Wednesday, June 24, 2009
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory or defeat. "
— Theodore Roosevelt
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
— Theodore Roosevelt
Friday, May 15, 2009
You can imagine how deeply frustrating it is when you want to give your money away for a service you desperately need and their website or 3rd party payment provided doesn't allow you to do so as a result of technical bugs.
I did try. Hard! Three different credit cards, spent over 4 hours on 5 different occasions, wrote two complaints via the system which takes 10 minutes from start to finish and called customer service twice who told me the only way I could renew was online using my credit card. And if you travel easyJet often throughout Europe you'll know the benefit of SpeedyBoarding which is worth every cent of the easyJetPlus program. I was left with no choice but to express my frustration on Twitter which the hope somebody would pay some kind of attention:
And within 5 minutes Paul from the easyJet care responded... with his personal email!
When are more companies going to join this powerful channel and start listening. Well done easyJet - I just hope you can address my complaint.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
It’s been too long since I’ve sent you one of my adventurous emails. I used to send exciting stories from my travels which now seem like a lifetime ago. If I had stopped and written about my adventures over the last two years you would have been hearing from me every day!
Grab a cup of coffee and brace yourself to hear my story which so many of you have played some role in thought or action…
It’s spring time...
...the bright green leaves have burst out from hiding, the birds are singing and the people are wearing their colourful clothes again with big smiles and loads of positive energy. It’s 8:03pm. Last Friday night. The cleaner is making her way through our two story office nestled in the back streets of Sarria (Barcelona) and I switch my computer off. I’m elated. Walking on air. Pure bliss. Amazement.
It’s the proudest, most exhilarating day of my entire professional life. I’ll share a few more sentimental moments…
The skies are still blue. The chill has left to some far off land (back to Australia). And I’m gliding through the little alleyways of my neighbourhood with tears in my eyes and a peaceful smile. I hear music. A gypsy is playing his accordion. I reach into my bag and open my tattered old green purse taking out whatever change I have. Lucky for him it’s over €5 in coins. I look into his eyes. Smile. And throw the change into his already full cap. This man has brought the streets to life with his music. I would love to just sit down and let the emotions pour out…but that would be a little silly wouldn’t it... JC is waiting for me at home with his two boys Joni and Ricky to go out to celebrate.
This is what it feels like to climb that mountain I’ve had in my site for the last 15 years and arrive at the ‘first’ significant check-point. It’s what we all strive for when we have dreams. Dreams that hurt when they are threatened. Dreams that you would do anything to achieve. That feeling of accomplishment, success, peace, bliss.
You see… the scariest thing happened last July..
We had just spent the last 6 months finding and securing some of the most renown investors in the world to fund our business Linqia. I didn’t know much about fund raising apart from borrowing money from banks to fund my existing real estate portfolio. This was a completely different ball game. A ruthless one. One that would have me chasing over 85 investors around the world over 12 months. Dedicating 70% of my time into this grueling process not only to learn how to do it properly but to inject the fuel that would allow me and my team to fulfill on this grand vision we set out to achieve.
We had just secured 7 individuals and 1 institution to invest €750,000 into our company. The signing would happen on the Thursday of the last week of July 2008. On the previous Friday my husband JC and I set off to Ibiza to celebrate a friend’s 40th birthday with a bunch of fun loving friends. Three days later, I receive a first of a series of phone calls that would make my heart tremble and challenge my courage to the very bone. The first was from my business partner with the unfortunate news that one of our investors who had committed €75,000 had just experienced a death in the family. The following day, I receive the second call from our CFO that another investor who had committed €50,000 had gone on holiday and handed over the process to his advisors who immediately dismissed their client investing for various reasons. That same day, a third investor sent an email also withdrawing his commitment – change of heart. By this stage we’re down a €150,000 which invalidates the prerequisite of our main institutional investor who required the full amount to invest their €150,000. In the meantime, an additional two investors also pulled out. Oh my god! We’ve just lost €500,000 in 4 days!!!
Time out. What’s happening to my dream? It’s slipping away. And it hurts like hell.
I’m on holiday on one of the most beautiful islands in the world with my husband having intended to celebrate our achievement but instead I’m in a complete panic not knowing what to do. I’m sitting on the side of a pier uncontrollably sobbing having just received the last phone call. Feeling numb, confused and determined to not let this overwhelm me. JC is trying to understand what is going at the very same time our car is about to get towed.
When in paradise. Be in paradise. Right? I promise JC that I will dedicate ½ day to finding solutions and dealing with the situation and switch to holiday mode the other ½ day. Here is where I apply all my learning’s from the 10 days of silence I spent in a Buddhist retreat 7 years ago. Time to put all the learning’s I can remember into practice. Clear my head. Slow my breathing. Ask - what’s really being threatened? And it’s moments like these when the people who care for you the most have the simplest pearls of wisdom. I think JC made this up on the spot but it worked.
Here’s the guidance he gave that saved my sanity and it became one of the most powerful metaphors for the next 7 months which helped me deal with this crisis.…This is the story of 11 bright red balloons. The first being 1,100 metres below the surface of the sea…
… Imagine that you’ve swum to the darkness depth of the ocean with your oxygen tank and you’re happily exploring all the wonders of the sea. Suddenly you run out of oxygen and you need to find your way up to breath fresh air again… In front of you there is a bright red oxygen balloon which gives you enough oxygen to get to the next balloon. You only see one red balloon at a time and you hope there’s another one every 100m. You don’t really know. You have to be on your guard and be at tentative. It’s important to lower your heart rate to conserve oxygen.
Oxygen Balloon #1: Upon my return, we managed to miraculously secure €250,000 from three unwavering investors. They believed in us in ways I still cannot comprehend today and will appreciate for ever. One of these investors is Esther Dyson – who truly is an ‘angel’ in every respect of the word, backing entrepreneurs and ideas that may not appeal to the average investor who takes the safe route. Along with Albert Armengol and Celesti Alcarez - these three people saved our dream. These three angels bought us the necessary time to go in search of funds which would have us finally close this financing round. The funds hit our account on the Monday – just in time as we only had enough money to pay for our overheads that week.
Oxygen Balloon #2: I was still at the deepest depth of that dark ocean and I was determined to find the next red oxygen balloon. I’m thinking to myself ‘what’s within my control?’. To start off with, we had to scrutinize our cash flow and reduce our burn rate. We were spending far too much money which would have meant hitting the wall again too soon. Our mission was to survive for at least another 6 months before new investors came on board. I drafted an ‘extending Linqia’s runway’ plan, engaged every team member in the process and openly communicated our predicament and what it meant for our future. We had to start letting people go who were not core to the development of our product. It was no surprise who had to go when - this was all communicated upfront and each person understood our predicament. The plan was staggered and tied to sourcing investors.
Every month we would take additional measures such as the painful decision of letting people go, sub leasing desks and a bright green chair that only months before we had purchased at IKEA, reducing travel costs and spending every euro like it was our last. Some team members stepped up to the plate and partially sacrificed their own earnings to keep their colleagues on board. This is what I call a true entrepreneurial and team spirit.
To further extend our runway, we devised a Share Bank where the founders gave up stock in exchange for additional salary sacrifices. Our team was operating on bare bones – just enough to cover their rent and food. I stopped drawing a salary all together and also reduced my already modest spending to the bare minimum.
It’s amazing when you come from humble beginnings – my family having arrived to Australia with just over $1,000 and having lived that way for most of my childhood, there I was back at square one living a simple life.
Oxygen Balloon #3: Source new investors whilst learning how to do it properly. To date, we had made far too many mistakes in how we went about securing our previous investors. The process was adhoc, lacked follow-up, mis-alignment, the documentation was poor and are valuation was too high. My first instinct was to follow-up with the investors who had pulled out and understand what we could have done differently. The criticism was poignant but on the mark. Priceless feedback.
My second step was to expand my research which had me speaking to an entire investment community to source their successfully and unsuccessfully stories around their fund raising experience. Lesson learned? Process, process, process.
Whilst I’ll never be an expert in fund raising, as this isn’t my core business, I built a network of experienced advisors – people who had the runs on the board as we say in Australia, who collectively helped us formulate a new process. We re-wrote and redesigned our presentation stacks, prepared term sheets, reviewed our Share Holder Agreement and lowered our valuation. I appointed a new team to lead the process who could focus 100% on tracking every move. My role became one of sourcing new investors and presenting the company. A target list was drafted, phone calls were made to people in our network who would know potential investors and I started to call them one by one. Hindsight being 20/20. I abandoned my team which had repercussions down the track.
Oxygen Balloon #4: Generate revenue! The team gathered for a working session on how we could generate revenue whilst fund raising. We sat around a table one afternoon and brainstormed at least 12 ideas devising strategies with specify action points, next steps and responsible persons. Every week, each team member would report on how they were progressing. We managed to generate close to €70,000 in revenue over the next three months mainly through consulting projects which enabled us to retain key team members.
By this stage, I was chasing investors in all corners of the world, managing the investment team, consulting clients to generate revenue, contributing to the development of our product and attempting to keep our existing investors confidence high. We had a chance of pulling this through.
It pierced my heart to not attend the wedding of Brad Skelton and Jen who are one of our closest friends in Australia. They made the sacrifice early last year to attend our wedding in New Delhi and it saddened me deeply that I couldn’t take the week off to fly there and back to Barcelona. Whilst I could have managed the company from Australia, leaving at such a critical time would have sent the wrong message to my team and our key stakeholders. These are the moments of truth which truly challenge your commitment.
Oxygen Balloon #5: Prospective investor number 1 in site. It’s August 2008. The great adventure begins!
Allow me to digress for a few moments, as the twists & turns of this story are an encapsulated view of what the next three months, and balloons, were about to look like.
One of our close contacts offers an introduction to an entrepreneur from Dubai. We speak initially on the phone. After 30 minutes of conversation, he asked “when can I meet you?”. I asked “where are you?”. He said “In Los Angeles until Friday. New York for the weekend. Pakistan Monday – Wednesday. London in two weeks.”. I said “I’m happy to meet you anywhere. But first, check our terms and that they’re aligned with your investment criteria.”. He said “fine. Send it through”.
I sent it through and then didn’t hear from him for 2 weeks – even though I tried every day. I felt very uncomfortable being a pest! But when it could be a phone call in between you and your dream then you just do whatever it takes until you get a no.
It was Tuesday afternoon 3pm and I receive an sms on my mobile phone. “Can you meet me in Paris tomorrow?”. Ummm…that’s kinda short notice but hey – Paris is a lot closer than Pakistan so I book a flight for €400 leaving Barcelona at 6am the next day.
At this stage I have really no clue who this guy is apart from somebody that is connected to a trusted contact of mine. I check the hotel he is staying at where we will meet in the lobby and at €700 for an average room per night, it’s a positive sign - he's got access to money. I fly out early the next day and take the metro from the Airport to Champs Elyse. It’s a beautiful morning and I just feel I’m about to embark on an adventure. I’m reading Eat, Pray and Love by Elisabeth Gilbert. I think I’m going through the praying phase of her experience.
I arrive into the lobby of this frumpy, stodgy hotel. I’m stumped as to who would pay €700 a night to say here. 90% of the people walking in and out are middle eastern men and women dressed in Gucci, Chanel and every other expensive brand you would expect. I don’t know what he looks like so I sit on the lounge waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
An hour later he shows up. He’s young, dressed casually and appears to be somewhat chaotic. We sit in the bar on fancy sofas and he opens up his macbook air and places his three phones on the table. I start to introduce myself and his phone rings. He’s talking irately to his personal assistance. “Just transfer the money today. I need you to do it now. Ring this number…. “ He apologizes and then we continue to chat. I share my story. He shares his. The meeting goes for 3 hours and he’s very enthusiastic and immediately offers to invest. He then asks whether I will join them this afternoon. I ask. ‘Who is them?’ He says the Prince. And I see What Prince? Thinking the owner of this hotel as it was the King Abdul Hotel? Oh no. The Prince of a predominant Arabian state. I know that there are 100’s of prince’s in the middle east. But this one is the 3rd son of the King. I learn that the Prince is the business partner of our prospective investor and they have a multi billion dollar fund mainly investing into infrastructure, corporations and technology.
I am very surprised and not believing what I am hearing. My brain is racing a 1,000 miles an hour. He shares a story from last night where the Prince demands to see a movie. It’s 1am in the morning! So they book out the whole cinema on Champs Elyse for €70,000 and watch the new James Bond movie. Half way through the movie, he falls asleep and the Prince and his entourage leave him in the cinema until the attendant wakes him up. He’s not impressed by the Prince’s trick. The previous week they’d traveled through France in a convoy of luxury cars and stayed in a castle – total cost of €250,000.
He invites a close friend down to join us. It’s 3pm and she’s just woken up. She’s been traveling with the Prince and his entourage. She’s lovely, charming and offers to introduce me to the founders of PayPal and some other well known Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and VC's when I’m in town next.
OK. So this sounds quite surreal and a tad exciting. I'm thinking...What are the next steps? When can we close so I can get on with building my business?
He asks me to fly to Dubai and meet a consortium of investors who would invest up to €1,000,000 into our company and then we close the deal. Sounds reasonable. What about meeting the Prince that afternoon? Well unfortunately I had another appointment with the founder of Netvibes which I was determined to keep. So I’m off before I have my easyjet flight back to Barcelona.
The ensuing months would have me travel between London, Dubai, Geneva and Berlin pursing funds which would never eventuate.
Oxygen Balloon #6: I see it right in front of me, but swim past, confident that balloon #5 still has the remaining oxygen I need to get to the top. Hopping from one city to the next. Unbeknown to me, the real seeds are planted that I don’t become fully aware of until much later in the journey. I’m later to learn a valuable lesson about illusions and how when you’re dying of thirst in the desert, the heat can play havoc with your usual spot-on perception and lead you astray in chase of the paradisaical mirage.
Chasing our Dubai investor has become somewhat amusing for me, my team and existing investors who I’m communicating to on a monthly basis of our progress. He disappears from one day to another and doesn’t respond to phone calls and emails.
My senses urge me to find back-up investor just in case he falls through. So I reach out to a now close friend who I also happened to get to know well in Dubai earlier that year at an EO Global Leadership Conference. He offered to help us raise funds back in May and for personal reasons I didn’t want to go down that route. He was a friend and a valued peer through an organization I treasure. I spent a few days with him in Geneva meeting with prospective investors and partners before flying off to Dubai to meet my prospective investor the previous month.
The universe always throws signs – you see them but sometimes you just don’t connect the dots. My plane leaving Geneva was one sign. It was on the runway and then was called back to the terminal due to a technical failure. Three hours later we finally took off unfortunately arriving into London Heathrow an hour too late to catch my connecting flight to Dubai. British Airways were kind enough to organize a dodgy motel at the airport which was the last place I wanted to be! I arrived into Dubai midnight 24 hours later, missing very crucial meetings that day.
It was Ramadan. 40 degrees. And so humid that anybody would think you just stepped out of swimming pool. I arrived into my room at the Palace Hotel for a bargain nightly rate of €100. This place was amazing! I’ve never stayed in such luxury for the price of what the dodgy motel cost in London.
I spent the next three days being chauffeured from one meeting to another. The calibre of people took my breath away. Heads of global banks, Middle Eastern institutes and multi billionaires. Sitting in Arabian tents set up for this holy period, we feasted in the evening sipping sweet apple tea, smoking shishas and sharing stories. These guys only talked in billions. Real estate. Oil. Roads. You name it. One Sheik recounted his story of cruising on his ship around Fiji and taking the runabout boat to shore to meet the natives. He didn’t want to go back onto his luxury ship that night and chose to stay under the stars on a piece of cloth with the natives.
During the day many of our meetings where in Starbuck Coffee Shops in shopping malls. Most people didn’t know who I was or what I was doing in Dubai. My sponsor hadn't the time to brief our future investors. Everything was done on the fly. I was being chaperoned around like a show pony. I recall one particular colleague of our prospective investor warning me that the chances of me doing a deal was extremely rare. That if I was successful they would make up a plaque commemorating the moment. He said he’s seen people like me come and go. I didn’t want to believe him but in my gut the warnings were ringing loud and clear. This is the wild middle east. People do business differently out here. They string you along. Leave you hanging. And right at the point when you give up, they lure you back in... over and over again.
I’ve just exhausted my 6th balloon and the 7th isn’t in site. I’m gasping for air. What do I do?
Oxygen Balloon #7: I arrived back from my trip assured that we had a deal. It would take my contact 2 weeks to call his consortium of investors and then we’d close.
In the meantime, we’re continuing to reduce our burn rate. We’ve gone from €75,000 per month to €45,000. I’m not willing to bet it all on what might be a mirage that just won’t materialize. These are the moments of truth along the way, and reducing our costs would later become the valuable oxygen I would need if I were to break the surface and reach fresh air.
It’s not until the end of September I meet our Dubai investor again. I fly to London after numerous failed attempts to contact him. Where possible, I stay with entrepreneurial friends to save costs and it’s a great opportunity to exchange stories and gain deeper insights into this very stressful experience. My Dubai contact arrives and calls me close to midnight to meet him at Whisky Mist – which is a night club Prince William hangs out in. I’m exhausted and tell him I’ll meet him the next day.
We meet at the Jumeriah Hotel in London in the lobby and he introduces me to the man who worked on the Google IPO. With term sheet in hand, I’m still trying to figure out how can I close this deal today but there seems to be too many distractions and activity happening. I later discover that all the commotion is linked to the closing of a very significant deal. Somehow the €1,000,000 I’m there to raise seems minuscule in comparison to what these guys are working on. So I chat to one of his friends, and then another, and then another…chatting….chatting…
We go to Nobu. Turn up at the wrong restaurant and then make our way to the next. It’s fashion week. Naomi Campbell and her friends are sitting at the table next to ours. At our table is my Dubai contact and a whole bunch of business people. One guy happens to be the right hand man to the Ruler of one of the Middle Eastern countries. He introduces his very attractive girlfriend who is at least half his age as a PHD student of economics. Which I find hard to comprehend because all she talks about is the soap operas she watches all day and references quotes from these shows she has entered into her phone.
That evening we go to some swish nightclub called Tramps in London where there is a table booked for us and Superman flies in with a monster size bottle of champagne with firecrackers spraying sparks everywhere. At £1,500 a pop it’s enough to make the music stop and become the centre of attention. The 20 something’s skanky girls dressed in skimpy beach wear flock around the table like mosquitoes and I’m thinking – this is the last place I want to be! I just want my term sheet signed and I’m out here.
I’m asked to stay the next day to meet the Prince and have been invited to fly by helicopter to the GoodWood Motor Races. Sounds like an adventure! The schedule is tight as I have my easyjet flight back to Barcelona at 5pm and need to get to Gatwick Airport. I’m assured I’ll be back in time. Two helicopters take us to the races. My Dubai contact and I go for a walk and have a deep and meaningful conversation. I tell him that “this is the most important thing in my life and I need to know if I can rely on him or not”. He puts his hands on my shoulders, looks me in my eyes and says “if you ever ask me that again the deal is off. I told you I would make it happen and I will.” What do you say to that!
The first helicopter is about to leave which I am meant to be on and at this moment I’m called away to meet the Prince. Great timing! Now I risk missing my flight back to Barcelona which JC and my best friend Naomi Simson who’s visiting us wouldn’t be impressed with. I sit down at a table and chat to the Prince for ½ an hour. He’s curious to know about my business and my mind maps catch his attention. So we talk about the benefits of mind mapping and how to mind map and then he wants to know also all about the circle of friends exercise I occasionally do. The Prince is a humble, reserved, under-stated type of guy. His business partner is the living spark that adds the entertainment value to the relationship.
We make our way back to the 2nd helicopter and take loads of funny photos in vintage planes. He shares with me that he’s most excited when he’s flying his fighter jet and heading straight towards the ground and veering off at the last minute.
Back to London. Unfortunately I miss my flight. My husband is totally livid with me. And my Dubai contact books me in for a night at the hotel the Prince and his entourage are staying at. By this stage I’m completely fed up and have had enough. There’s very little hope that anything will come of this and I couldn’t imagine managing such chaotic investors if we were to close a deal.
I leave London the next day – after missing my morning flight due to train delays and arrive to Barcelona in the evening.
Was it worth it? Off course! Just because somebody proclaims to put money on the table I learned to understand the value of their money. It takes so much time and energy dealing with such people that it could have been lethal for our future business. You've got to learn how to deal with the time wasters to avoid them in future. There's plenty of these types of people around! Super nice but no intention to close on a deal.
Oxygen Balloon #8: It’s October. No Dubai Investors. And discussions continue with loose, far away prospects. We’re exploring all options. Government and institutional grants. Additional monetization opportunities. I fly to Berlin to attend the Web2.0 conference a VC friend of mine invites me to. I meet with my close friend Oliver Beste and his business partner – we’re up until 3am discussing all possible funding options. Oliver is a wise soul and provides concrete advice which has me redefine again how we pitch the business. This oxygen balloon is one of clarity and confidence which fuels the passion and drive to keep moving forward.
Oxygen Balloon #9: Or is it balloon #6? This is the opportunity I passed on earlier as I didn’t pursue it with the fervor it deserved. What are my lessons here? The relationship with our Swiss prospective investor – who expressed interest in investing back in May is back on the table with full force. We’ve started working on some potential consulting projects and he’s able to get a taste of what we’re capable of producing on a business partnership level.
We’ve again reduced our burn rate from €45,000 to €35,000 – almost half of what we were at only 3 months prior and we have enough funds to last us until February 2009.
Oxygen Balloon #10: It’s the 19th November and we’re driving through the Geneva country side with our Swiss prospective investor after a powerful pitch to a large pharmaceutical company and he matter of fact tells us that he will invest. Take a deep breath! He tells me that he spoke to his wife and together they made a decision not to build the family swimming pool so they could invest these funds + the proceeds from his recent sale of his Ferrari into Linqia. Wow!
The next five months are gruelling! Our entire Share Holder Agreement is turned upside down by KPMG’s best lawyers in Europe. Our valuation is halved from what it was 6 months ago. The financial crisis looms swallowing up some of the world’s largest and smallest companies whilst we try to close our deal.
It’s at this stage that I get a glimpse of insight. Our investor to be shares with me that it’s the passion and the drive of the entrepreneur that gives him the confidence to make the investment. He also sees that Linqia to be strategically important for the future of his company.
Oxygen Balloon #11: If you don’t have your own plan, you become a part of somebody else’s. It’s 18th February and we’re almost down to our last euro. I’m riding on the back of JC’s motorcycle to visit some friends and I’m feeling deeply frustrated about the slow progress of our technology development .We’re already 1 month late in delivering on two of our products. 80% of our budgets go towards the product and engineering team. It’s highly unlikely that we will be able to monetize our offering by April 2009. It's in that moment I see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I have an epiphany brought on by this deep frustration. I sit down for 3 hours one Sunday afternoon drawing my original vision on 10 blank pieces of paper. I send a message to each team members requesting their attendance at a collaborative session. That day, for the first time, I held tightly to the reins of this company. I planted a stake in the ground and said to the team “What I’m about to share with you is the reason why this company was created. This is the reason why investors have invested and why each of you started working here. We can longer turn a blind eye and push it aside. After I share with you this vision, you will either believe in the vision and support me in making it happen or you will leave. There is no in-between.”
The team listened for an hour, asked questions and then let out a deep sigh of relief as they had finally witnessed this long anticipated moment of leadership. I then set a deadline. “I expect that the first version of this product to be ready by April.. and the second version by December 2009” and sent them on their mission to build this vision.
We’re about to break the surface of the ocean. I see the light. My lungs are gasping for fresh air.
In the final moments of closing this financing round we experience some memorable moments such as a DHL courier from Frankfurt bound for Barcelona arrived the day before closing, and for some strange reason was taken to Bergamo Italy before being redirected back to Barcelona. At this stage, our lawyer from PWC contacted the bike rider and had him arrive to the notary minutes before the close.
Another memorable moment was the endless co-ordination of the Power of Attorney’s for most of our investors including Esther Dyson. Any Powers assigned need to be apostilled and in the United States notarized by the county clerk. We requested this from Esther and at that time she replied that she was in Star City, Russia, training to be a cosmonaut and there weren’t any PWC offices out there. The following week she was in Kazakhstan before arriving back to New York where we organized a mobile notary to visit her offices.
Fresh Air. Ocean surface. April 4th 2009. We proudly signed, sealed and closed our partnership with our new investor. We launched the first version of our product - The Linqia Marketplace. And we’re breathing fresh air.
It’s time to strap on our next oxygen tank and again dive to the depths of the ocean for the next chapter of this adventure.
It’s the week after now. I’ve spent most of the day capturing the story before the next whirlwind catches me to set off to that next check-point.
JC is a poet in his spare time and has sent me many poems throughout this ordeal. I’ll share this last one with you as a finale to this story:
You got the funds because you had the lungs.
It was a marathon race with the craziest pace.
It was an obstacle course and you’ve left no remorse.
You left no stone unturned and you left no bridges burned.
You played a tough and fair game and you didn’t come up lame.
You showed the courage of a lion and the wild passion of the game.
So you should rejoice in this time and savor this rhyme.
It’s dedicated to whom I love, head and shoulder from the rest you’re above.