The unapologetic promoter behind Newstrike Capital and other ventures shares his latest and greatest ideas.
TH: Keir, last year you were pitching us on a web startup called Stockmash, which aimed to crowd source investment ideas. What’s the latest there?
KR: Ah, yes, I sold it to another company last year that was more advanced in crowdsharing info but lacked a clean UI. It was a great experience and opened my eyes to what is going on in the 2nd wave of the technology revolution. More on this in a bit.
TH: What’s going on with Newstrike? The shares are down under $2 again and the news flow has been quiet.
KR: Newstrike have probably made the most significant new gold discovery in Mexico in the last decade. For the last 6+ months the company has been working away on a variety of initiatives to take this from an early-stage discovery to a multi-million ounce gold deposit. Infill drilling, detailed metallurgy and engineering studies are in varying states of completion in preparation for a maiden 43-101 resource. As some of your readers know, I seek out companies that offer buyout potential and I think NES stands a good chance of this because it has size, grade and a very competent top-notch management team. The company is well-financed and has 4 drill rigs turning. In my opinion, it’s a must own gold stock.
TH: What else are you excited about?
KR: Last year was a building year. With little action in the junior sector, it was a time to company build. With resource stocks representing about two thirds of the Venture Exchange and technology representing less than 2%, I thought it was a great time to diversify into the tech sector. So, Richard Whittall of Newstrike drafted Kevin Rathbun and myself to help him with a little shell company that he sat on the board of called Calyx Bio-Ventures (TSXV: CYX). At the time, it had no cash and owned a minority stake in a private agricultural technology company called Agrisoma. Over the last 12 months we helped raise about $5M in equity, now own a majority stake in Agrisoma and commercialized a new oilseed crop that when refined produces a drop-in biojet fuel. We made aviation history last October when the National Research Council flew the world’s first civil aviation flight powered by 100% biojet fuel refined from our crop. Data recently came out that indicates that the fuel greatly reduces emissions and is even more fuel efficient than traditional petroleum-based fuel. Popular Science magazine picked this up and made it one of their “Big Science Stories of 2012”.
My other big project for 2012 was in co-founding LX Ventures (TSXV: LXV) which is run by 2012 BC Angel Investor of Year, Mike Edwards. Mike has had some great buyouts recently with companies like Google and Twitter acquiring startups that he identified early on. LX is a startup technology incubator that acts as a bridge between the private equity VC’s and the public markets. Digital technology startups have been disrupting mature industries with the adoption of powerful tablets and smartphones by the masses. I really like how this one is shaping up and I think it is poised for a big year of growth.
I’ve also launched the Mammoth Investment Club which is free to join if you’re in Vancouver and want to meet other like minded investors and hear from great speakers. Check us out on Meetup.com.
TH: Any comment on the BCSC’s move to prevent unlicensed finders from receiving compensation from financing activities?
This has popped up a few times over the years and is one of the reasons why so many EMD’s (formally known as LMD’s) have been formed. Most of the promoters have long known that the finders rules were going to be clamped down on. It will definitely have an effect and we’ll have to see how this plays out. Reducing the number of people who can collect finders fees isn’t a one-sided topic, hopefully, for the public markets, it drives more business back to the retail stock broker who has long been suffering with the rise of the discount broker eating away at their trading business and finders fees being paid to unlicensed people.
I’ve also heard rumours that regulators may soon require investors in private placements to prove that they are actually accredited investors. Regardless of what happens, good promoters will comply with the laws.
Tommy, thanks for chance to catch up. Here’s to a better year than the last for our junior stocks.
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Keir is paid by and owns shares in these companies. Always do your own due diligence and talk to a licensed investment advisor before buying or selling any security.