can’t envision yourself in other areas because your focus went to one area-

Dennis:
That’s right.

Jeffery:
With that creativity level going and you’re questioning, you’re – it slows down so much so they try to say that you know people that are in arts tend to have more questions because they’re more broad and they’re open to do that so i think in a way if you can get people to always think that i got asked questions about everything, if something doesn’t make sense ask question. Talk about it do everything you can because that’s what’s really important for you not to build – just to build a company but to associate, communicate, and all of those things, ask questions and that creates change –

Dennis:
That’s exactly right.

Jeffery:
Because exactly you don’t get an answer to you’re gonna be like I’m fixing this, this doesn’t make sense, that’s exactly right, perfect, love it, that’s exactly a big philosophy and it sounds like it reflects back from what you’re saying exactly right, yeah.

Jeffery:
For sure, so now we’re gonna – got to go into the grit the real dirty stuff here but I want to hear a really cool story of a startup or business that you were part of something that you want to leave as an awesome story that came from nothing to something big that was really exciting that you think that if someone heard they’re going to be like ‘that’s amazing’?

Dennis:
Oh god

Jeffery:
Because I always love an amazing story so I’m kind of like – I got to find an amazing story could be your first investment. It could be your first company it could be anything.

Dennis:
There’s a few that I think of and I – my tendencies always go to the ones that didn’t work. I – you know what i probably I’ll tell a story that is a bit more sciency because I’m intrigued by science and I’m always intrigued by you know kind of the if you’re not sure about something keep digging at it and keep looking for, like so one of the things about this product is this activated white which I’m still very passionate about, the polymer resin is made in a not a very common way so it’s very hard to reverse engineer. And we had a challenge so the mind said ‘look we’ve tested your stuff we love it we think it’s great it absorbs 70 times its weight in oil but when you put it into these pads we’re detecting a little bit of a gas that we can’t have underground.’ It falls above a certain level and I’m like ‘oh god’ so we were taken aback. We, our team, we had at the time, we had six people we were floored we’re like ‘this is it we’re done you know we this – we had really put a good years work and effort into this,’ and something in me kind of said doesn’t something’s not right, it doesn’t make sense and so I’m carrying this stuff and we actually bought our own detector because we didn’t believe it right. I won’t get into too much of the details but I’m at the clinic and I’m at the medical clinic and i brought this stuff in my office and sure enough it’s reading that it’s high right I’m like you know it’s like maybe we are done so I’m carrying this thing I’m walking down the hall away from the office that has the activated light in it and I pass by this room and all of a sudden it goes ballistic like it’s way off the charts and I’m like ‘well we don’t have this gas in our in our clinic what’s going on?’ you know what i mean so in the process of kind of walking by this room and honing in with this little detector, it turns out the isopropyl alcohol, the rubbing alcohol we use in procedures was firing off this detector. So I’m like ‘whoa that’s weird’ so I and – so I had remembered we had done some testing on this stuff and this gas was actually found as a small measure of this stuff. So anyway bottom line is that the detector cross references about three different gases and this other gas was one of them and it’s not harmful right so just that by luck right we’re walking down the hall, and I happen to be at the clinic walking with this detector, the number of things that had to go right or wrong to actually have that problem solved, and have the company not fold up, and go home was like one in a million. You know what i mean so it’s like i guess what I’m saying is like even in the most desperate hours, like you can’t give up as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to keep going because you never know where something’s going to turn right, right even when three or four things might be going wrong. So it’s not like a you know, i can tell you other stories about beginning and end but I just – that one sticks out my mind that’s like I and I’m an eternal optimist like i will find that one little sliver of light in a very dark room and i was ready to pack it in, and it’s just like ‘wow you know like okay thanks for kicking in the ass and reminding me what what it’s about to be an entrepreneur.’

Jeffery:
That’s amazing and I think a lot of entrepreneurs probably have that you call the ‘AHA’
moment but it’s that last minute I’m on the brink of destruction, I’ve had enough I can’t do it, I can’t solve it, turn a corner, and you can go left and fail, or you can go right and you just make that right turn. And all of a sudden bam it’s right in front of your face and if you’re not open-minded to see it, it’s gonna pass you by-

Dennis:
That’s right

Jeffery:
And it obviously looked like you were pretty open-minded to it and you started to ask questions, ‘wait a second you shouldn’t be doing this or why did this happen?’

Dennis:
That’s right

Jeffery:
Boom you came up with a great story, so that’s awesome!

Dennis:
Yeah and that’s why that grit you know, that tenacity don’t give up because those kind of things happen all the time like the number of times, I’m sure you met the number of entrepreneurs that are right at the wit’s end. They got nothing left they’re working on fumes, they’re eating crap dinner, and sure enough something happens. So yeah, okay you know it’s I always say it’s like it’s not being an entrepreneur is a bit of a curse, right? It’s great you’re passionate about stuff but got to be so much easier, just to know that you want to be a you know an optician and just do that, right? It’d be so much easier, so yeah or whatever you know.

Jeffery:
You’re like if i just took this job, I’d have vacation like everybody else. I’d do all these things
and you’re like no I did do that and I didn’t do it then either what the hell.

Dennis:
That’s right yeah, that’s exactly right and then you’re looking for you know that story of the fisherman who’s sitting by the boat right near the businessman comes by and says ‘hey why don’t you like take on five more boats’ and at the end you know the story goes where he says ‘well then what I would do well then you’d have enough money to just sit around the boat and and relax all day,’ you know he’s like ‘I’m already doing that,’ why would I you know so it is, it does seem kind of like a fruitless endeavor but it’s what drives us so yeah.

Jeffery:
Exactly that’s the excitement all right, so last kind of question we’re gonna jump into is the crystal ball, so where do you see the next 12 months in the environment that we’re currently in? what do you think is going to be the most investable areas, places that you’re looking into and then where do you see all of this netting out in three years?

Dennis:
What’s interesting to me is this cryptocurrencies, I don’t understand it, makes no sense to me. You know these precious metals are something that i keep looking at and saying you know with the fiat currently, inflating, and a limited amount of silver and gold out there, I’m just using those two as an example, those prices should be going up they’re not so on a financial side, I do see some risks in terms of the amount of liquidity that’s been put into the markets. So there’s that risk but at the same time so if you’re going to allocate those finances to certain things like healthcare is huge it’s seeing its heyday now with respect to a lot of these technologies that are coming in. Biotech, you know biologics are huge understanding of the human body to a level that’s never been known before. Like look at these vaccines right they’re talking about 124 candidates for the COVID vaccine within you know a sp a time frame that was unheard of before and it’s because a lot of these these AI technologies and stuff like that, allows you to do protein mapping and things like that. So that’s wide open, that’s huge um I see healthcare being a good one, so you got to be really smart in that one because there’s lots of opportunities the cryptos, I stay away from because I don’t quite understand them. What else, energy is going to be huge. Solar and wind but also some of these new low energy nuclear reaction type things where we’re starting to get a better understanding of well Ponzi Fleischmann was you know a while ago and you know they were kind of discredited in a sense but there’s been a a slow trickle of companies and people that have been still working with it and are finding some pretty cool, you know, not over parity but kind of energy generating kind of cool things. So I find that interesting that’s more the three to five year route, stay the course just keep watching there’s really cool technologies out there, there’s really cool companies. You know sas and its services with distance applications of business, now those are really cool. There’s gonna be huge growth in those so I’m watching those as well yeah so i don’t know that’s the little smell I could probably talk about for a while but those are those are things that I’m watching. With a a pinch of caution knowing that the economy could turn quickly I never try and time it but you know I’m cognizant of the fact that we are overspending and I’m a bit concerned about that.

Jeffery:
Yeah that’s a good point there, we talked about it earlier on there, is a bit of who knows what’s going on but I’m just going to spend my way through it, so hopefully people are prepared for that but i do really agree that the biotech healthcare and energy sectors they’re really, I wouldn’t say they’re ripe for breaking open because they’ve already been picked apart and lots happening in them but it just continues to get better and better every day. So I think that’s certainly a space for people to look into so I love that, that’s great

Dennis:
What – just out of curiosity, I’ll ask you the question back like what do you see as you know maybe two zone, two areas that you’re looking at that might not be those ones, is there anything that you’re you’re watching?

Jeffery:
You know what’s interesting is that, when we create open people network it was because i found that everybody was trying to build the same things and that there was never any collaboration and it was tough to get into these other sectors. So bio attacks and agri-tech like there was all these areas that weren’t really being opened up and now every area seems to be but I’m still getting surprised by areas that you’ve never even heard of that people are coming up with startups and those are the ones that interest me because it’s different so i don’t need another restaurant app, I don’t need another, sales force like everybody’s now coming in to compete against the big players, which is fine it still can be a business that can still make money. And they can still get picked up but there’s so many areas that have not even been explored yet and it’s because you don’t have somebody that has 10-year, 20-year tenure in these places that are thinking like an entrepreneur and i think that as we start to get out into the field and we start to talk about this more and we have larger conferences and we’re saying to people, ‘hey you got to think outside the box you really got to start thinking,’ and i say this to what I’m teaching a class I’ll say to the students ‘I’ll say you know like one of the things that we do is this was years ago that would happen but when you looked at Loblaws, it’s a big massive ship but inside of it, are small businesses running under one umbrella and those what businesses aren’t all, running efficiently or effectively, so you could pull one out and rebuild it. So what if we create a delivery system and it would be pick up at store, it doesn’t happen but I’m in a condo building and I’m going to flyer the hell out of this and I’m going to tell everybody that I’m going to do all their groceries and I’m going to bring them in on a truck and drop them off and put it in their place. And that’s how I’m going to start my business and by the time I’m done in three years, I’m going to have every condo in the next 25 kilometers and I’m going to be doing everybody’s groceries well Loblaws is going to say we don’t have that so they’re going to want to buy you because they have a small portion and they’re delivering sporadically all over but they don’t have the impact that you do. So you have to try to train your mind to say that I’ve got something and I can rip it apart, but as an entrepreneur I don’t always think like that because if you’re not one, you’re just thinking business every day I do XYZ and I’m done.

Dennis:
Right

Jeffery:
Well you think about that little problem that you think is nothing you just saw might be a little problem for everybody

Dennis:
Right

Jeffery:
And if you’re in biomechanics or you’re as a physician, that little thing you may not think of just a little snip and if you have this built onto those clampers, you could have changed the world but you don’t think of it because you just made a little duct tape change well that actually could have been the most innovative change that surge – surgeons needed but because your brain isn’t trained to think that way. You oversee a million opportunities and i think the world just needs to take a step back, ask more questions, and start to think more of what little thing that I just do differently today. Could I turn into a business and I think you’re going to see a lot more people starting to do that and there’s a great podcast that was done by oh my god on the spot now I’m gonna forget the name but basically they say that the whole world ha people have been creating problems, and during COVID they’ll spend more time sitting at home solving little problems that they’ve been doing forever. They’ll build some duct tape mechanism and they’ll never turn it into anything outside of that but that could be a billion dollar product and then they go in and they say you know the first mountain bike, they didn’t just start building mountain bikes it was a bike and somebody said in bc this isn’t working right so he created the bike and he said man this is terrible and he put some shocks on it and then he changed the seat and then all of a sudden people like ‘I want one of those’ and they were like ‘what do you want man? This is just a hack job.’ and they’re like ‘no man that is a sick bike’ and then they built the mountain bike. So it’s in your mind it’s saying how do i question what I’m doing and turn it into something better. Yeah and a lot of the time people just don’t have the equipment to do it and how do we get people more equipped to think that way

Dennis:
That’s fascinating and it’s how do we when they don’t have the ability to do it themselves right so, for example there’s a really cool I never invested in it but it was this lady who used to do working gardens all the time and used to clip buds and do different things she always had these these things her fingers so she actually developed these little things you put on your fingers and it just clips and it’s such a simple little thing and it did well like she’s doing really well obviously, getting some copycats now and stuff like that but you’re right. And so, is there a way that a company like OPN because there’s the ideas but then the people right and sometimes you’ve got a great idea but the wrong person so it’s i don’t know if there’s going to be a technology that that bridges that gap where it’s like okay you got a great idea but you know what you’re going to have to do this to let that idea go because you’re just not the right person. So that’s fascinating i hear you so and that’s been happening all the time right. It’s just now that people have time and are perhaps jobless they might be able to capitalize on those things i like it.

Jeffery:
Yeah big time and it does happen more because and you know and it could be just a job you’ve been doing for 20 years and you didn’t realize that the efficiency you built into that job role –

Dennis:
Yeah

Jeffery:
Could actually change the role for thousands of people around the world because you don’t look at it that way you just looked at it that you were doing a job and you know, you save the students like you’re working in retail and you’ll say that someone returned a clothing item he took it back and he threw it back here and i was like and they would say ‘oh i hate my job’ and i said ‘well why do you hate your job?’ ‘well because all i do is take a return throw in a bucket and i leave and i just don’t like this.’ I said ‘well why don’t you think of ways to be innovative like find something that makes it more efficient?’ ‘well what do you mean?’ well i said ‘well maybe you can scan the tag and maybe you can do this and maybe build this in and then their brain starts thinking, ‘yeah i never thought of that,’ well it’s because you’re taking everything as a job and you’re not doing it as ‘how can i innovate this job and make it better and how can i make it speedy faster’ and maybe that’ll make more money for someone and that was my whole mindset every job i went into. I would always go in and question it i’d be like ‘well why am i doing it this way,’ ‘let’s do it this way,’ yeah and they would all get mad at me don’t change process this is wrong and i’ll be like no but what you’re doing is ass backwards

Dennis:
Yeah there’s a theory that entrepreneurs are slightly lazy too so they’re always looking to cut corners and figure out better ways right.

Jeffery:
Yeah

Dennis:
So i would concur and i feel that every day as well like there’s got to be a better way
and it’s probably one of the reasons i don’t do medicine all the time because it is probably one of the most inefficient things i’ve ever been part of. So but you’re exactly right and finding those better ways and questioning is key so coming back to the thing we said earlier, question, never stop being curious, never stop asking questions.

Jeffery:
No, not at all and I 100 percent – thousand percent agree to that man and I consume probably I don’t even know eight to 12-15 hours of content a day I just cannot handle not taking in content to learn because if I’m gonna help a startup, I gotta know every angle somehow, somewhere, and I question everything and I question the startup. I don’t care what they have to say I’m like this is how you think it’s gonna work what about this and this and they’re just like shit and because my brain just runs so fast and it just can’t handle inefficiencies, I want to do something once right

Dennis:
Yeah

Jeffery:
Not seven times, so i think in time people are going to start to think that there’s a there’s a more effective way to do something but it always happens when they’re enthralled in something but how do you do it so that it just happens to make sense? Everywhere i am why am i stopping at this light when there’s no cars miles away, why can’t i just blow through the system should know this and you start to question it and maybe you say you know what i could build a sensor that would actually work with i did put this together a license plate we all have license plates we put a unique identifier and it connects to the light now that traps all the information so as i’m driving it’s notifying the street all the way up a mile away knows where i’m going based on my app and it’s already telling me that there’s only four cars coming the light changes to accommodate me going through now you’ve got throughput for traffic all of this is done because you’ve got a tag on your license plate. Boom, we all have them every car has one all around the world and now you’ve got a way to control and manage traffic flow, so it’s really just questioning everything that’s running and saying i can make this work so much easier if i did x or i went in and now you got the egos you got to fight against but at the end of the day-

Dennis:
Yeah

Jeffery:
-still create something and move forward so

Dennis:
100 percent

Jeffery:
Anyways that was awesome man. I know i’m gonna get to really dive into stuff and talk but this is brilliant! I love it.

Dennis:
Awesome

Jeffery:
Conversation we should just do this every week in a podcast (laughs)

Dennis:
I love it! Just to make sure we have a beer or something with us and –

Jeffery:
Exactly

Dennis:
Awesome jeff thank you again and i do look forward to chatting with you more on some of these other things as well. You know that i really regardless of what happens with time hero and you know there’s always this thing right because you know stuff about the stuff you’ve invested in and so it comes across sometimes cheesy because you mention it – because it’s like you’re just mentioning because you’re invested, no i’m mentioning because i really do think it’s really cool right so i do want to sit in on that meeting. And just get your feedback on that because you know when when you see inefficiencies, one of the things for example the reason i really liked it and the reason i invested in it originally was i came back. I lived in the british virgin odds for four years from 2010 to 2014. I just sold my clinic, sold my house, my kids and every we just we just took off and just said let’s just you know, let’s have a you know a midlife retirement and so we did, we went there, had a great time my brother lives here. He’s a chartered accountant and acts as a director for offshore companies and so his kids are the same age as my kids. They went to school together it was fantastic but i went and when i got back you know i expected that scotiabank rose with would be you know i my visa had expired and i just like kind of said ‘okay well,’ you know can you – the tech emailed my banker and say can you can you send me a new visa and it didn’t get a response. think you know that’s – that it’s weird but anyway you know a month went by and i’m like i got bills to pay my visa is expired what’s going on? so i fire off another email, no response and long story short you know three months later can the patient die no visa they keep saying it’s been sent they have the wrong address but the guy had been had left scotiabank about eight months earlier and there was no process at scotiabank to basically send an email. Out to all their clients to say this is your new person or you know a transfer of clients to this news and i’m like a bank scotiabank – these processes should be built in from day one, so because i was so angry i switched i and to this day i’m with td. They lost a really good customer because they didn’t have good processes right and the guy that was my banker ended up moving to a different department and i was back doing what it was before and he’s like ‘john i’d love to have you back’ i’m like ‘dude like i now i’m committed and just you know and this kind of stuff but it time hero and the software is effectively just that it’s like you know, there’s a triggering event. Somebody moves the next event is all everyone that’s in this client list gets emailed the thing it’s part of the process, right? New customer, new person takes his place the first job is email all his clients and say you know the person then there’s a touch point a month later say i haven’t heard from you. You know i’m the new person i just want to make sure you got the email and so these things become embedded within your organization repeating processes are done all the time in every company and there is no process, there’s no guy tapping on the back of Arnold Schwarzenegger and time hero is that tool it allows you to take it and tweak the processes over time. So if something’s no longer working for you you can now say change the 14th step which is you know give him a make sure he’s got a mouse pad on his new desk for a new hire to no mousepad because we don’t use mice anymore. Whatever you want to tweet the process for or SOPs for example you can do that now on the fly like a lot of these companies have these binders of sops on how things should be done nobody ever reads them and new employees read them maybe you look at them, but it’s like any time that there’s a change you’re supposed to take the sheet out put the new sop in there new the new process, get everybody to sign it that they understand and put it in but that can be brought to life where it’s like you wake up in the morning you go to work and here’s your five things you’re going to do today. According to what your sop say and if there’s a change the fourth one changed and you didn’t realize that you’re just doing it, so it’s really cool.

Jeffery:
No i love that actually we have a product called scramble

Dennis:
Yeah

Jeffery:
And we filed patton ford i don’t know three years ago it’s been the longest patent filing in the world and they haven’t approved it yet. Now coven’s even set it out even longer so maybe it was four years we filed and it’s been three years sitting there waiting. We have a provisional but we don’t have the full patent

Dennis:
Right

Jeffery:
What we did is it’s what scramble is and it really would fit nicely with time hero is it matches security and communication so what we do is we sit on the server side and any sort of email that comes in through the company we analyze the email and decide where it needs to go so say someone was sending you an email and it said ‘hey tom, i’m looking to redo this sales thing i need to close the deal for a hundred thousand,’ but he sent it to you and didn’t realize that it was going to the wrong person or whatever it might be. It would actually redirect it to the proper person to take care of that. It would go through all of your emails and tell you what’s the most important email in the entire company. So we have a dashboard and it will tell you, you can watch the entire company your whole company have a thousand people and it’ll list the number one email in that company and what it’s doing, we can tell you who everybody works for, who everybody should work for, because based on how many emails are being flown through we’ve created metadata meta tag data, against all emails so when you sent it, who you sent it, why it was sent, what was the most important person on that email, and we take all that data using ai and all the other information that we pull up for emails and then we can actually sort your email it’s like mail room on steroids and we figure out where everything’s going and we can tell you if someone’s stealing from your company, taking data from your company, moving it, stealing clients, everything it monitors the entirety of the company through.

Dennis:
Very cool

Jeffery:
And

Dennis:
I’m curious, so who built the ai engine in that because that’s powerful?

Jeffery:
Yeah so we we were working on it for about a year and a half filed patents and then they kept delaying the patent. We’re like look man Google is already coming out with a lot of this stuff where they have reminders and stuff and now in the last two years google hasn’t come up with anything and we’re like well what the hell it’s all stopped. So we kind of decided well if we keep building this we’re going to have this big engine big powerful everything and then google is going to get awarded the patent and then we’re screwed so we decided we would put a hold on it until they approve the patent and we’re still waiting so there’s another company that wants to use the license the tech from us, so that they can tell you where your employees should be sitting in the office. So that they’re more effective and we’ll tell you all that based on all the communication. We can also take an email message that you got and say it was i’m going to be late for this meeting by five minutes, we can convert that to a text message, and it’ll text you right away so it doesn’t even have to come as an emai.

Dennis:
Yeah

Jeffery:
So we’ve got all these stuff built in but we have to wait until the damn patent comes through so yeah

Dennis:
Well there’s that

Jeffery:
Interesting updates calendars it will check your meeting and a calendar and tell you that ‘hey you’re emailing this person and you’re trying to get a hold of them but this person’s in a meeting we’re going to send it to this person,’ because they’re sitting at their desk right now because they just sent an email so they’ll be able to respond to you quicker yeah

Dennis:
Have you had anybody queer your patent like in other words is it gone up to kind of people that like so it’s in provisional

Jeffery:
Yeah

Dennis:
So presumably, it is available people can read it yeah, you can read it yeah. It’s the only reason why i’m telling you about it because i’m like yeah i’ll share it but

Jeffery:
Well it’s just that it’s like and because during that time that it’s in provision if people have problems with it they can query the patent office and say no i have a problem with this because my patent is taking it up um but nobody’s challenged it at all

Dennis:
no

Jeffery:
That’s interesting and you know the other challenge because the thing is you could go out and sell it but that takes time and energy, right? So it’s like just felt everything and we’ve just been waiting so i kind of the reason why we came up with is because uh we ended up having a bad instance with an employee and i was sitting in my car, and i was so furious that someone was stealing our clients, screwing us over and they worked in my organization so i was like how can i fix this? And then it everybody was like ‘oh you can’t do this with email it’s owned by this’ and like bullshit why

Dennis:
Google does it every day

Jeffery:
I own a company and the employees more powerful in my company than i am – i’m like this is ridiculous. I own the data, i own the domain, i own the information, why can i not monitor and regulate what’s going through here if there’s data and there’s pilfering clients and i don’t know this that’s ridiculous yeah and i’m doing it through my email which i own so i thought started to think how can we holistically change this and better understand what’s going on in our networks and be able to figure that out so that’s where we started to build it out. It still got lots of work but the point was is that you can understand the envision of the product. It’s kind of like right now you have in the US there’s – there was a company that was bought by google and they basically took your home cameras and front door cameras and everything. And they networked them all together so that when there was a crime going on ,they could picture pattern this whole event that was going on, oh cool where everybody was moving to and the criminals down the street here they just broke into this house they did this they did that and all you had to do was say that you would allow your camera to have access to that photo during this window time and if someone was in that area they could scope and take that picture so –

Dennis:
Interesting

Jeffery:
Obviously cool tech, right? Yeah, it’s in the same thing you’re doing with this email pattern I wanted to be able to build a case so if someone did x y and z, it would auto generate a case and now i could take that to hr and say this person is not doing shit

Dennis:
Right sales person, they’ve sent two emails in two weeks fire that person

Dennis:
Yeah

Jeffery:
Like it would be enough information that it would allow you to build a case without having to worry about legal

Dennis:
I love it so it would it would actually work very well with time hero because yeah you know are you getting it are you doing a demo tomorrow

Jeffery:
Well no we I will try time here right i’ll check that out but on our end

Dennis:
Just get a demo. Do half an hour demo because you know you’ll wrap your head around how they fit together and it-it’s exactly what you’re saying, it’s like knowing what your employees are doing and when not to the level of email like that’s a whole other level that’s – i’m impressed! That’s very cool.

Jeffery:
Yeah

Dennis:
Is it a product? like is it –

Jeffery:
It’s an actual system. We built it on gmail, we were going to build it on outlook we just haven’t

Dennis:
Yeah

Jeffery:
Gotten that we stopped it but it was built in because we run our businesses off of gmail backend so that’s why we tied it into that so and again we’ve just been sitting on it. So we’re- i think that there’s obviously a lot of value and merit to it but it’s now deciding what can we do with it. Should we do anything with it and this other company when they pitched me i was like ‘shit you guys should use this and tie it in your business so it might become something to that effect,’ or maybe i gotta hire a bunch of new people to come in and really rip through them.

Dennis:
It’s funny because you know as we get older some of these things that we have ideas around because when you’re young you’re like ‘i’ve got all the time in the world to do this stuff man i’m gonna dive into this,’ and you’re just like and then now you’re kind of like well i got these three other ideas like that like i got one for medicine that i’ve been playing with forever it’s vaccine management monitoring, nobody’s doing it so it’s like ah you know so you keep and you’re like ah i didn’t i did uh 25 of it do i finish it do i not and it’s hard to let stuff go sometimes you know.

Jeffery:
It is but i would sell this in a second or I would let the patent go wherever someone else could do something with it

Dennis:
Yeah well that’s just the –

Jeffery:
Shit that I’ve done and lots of stuff that I can work with and like the list is ridiculous I’ve got
thousands of startup businesses that I could build but I can’t build them so that’s why when I’m working with a startup and they’re telling me their ideas. I’m like oh I love that you could also put this in there and they’re like

Dennis:
Yeah

Jeffery:
Why I’m like well because I thought about it ten years ago so if you have this

Dennis:
Here you go yeah, do you still have are you still involved with Loblaws at all? Do you keep in touch with them?

Jeffery:
A few people, yes, the best relationship manager, if you will so i probably should but there’s a couple people that over the years they actually watch our stuff there were some law was guys on one of our podcasts a couple weeks ago and stuff so it is we still kind of follow each other here and there so it’s still kind of cool so

Dennis:
Yeah cool all right good chatting, what are you doing now? You’re going home
and having another beer?

Jeffery:
Yeah well I’m here now actually you can see this-

Dennis:
Oh you’re home now? okay

Jeffery:
Yeah I was gonna show you this – just quickly, you’ll see this. Just shrink the screens down but you were asking about the books, yes my stand is made up of books. (laughs)

Dennis:
Very cool

Jeffery:
Yeah so the lean startup blue oceans rework, yeah some cool stuff for yourself

Dennis:
Blue oceans i like that one yeah, just popping up out of the blue

Jeffery:
Yeah lean thinking

Dennis:
Yeah

Jeffery:
These are all books I’ve read in the past and I was trying to find a way to stack my laptop up higher and so I pulled them out of the door

Dennis:
That’s crazy we actually had a guy who wrote a book on lean as our CEO of activated white and i can’t tell you man, how frustrating it is that see the guy who invented it. He always thinks a billion dollar idea so we’ve had people that have wanted to license it and he turns around and he goes okay 80, 20. I’m like that sound maybe we can whittle it down to you know 85, 15. And he’s like no 80 for us, I’m like in what world does a core product get 80 percent of like they’re not going to do the work to market ,sell you know all that kind of stuff for 20 percent you’re insane I can’t even begin it’s happened three times so I’m just like, I’m done so it’s just sitting there, my frustration.

Jeffery:
It’ll happen soon.

Dennis:
I know, all right, Jeff good chatting

Jeffery:
Likewise man, have a great day! Thank you!

Dennis:
You too cheers!

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