Main Street Ventures Interviews Viroment About Our Investment Opportunity on Wefunder

Jason Williams:
All right, welcome Main Street Venturers. Today, we’ve got a special treat. I have the founder of Viroment on, Paul Koenig, and he’s going to give us a rundown of the company, tell us a little bit about his background, give us some milestones that we can expect to meet and let us know what kind of progress has been made since our investment.

Jason Williams:
So, welcome, Paul. Thank you for joining us. I really appreciate your time.

Paul Koenig:
Thanks, Jason. You’ve got a great publication. You’ve had some fantastic investors reach out to me and actually invest quite a large amount of money. So, I appreciate that. And I appreciate the follow-up. So, I’m super excited to talk to you more on the Zoom call and answer some questions and tell more about Viroment.

Jason Williams:
Excellent. Well, we really liked the deal. I loved it when I first saw it. And when we got on the phone and talked about it, I could tell that your heart was in the right place. That you’re not one of those people who has just starting a company and trying to get rich no matter what, that you really found a problem, you want to solve it. And you see an opportunity for some profit in that too. And I think that’s really great.

Jason Williams:
And before I started recording, you were telling me that you had had some folks from our list call in and it’s a compliment to me, but it’s more a compliment to all the people watching that these are some of the more sophisticated investors that you guys are getting on this deal are coming from Main Street Ventures. And that’s really our goal here is to help people learn more about this so that eventually they don’t need me to find deals for them. They can find them on their own. And that gives me hope that I’m doing the right thing, that I’m helping. And so that’s really great to hear.

Paul Koenig:
Yeah. Your investors have invested many times more than the industry average. I think the industry average for the crowdfunding is somewhere $175, $200 in that range. We’re averaging over $2,200 per investor. And a lot of that’s attributed to you, Jason, your network. You guys really pound it hard when you see a deal you like. Your investors are sophisticated and we’re targeting the more sophisticated investor because our deal is a lot more straightforward. It’s not buying a lottery ticket and hoping it’s worth something someday. Ours is a fixed equation. You guys understand that. Actually, it’s a real estate deal is what it is. Except the only difference is that we have a guaranteed billion-dollar client that’s leasing from us versus hoping that you’re… We all know the industry is not that great in real estate normally.

Paul Koenig:
But for our deals, depending on food, jobs, clean air, clean water. But the most important thing is everybody is going to eat. We need food. We need protein. Our tenants export a ton of this stuff. And they actually are really doing well. They’re going to have record third and fourth quarters. So based on that food grid need, it’s just a rock-solid investment. And your investors, they understand that.

Jason Williams:
Yeah. I think that’s great. That’s our goal. We really want to help people learn how to do this themselves. If I do my job, right, I won’t have a job. And I’m sort of okay with that. I’m not entirely okay with that because like you said, everybody’s got to eat and food does cost money. So, I do like my job. But if I do it right, then everybody watching me, won’t really need me anymore. And I’m okay with that. I would love to see the students become the masters, as it were.

Jason Williams:
But we really liked your deal. There’s so many good points about it. The company in general being able to give the animals a healthier place to live, which then gives the farmers healthier animals, bigger animals, which means more protein that they can sell in the end. Taking a cost center, how do we get rid of all of this liquid manure and turning it into a revenue stream where now we can sell this fertilizer and we can recycle this water into our irrigation or into other things. And then, creating permanent jobs when you build the stuff.

Jason Williams:
And then honestly, the 17% interest rate, nowhere else can you get that. And I really thought that that was an interesting thing. We had mentioned earlier that you guys are the only debt deal on Wefunder and that makes you very unique. And I really like it. It’s not a lottery ticket. It’s an income stream. And it’s an income stream that you can reinvest eventually because I don’t think Viroment is going to go away. I can only see it getting bigger as we have more demands for this.

Jason Williams:
Especially from the neighbors. I was telling you; my grandparents owned a farm and their closest neighbor was a hog farmer. And when the wind blew in the right direction or the wrong direction, I guess it would be, you could definitely smell that farm and you got used to it after a while, but you prefer to just not have to deal with that at all.

Paul Koenig:
Oh, absolutely. And I grew up on a cash crop farm as well, and our neighbors raised hogs and it was not pleasant and it lasts for a long time. It seemed like it you could always smell. And our tenants and the neighbors, everybody that we’re connected with is so excited about this because we’re eliminating that smell. So, the air, the water is reusable. We’re recycling the water. We’re not taking 8 million gallons off the grid for a facility the size that we build, off the grid every single year. We’re reducing that and reusing the water. And then we’re creating a lot of jobs. Jobs and rural jobs. Everybody would love to have the dream of being an hour or so, or two away from the city and live and breathe, clean, fresh air and work in an environment, be more on Main Street versus busy street. And it does all that.

Paul Koenig:
And not to mention, when you look at all this, it’s providing a lot of food and a lot of this is exported outside the United States. So, it’s bringing money back home to the US and it’s almost like we’re creating a massive ATM machine in north-central Nebraska and bringing all that money back home and being filtered through the local economies and back home. So, it’s great. People need the food overseas, so let’s sell it to them. Sure.

Jason Williams:
Yeah, definitely. I love it. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background? You grew up on a farm, but you were a real estate developer for a while there.

Paul Koenig:
Yeah. After I got out of college, I went to University of Minnesota and I played football for a few years there. And got out, was looking for something to do and didn’t have a lot of money. So, I started in the low-income areas and ended up owning and having deals that I either owned the majority of, or all of 750 different real estate transactions. I was the largest landlord of privately held Section 8 vouchers and all in the toughest areas. What we’d do is we’d give people a brand-new home and they would have larger and extended families. They were usually stuffed into three-bedroom homes, two-bedroom homes or apartments, and we’d give them five, six-bedroom homes, all brand new. Free laundry. So, the kids have all clean laundry when they go to school and their grades would go up.

Paul Koenig:
It was a fantastic deal. And everybody wanted to lease from us and rent from us, people from all over the country would come and move. Great people. We have professional athletes that ended up living in our properties as children, people that studied to be in the medical field, even lawyers, and a few doctors and several nurses graduated out of our… We have a several time Super Bowl champion, played for the Baltimore Ravens as a massive lineman. His relatives all lived in our properties, but they were just fantastic.

Jason Williams:
Oh, that’s really cool. Especially being from Baltimore, living in Baltimore and Ravens fan, that’s really neat. That’s really cool to hear. And I don’t want to sound callous by comparing the two, but with Viroment, you’re creating a better environment for the animals to live in and the animals are prospering. And really that’s what you did with your housing, is you created a better environment for people to live in and those people were able to prosper.

Paul Koenig:
Absolutely. So, I saw that there was a need. There was a need for larger and extended families to be housed properly. And so, we did that and then the metrics all worked well. Section 8 was paying very, very well at the time and it cash-flowed very, very well. So, I started out with one and then we thought, “Well, why don’t we do one more?” And pretty soon we were building at the pace of one a week and we did. So, we put up a brand-new property, moved in a brand-new family every single week.

Jason Williams:
That’s impressive.

Paul Koenig:
And giving keys to a family that would never experience such a thing. We’ve all seen the shows where they yell, “Move that bus.” That was really what it was for us. We hand the keys and they’re just like, “Wow.” And the kids are running in there. “This is my room. This is my room.” So, it was fantastic. It was just a great experience.

Jason Williams:
That’s great.

Paul Koenig:
So after almost 20 years, around 18 years, I got out of that and had a little bit of money and was looking for something to do. And I was riding around on a tractor back on my family farm. My younger brother had taken it over and he said he was going to spread some chicken manure on the farm. And I’m like, “Really? I didn’t even know we had chickens.” We, like I’m really still a part of it. And he said, “No, obviously we don’t.” And he said, “But they bring it out. And it’s a big deal.” And I’m like, “How much does that cost?” He says, “About a thousand dollars an acre.” For that 80-acre piece. That’s 80,000. What?

Paul Koenig:
And so we got to talking about it and I realized that they were actually giving it away for free, but that was the cost to move all this stuff around. It was diesel and labor to move all that stuff around. So, the next year or so, I was working really hard to try and figure out a way to get rid of the water, because all you’re doing is hauling mostly water around. If you could just haul the nutrients or the dirt around part of it, they need to be really onto something. So, it took me about a year to figure it out. And then it took me another year to finalize and patent it. It was a lot of money. I had almost a million and a quarter in costs that I’ve invested into it and the equipment, experimenting and not counting time, of course, and perfected it.

Paul Koenig:
And I realized that this very simple invention of how do we extract or filter out the solids and create clean water on one side, have dry solids on the other side, nobody had patented it. And it was only a simple modification that I had to make. It was a very important modification. So, I patented that. And then I thought, “Wow, I finally arrived. Let’s go to town.” And I thought I had it all figured out. And that was really the smallest part of the equation. There’s the whole business side. Well I thought, “Hey, I’ve done all this stuff before. I’m pretty good at business. I can figure this out.” And I realized that when I tried to put one of these machines at a town of 10,000, it’s the same work as if you’re selling to a city of eight million. So why not just go to the larger partners and work with them because the timeframe is about the same?

Paul Koenig:
So that’s what we’ve really done is I’ve partnered. I’ve gone around, been part of US Commercial Services. Have been to Vietnam, China, city of Houston. Hurricane Harvey is where we got on the map with them. They had the hurricane. They knew what we were doing. And they said, “Hey, we need you here right now. How many machines can you get here?” And so, they paid us a very, very handsome amount to be there for a 30-day period and process sludge. And we’d actually been there almost three years, almost three years to the day of right now, processing and working with them. And they’re doing studies.

Paul Koenig:
But back to the story is that we partner with large best in class players so that they validate it. So, city of Houston will validate it. Or in this case, the hog industry is validating it. We are working with the top end, some of the largest protein producers on the planet. They were validating them. They love it. We’re going to crank it out and we’re going to crank it out together. And then all of a sudden you realize, wait, they’re building the barns too small. Why don’t we build the barns larger? Why don’t we add this and get rid of the manure and market it in a different way and try and pellet it?

Paul Koenig:
And we reuse the water. And then because we have a better cashflow, we can put a better barn together, better insulation, longer lasting. And when we do this on larger levels, all of a sudden, we’re getting an interest rate of 2.6% fixed for 12 to 15 years. Where are you going to get that low of an interest rate? You might be able to get around three on your personal residence, but not on a real estate business, industrial side. No way. You’re probably in the three and a half to 3.8 today. Maybe you could have gotten in at 3.5. But we’re just killing it right now and being on this upper level.

Paul Koenig:
And the point is, is that by the time you really figure out the deal, the invention part in the cash flow is very important, but it was just the start of it. It’s really the whole global deal, the whole real estate investment. It’s making sure it’s locked in, it’s real estate based, your tenant is cash strong. It’s a billion-dollar company. And what does the tenant do? Well, they’re selling protein. Protein is growing. The need for pork protein is growing between eight and 10% need every year. And we’re not even coming close to catching up to that, no matter how fast we grow, because old barns are falling by the wayside and the new barns are not keeping up because people can’t afford to build new barns because then they’re building them too small. And so, we’re really capturing the whole deal here. And we’ve really turned it into a very strong, solid cash flowing real estate deal.

Jason Williams:
Yeah, it’s really impressive. I love it. And you mentioned, it’s more of a real estate investment. It’s more of a real estate deal with a twist. But they’re triple net leases. And I’m not sure if everybody out there is familiar with those. They’re one of my favorite kind of leases because you own the property, but the tenants pay taxes. The tenants pay for maintenance. The tenants pay for repairs. So really, you’re just putting up the money up front to get the property. You’re doing the legwork to get the lease in place. And then you get to sit back and collect payments.

Paul Koenig:
Absolutely. So, the biggest thing, there’s different triple net leases. Sometimes they’ll say except for the insurance, except for the taxes. This is a true triple net. Obviously, there’s labor involved with the tenants’ pigs. So, they supply the labor. Typically, that’s not a norm in the industry, but our clients at the upper levels do supply their own labor because they want to control that. So, it’s the labor, the taxes, the maintenance, the insurance. Like I said, the maintenance, that’s a huge deal. Everything. So, when we get that building at the end of the lease, that’s 15 years, that building is guaranteed to be in the same condition that we gave it to them at. And the truth is, is that these are multi-generational, large family-owned companies that we deal with. So, they’re going to want to renew the lease after 15 years too.

Paul Koenig:
So we’re really looking at a 40-year plan. I’m 52. You take 15 on top of that. You say the building is going to last 40. So, it’s a fantastic deal for us. My accountant said to me, “Hey Paul, do you know what business you’re in?” I said, “Well, the water business, obviously. He goes, “No, no, no.” The real estate business?” And he says, “Well, sure. But not really.” And I said, “All right, I give up. What business am I in?”

Paul Koenig:
He said, “You’re in the annuity creation business when you do this. You’ve created an annuity. It’s a closed equation. Everything is all guaranteed and locked in. You’re creating an annuity. And if you give your investors that want to get in on extra deals, a piece of that annuity, that’s fine because you get to keep the other part of it for the company for growth and for the company. So, split off part of that. That’s fine. You can give away on a New York and Baltic Avenue and Atlantic Avenue, that’s fine. And as long as you have all the rest of them, those are all great properties. You keep the bulk of the properties, but give some of the good properties away. If somebody wants Park Place given them Park Place. That’s fine. If they want Boardwalk and you can keep the rest of it, that’s fine. They can have the blue pieces in Monopoly and you get the green ones and yellows and all the other stuff. That’s fine.”

Paul Koenig:
And so we look at it that way. We give a piece of the annuity back and make this an annuity deal. And the only problem is, is that annuities don’t seem too flashy and exciting.

Jason Williams:
No, definitely true. They’re a great way to make money and to generate steady income. But you’re absolutely right. They’re not flashy. They’re not exciting. They’re like stocks that pay dividends. They’re the best ones to have in your portfolio, but they’re not the ones that you really want to talk about at a dinner party.

Paul Koenig:
Yeah. If you’re actually looking at this as an investment and comparing it to other things that are out there and you understand what the investment is, you’re not going to beat 17%. It’s ridiculous. But that’s what we’re making. We don’t mind giving you guys Park Place or Boardwalk. That’s fine. And give you a piece of the deal just like we have it, but we’re keeping 95% of the deal for us. So why not pay? Why not give 5% of the deal to the investor? We’re transparent. All our financials are listed. You can do the numbers, run the numbers on the deal. We’re getting, where it’s a $5 million property, we put 10% down, 15% down in some cases. And it’s roughly a $4.5 million loan and 2.6% interest rate. And we get $410,000 a year in rents.

Paul Koenig:
We make a lot more. We make about that same amount in our revenue generating machine. So, you can see, we just doubled our income with the same expenses. That’s why, getting back to the machine, it actually being very important with all the bells and whistles of the clean air and the clean water, we doubled our cashflow. There’s plenty of cash to go around. Now it’s like, “Let’s do as many of these as we can.”

Jason Williams:
Yeah.

Paul Koenig:
And that’s why, let’s just be upfront, 17% straight and simple. That’s what we’re making. Let’s do as many of these as we can. So that’s why we’re at the 17%, why we’re a debt deal. We feel we’re more transparent and excited about it.

Jason Williams:
No, I like it. You may not be able to get equity in the company and become an equity partner, but you really are treated as a partner as far as that 17% return. And I think that’s really uncommon in the crowdfunding space. We had talked a little bit about crowdfunding. People look for the lottery ticket and everybody wants to get that lottery ticket. And we’re definitely looking for those too. We’d love to invest that $100 and cash it out as $100,000. But you come into that with the knowledge that when you’re doing those kinds of investments, that the majority of them aren’t going to work out. But the ones that do are going to make up for that. But you really still need to be diversified. You want to have a more diverse portfolio and getting some debt in there is just great. You’ve got that income that you can rely on. And if in three years, you guys decide that you want to do an actual equity funding round, then you can reinvest that interest back into the company.

Jason Williams:
I swear by that. I tell everybody if you don’t need the dividend payments that you’re getting now, reinvest those dividend payments into your portfolio. Don’t spend the money. If you need the money, spend the money. That’s what’s great about the income is that it’s steady, it’s income. You can rely on it; you know that it’s going to be there. But if you don’t need it, you can reinvest that, you can compound that and it will be worth even more later.

Paul Koenig:
I think. We contemplated doing an equity deal. And when you do the math, it’s right at that three-year mark, you’re probably looking at around a 12, 13% return that we’re making. And when you factor in depreciation, you are probably at that 17% range. But are people really, when you’re investing anywhere from $500 to $10,000, the average investor at $500, are they really going to value or are they going to be sophisticated enough to get that on their tax return in the right way to take advantage of the depreciation to make that count and appear as if it was 17%? I don’t know. I think on average, probably not.

Paul Koenig:
And then what happens when we sell in recapture and then you have to do an accounting to recapture all that. The government wants to recapture all that depreciation that you took back. And that’s why we just went straight debt deal because it’s very upfront. What we take care of all that just pay you the straight interest rate. You’re making what we’re making and people aren’t missing out on those depreciation and recapture opportunities or downfalls.

Jason Williams:
Yep. No, that can definitely get really complicated in the accounting side, the tax side of it. I mean, the taxes are complicated enough as it is without adding that extra wrinkle. But yeah, I love the debt deal and I’m all about some diversification. So, I really liked getting that here into our portfolio and I couldn’t have dreamt of a better company to be completely honest. I mean everything about it.

Paul Koenig:
You’re right.

Jason Williams:
I’m glad you feel that way. But no, I mean everything about it. I couldn’t find anything wrong with it. And I really tried. My parents, I mentioned that my dad grew up on a farm, but both my parents went and they got their doctorates in biology and they worked in the pharmaceutical industry. And my dad taught me that as a scientist, your job is to try and prove yourself wrong. It’s not to prove yourself right. It’s to prove yourself wrong. So, I looked at this and I said, “This looks like a good investment. What am I missing? What’s wrong with it?” And the more I read into it that I couldn’t find anything, the more I found that I liked the extra jobs that you’re creating. I liked the environmental impact of not having these manure ponds around, of being able to recycle that liquid, of taking a cost center and turning it into a revenue stream by being able to sell that dry fertilizer or the dry side of it.

Jason Williams:
Given a better image, making the neighborhood better for everybody around you, so that they don’t have to deal with the smell and also giving the animals a better place to live. Because as the son of a son of a farmer, I understand the farmers really do care about their animals. That’s their livelihood and they love their farms, they love their animals. That’s why so many families refuse to sell the farm because it’s part of us, it’s part of your blood. And seeing a company come out and say not only are we taking care of the farmers and we’re taking care of the customers, but we provide a better environment for the animals. We reduce their levels of stress. The animals have a better life. They grow faster, they grow bigger, they grow stronger. And they’re just under less stress.

Jason Williams:
I think that’s important to a lot of people outside of farming. People who want to know where their food came from, know that it had a good life, that somebody read it a bedtime story at night. I joke a little bit about that, but people want to know that the food that they’re eating is sustainably and raised in like a healthy environment and an environment that’s good for it, that’s good for the community, that’s good for the global community. It really excited me seeing that the Viroment was able to sort of combine all of those things and have such a good margin.

Paul Koenig:
You’re so right. When I grew up on a farm, you always hear like when something is sustainable, all I hear is it’s more expensive, not interested. And we’re at a point in our society where you have to have sustainability involved. It’s really been a coming of age for me learning how important sustainability is. And I think like it or not, we all are environmentalist. I mean, we all know hey, don’t dump your tractor oil and just go burn it in the pit. You got to dispose of it properly because nothing will grow there for a number of years. And we didn’t do that. We knew that growing up, nobody wants to give in to being an environmentalist.

Paul Koenig:
But what I did learn along the way after my real estate career is that there’s actually a formula for this. And it’s called a triple bottom line, triple net, bottom line. Well, I don’t know the exact name of it, but being truly sustainable. I always look at it like the single source recycling. Are you familiar with single source recycling? So, at our house, we have a brown garbage can, and then we have a brown garbage can with an orange top on it. Or a lot of times there’ll be a green garbage can. You throw all your recyclables in there, glass, plastic, whatever, anything that’s got the symbol on it, you throw it in there. And what happens is you didn’t use it at first all that much, but you finally figured, gosh, you know what? I don’t need to pay for the large garbage can anymore because I’m getting two garbage cans for the price of one.

Paul Koenig:
So what you do is, is it easy for the public to use? Absolutely. It’s very easy. In fact, I love it. Is it less costly? Yeah, because I get two for one. And then does it help the environment? Well, of course. So, you got those three different spokes in the wheel or a triangle all pointing to be successful. So, when you translate that model over into what we’re using, you say, “Hey, is this machine, is this barn, is it easy to use?” Yeah. Is it better for the environment? Well, of course. Cleaner water, cleaner air, less off the grid, creates jobs, all that good stuff. Everything is fantastic.

Paul Koenig:
And then is it profitable? Does it make money? Yeah. And so that’s why our model works so well. You don’t have to try hard like other companies or other things to try and somehow fake fit in there. It just fits in there naturally. It makes a lot of money. It’s really good in a huge way for the environment. And it’s ultra-easy to use. In fact, it’s easier to have our system than to do it the old way, hauling thousands and thousands and thousands, actually it’s millions, millions, and millions of gallons from a facility out on a farm. You just set our machine. It’s like, I’ll borrow a phrase from one of my favorite guys, set it and forget it. It runs by itself. It runs 24 hours. It’s low maintenance. It just keeps plugging and plugging. It recycles all the manure in real time. So, all that manure is fresh going through there and extrapolated and you get fresh water in the pits every single day.

Jason Williams:
That’s great. So, it’s not sitting around at all. It’s just as soon as they make it and the machines are processing that.

Paul Koenig:
Right, right. And we found that the nutrient value when we process it faster, because it’s not gassing off, breaking down and decomposing, we’re actually extrapolating all those nutrients out of there. And it’s a much, much higher value by-product that we’re creating to be marketed on the commodity market.

Jason Williams:
Oh, that’s very interesting. So even if a farmer were spreading manure before you, they’re getting basically better than one.

Paul Koenig:
Far better. A lot of this stuff sits around for anywhere from six months, but more likely a year before it’s pumped. That’s why you drive by these large mega farms and you’re smelling all that. Everything you’re smelling, that comes from somewhere, those are all nutrients, that’s all nitrogen and going off into the H2S04 and the rotten egg smell, gassing off, greenhouse gases. It’s just money going up in the air. And when we’re capturing that, it’s a massive difference.

Jason Williams:
That’s really impressive. You guys have had some updates posted on the website, surveys in, and the one that really made me smile and laugh a little bit was the permit approval for a manure, like a sludge pond, that you have to get a permit for approval to build a sludge pond even though you guys have eliminated the need for a sludge pond. That made me smile because bureaucracy makes that kind of sense, that you got to get a permit for something that you don’t need.

Paul Koenig:
So, they’re excited about it at the state level, but we can’t just change things overnight just because we want to. So, we’ll take about a year, year and a half, and we’ll be able to reduce the size of the sludge pond or even eliminate it. You’re required to have one, I think, 18 months’ worth of retention in your sludge pond. So, what we’re going to do, because we’re taking out all of the nutrients, we’re actually going to have koi in that fish pond. And then it’s our first one. It’ll be a showcase and investors that have invested 10,000 or more, they’re invited to come to our grand opening and there’ll be, I believe the Governor Ricketts will be there. And some other dignitaries, hopefully. Well, depending on what happens with COVID and everything.

Jason Williams:
Right.

Paul Koenig:
But they’ll be able to meet all the players involved, all the lessee. And there’ll be a lot of the locals in there. A lot of the people that we’re providing jobs to will be there. But we’ll go down there after the tour and we’ll go down to the sludge pond, there’ll be a koi in there.

Jason Williams:
That’s really cool.

Paul Koenig:
Swimming around.

Jason Williams:
That’s really-

Paul Koenig:
So, Jason, I’d like to be the first to invite you to bring your swim trunks. You can go at, no. No, but it’ll be clean.

Jason Williams:
That’s great. That’s great. I would love to be there to see it. That would be really cool to see it in person. Normally, under normal circumstances, I would have wanted to try it and get out there to meet you in person anyway. It’s been a little bit tough this year, but yeah, I would definitely love to do that. I think that’s really neat. That’s awesome that, well, we have to build the pond, so we may as well put some fish in it.

Paul Koenig:
Right. No, it’ll be great. I think that makes a big statement that if you have fish growing in there, then there must be something [crosstalk 00:11:50].

Jason Williams:
Definitely. I mean, they’re super-duper sensitive to anything in that water. So, if there’s anything bad in there, those fish aren’t going to make it. It’s a great way of showing how good this technology is and how much it helps. I really love it. So [crosstalk 00:12:11].

Paul Koenig:
Excited about it.

Jason Williams:
I bet. I bet. I’m not surprised. What kind of milestones are we looking at? You said it’ll probably be within a year or so of getting this first big facility up and running.

Paul Koenig:
Well, actually, it’s going to be a little bit sooner than that. So, we had 120 day wait. Along the way we decided to move the site to a better location, a little more strategic. It was a more perfect site. So, we had a little bit of a setback for two weeks. It was 120 days plus two weeks, but we did get it a little bit sooner than that, but it was still over that 120 days, which is the requirement for them to get it back to us. And then at that point, once that’s approved, then we could do our final survey.

Jason Williams:
Okay.

Paul Koenig:
And so we just got that back and then we do the lot split and a lot of this stuff happens fairly fast. The biggest thing that we’re waiting on right now is we changed lenders. We’re actually working with the fifth largest bank in the world now. Fantastic rates. We actually qualify for a swap rate, which is about 1% less than anywhere else that you’d get. Instead of 3.6, we’re about 2.6, 2.7 in that range, which is fantastic. Fixed for, we were hoping for 15, it’s actually going to be locked in at a little bit better rate like that for 12 years, but that’s well past the three-year investment that we’re proposing to the Wefunder investors.

Paul Koenig:
So we’re muddling through that as fast as we can, and title work. And so, we figure we’ll start construction hopefully first or second week in November at the latest, depending on where stuff comes back. Hey, if it happens at the end of October, that’s fantastic. Then we’ll start the dirt work. So, if you say it’s November 1st plus or minus a week or two, start to finish is 90 to 120 days. 120 days later, we have the party and then we have it washed down one more time because people would be in there and then the pigs move in. So, it’s really about a, well, it’ll be probably at that 110, 120, 125-day mark. Pigs will move in from November 1st. And then the lease starts clicking along at a very handsome cash flowing pace.

Jason Williams:
That’s really impressive. That’s a nice, quick process. Once you get all of the paperwork and the legal stuff in place, that sounds like a very quick process to get the farm up and the pigs moved in, or the barns up, excuse me.

Paul Koenig:
And something we haven’t announced to anyone. So, I’ll announce it here. We actually had a supplier in the barns, they supply about a half a million dollars’ worth of materials. They came to us and they said, “Hey, is there any room for us to be part of the deal?” And we said, “Well, if we have to put 15% down, and you’re 10% of the deal and you can contribute, yeah, sure. Come on board. You can be a partner in these deals. We’ll do more.” So, I had said, “Well, if we’re going to do this, I’d like to do a 10 pack of these $5 million facilities.” So, he gets up on the board. He draws 15 circles instead and says, “Okay. So, if we do this many,” I said, “Well, if you want to do 15, that’s fine.” So, he made quite a contribution, quite a commitment. And so, I mean, half a million dollars to have 15 properties and he wants to do unlimited. And they’re a massive, massive supplier, great guys. And it just so happens that they’ve actually done deals with my partner, Russ, in the past.

Paul Koenig:
And so they have a relationship. They love it. They’re fantastic, family-owned company. Done very, very well. They ship products all over the United States. Very, very solid. Very, very good people. So that’s another reason and we’ll put it on our balance sheet. So, we got to pay the accountant to have everything updated. And I don’t know if there’ll be time to get it posted on Wefunder before the end of October when our investment cycle is set to end on there. But we just got a large influx on our balance sheet that’s a pretty massive commitment.

Jason Williams:
I mean, that’s really impressive. I think that really says a lot about the technology and the company that one of your customers wants to become a partner, wants to really like get in on these deals and sees the value in them after working with you already and wants to put their own money up. I think that really says more than anything I can say or anything that you can say. And the fact that you put so much up to get the company going also says a lot. If you didn’t have faith in this, if you didn’t have confidence in what you were doing, you wouldn’t be putting your own money up for this. You’d be looking for other people’s money. And you got everything started by yourself and then seeing customers come in and wanting to put their money up front up on it, I think that says a lot. It says a lot about the technology, about how well it works, about how good it is for farmers, for the environment and for the animals.

Paul Koenig:
Oh yeah. Thank you. I appreciate the compliment and everything. And we’re excited to have him onboard. I mean, what a huge vote of confidence when somebody makes a commitment for almost seven and a half million dollars’ worth of materials and says, “I’m in.” I mean, and to trust you on that level, it’s great. I mean, he did vet the deal. He did look at everything. He does know our leasing company because he sells a lot of product for buildings that these clients lease. It wasn’t like it was Paul that still had to sell him too hard here, but no, he’s fantastic.

Paul Koenig:
When we got involved, I’m looking at the Wefunder page right now. I mean, we have 175 investors that are putting cash into this. Most of them, we don’t know. I mean, what a vote of confidence. They look at your stuff, you put it out there, you put your heart into the videos, do as good as you can. We don’t hire a marketing company. Everything you see is done by Russ, Chris and I, as best we can, we’re learning on the fly and-

Jason Williams:
I think you guys are doing a really good job.

Paul Koenig:
Oh, thanks. I mean, and then we get a lot of positive notes. I mean, you’ll see on our site, so we’ll have a third of the investors or half of the investors, but we’ll have just as much if not more money. But when we post something with the feedback and the time people take to give valid comments, ask questions, give enthusiastic comments is second to none. We have a very, very intelligent, involved, smart investors and it creates a lot of energy and you get so pumped. And when I’m driving five and a half, six hours down every time I go down to Nebraska to meet with the team and do stuff down there and you look on there and you see the comments come through, it’s pretty energizing. And it passes the time really, really well on those long trips. So, I’m very thankful for that. And a lot of them are the people that read your newsletter and respond. They’re the most enthusiastic of all. I mean, it’s fantastic.

Jason Williams:
I mean, we’re excited about it. I think it’s a great deal. I think it’s a great company. Honestly, the only thing that I didn’t like about the deal was that we couldn’t get a piece of the equity, but I’m totally okay with that because you guys really broke it down. You didn’t try and sell people a lottery ticket. You sold people the real deal. You sold people the real company, you gave them the actual details. And I really liked that. And like you said, a lot of these people on Wefunder, you don’t know them. They don’t know you. And that’s sort of what I hope this video at least for my readers and my investors that it sort of does help them get to know and establish a personal connection, because I feel like having a personal connection and really seeing that it’s another person. It’s not a company, it’s not something that you can’t really wrap your head around, some big entity, it’s people, and that’s what we’re focused on here. That’s what we think is really important is the people.

Paul Koenig:
You know, in my past real estate life when we’re giving these houses to people that were really in need, and super thankful I was blessed to be involved with really, really good people, and they always paid the rent on time, because you treated them really well, we had those connections, and even five years after I was out, I never did any advertising, no nothing. My phone was still ringing. “Do you have any places I can rent from you?” It was that strong. I jump fast forward to today’s business, these people that are down in Nebraska and all involved, they are the hardest working, nice good guys, Saturday, Sunday, the emails are coming through. The phone calls, the text messages, personal messages, these are people that are not afraid to work. I think I mentioned to you before, I played college football for the Gophers, Division 1, and I’m not saying I was any superstar, but I’m not a slosh when it comes to size. These guys make me look like a little boy. They’re so huge. Chris is six foot five, 260, 270. I feel like the smallest person.

Paul Koenig:
I go to Vietnam or China and I’m a giant. Then I come to Nebraska and I feel like I should be going to grade school. These are hardworking, just good old hardworking good guys. It’s a pleasure to be down there.

Jason Williams:
That’s great. That is great. Going out to visit my grandparents farm as a kid, you meet some of the greatest people out there. I always said, farmers and I got to feel like protein farmers and grain farmers very similar. Some of the most faithful people in the world. As a grain farmer, you put seed in the ground, and then you put water on top of it, and you have faith that’s going to create a harvest for you.

Jason Williams:
I think it’s similar with the protein side. You either have them, raise them yourselves, or buy suckling pigs and you bring them in and you raise them and take care of them and you have faith, you have trust that they’re going to provide for you.

Paul Koenig:
Yeah, and you know Ken, the most interesting thing when you go down there, we go to a little hole in a wall, we have our lunch meetings and different stuff. You go down there, you get a cheeseburger, fries, and a coke. And for three of us it was a $20 bill and it actually included a $7 tip.

Jason Williams:
Wow. That’s awesome.

Paul Koenig:
It’s like holy cow, how can a cheeseburger and fries $2.60? I’m like wow. And it was good, it was big. It’s just a pleasure to be down there. It reminds you of … It’s just Main Street. And these guys are not afraid of hard work and to provide jobs in that area, and clean up the environment and get rid of the small and create food and protein. They’re cranking out the protein, cranking out the corn, and they’re not afraid of hard work and it’s really good to see the money, the tax money, the revenues, the people making the money pumping that money back into the infrastructures, better schools, better roads, better everything. You couldn’t be investing in more realistic good hardworking people.

Jason Williams:
I think that’s great. I didn’t even think about that originally, but you just mentioned it, the schools, the roads. Just everything in those communities is going to be able to be improved because of this extra money coming in.

Paul Koenig:
Yeah. And these guys are absolutely rabid Nebraska Cornhusker fans, so that’s the only thing, thank God my Gophers, thank God for P.J. Fleck and rowing the ball, because we won this last year. I think it’s an early December Gophers are scheduled to go down there and play and I’m told I have to show my face and go to the sky box from the lessee actually has a 50-yard line sky box, and has the connections and stuff. I just hope they win. I hope we win. It will be humbling if … Right now, I’ve got bragging rights and I’m feeling pretty good about everything.

Jason Williams:
Right, right, I totally understand, totally understand that. Yep, I wish your Gophers luck, I definitely do. But you know, if the Cornhuskers win, you can let them have that for a year I think and then come back.

Paul Koenig:
Right. You got to let them win once in a while. When I played the Cornhuskers actually beat us, I think it was 70 to nothing. It feels really good for me to see our Gophers win once in a while. And my son is one of the top recruits in Minnesota, and Nebraska I’d be proud for him to play there. He’s going to come with me, and we’ll see if those guys are going to be all over him to try and get him, rip him and see if they can coax him to come down there. It will be a fun school to play there. I’d like to see him play for the Gophers, but if he plays ball there, that would be awesome. He’s only 10th grade, but he’s quite a bit bigger than me, 6’5, 220 and he actually has entered some strong man lifting competitions. He actually can leg press almost 1200 pounds, I think 11 or 1200 pounds. He’s everything I wish I was. I’m like wow. My wife has all these big relatives on her side.

Paul Koenig:
And he comes down there and he helps run, we run this machine and do demonstrations and he’s lugging bags around and lugging stuff around and getting dirty. It’s good stuff. I can’t say enough good stuff about the people down there and getting my family involved and getting him involved.

Jason Williams:
I was going to say, I’m glad to hear that your son’s involved with it, because it sounds like these facilities could outlast even you. You’re not an old guy yet, but if these facilities can last 40, 45 years, we’re talking about, you’ll be in your 90s maybe even 100 by then, so this could be definitely a multi-generational company as well.

Paul Koenig:
People always say I look a little bit younger than my age, but I think it’s because I’m fat. It pushes any wrinkles that would be here out. I’m afraid to lose weight, because I’ll probably look my age or worse. I got to keep those cheeseburgers going.

Jason Williams:
Very true, very true. All my uncles and grandfathers and things like that out on the farm, they did not start to look old until they got really old when they started to lose weight. They always looked super young and super healthy, and then all of a sudden, they hit maybe their late 70s and started losing some weight. I was like, “Wow, Uncle Owen’s really old. What happened?”

Paul Koenig:
Oh, funny. Yeah. And I have to do these videos all the time. In the beginning I’m like I need to lose some weight, I need to look a lot better, because other people on the Wefunder page is like they all look like supermodels or hired models, and then there’s me, I’m like I better start losing weight, but then we’re working and doing stuff all the time, or we flew to Europe to go have this meeting, it’s like cheese, cheese, cheese. It’s like I’d like to go to the bathroom at least once while I’m here. And that’s all you eat. It’s like I got to start watching the diet.

Jason Williams:
Right. And I thought we didn’t eat many salads in America Midwest, you’re in Europe and all they want is cheese.

Paul Koenig:
Right. So, I’m working on it.

Jason Williams:
Oh, well we all are. It’s always a constant progress, constant battle. I think you got a great company, Paul, I really, really like it. And honestly, the more I talk to you, the more I like you, and the happier I am that we invested with you. Like I said, people are very important, and the team that’s running the company is really important. You can have the greatest idea in the world, and if you don’t have a good team to execute it, if you don’t have good people working on it, then you’re more than likely going to fail, no matter how great that idea is. And even if your idea is the next, I don’t know, Amazon’s a great example. One of the most successful companies ever. If you don’t have that driving force, the people behind it to make it a reality, then you’re just another failed online company. I talk to you and I hear from you and hearing about your experience and hearing about all the travel and all the trips that you’re doing, I think it’s really impressive.

Jason Williams:
I didn’t mention this to our readers, but I definitely want to mention it on the video here, because I think it speaks to how influential your technology and your company could be in that you’re going on these trade missions to Vietnam, China, and you’re in there with the CEOs of companies like Boeing, and these huge multi-billion dollar corporations, and then Paul Koenig environment. And I just think that’s great, because obviously anybody can see how these multi-billion dollar corporations influence the world, but people are environment is going to influence the world.

Paul Koenig:
You know, sometimes people say, maybe it’s because I don’t know any better, sometimes I forget, it’s like the little dog, he thinks he’s a big dog, or he doesn’t even know he’s a little dog. I think that’s kind of how it is. I really attribute our success, Russ and Chris are the same as me. If you ever heard of Ron Popeil and the set it and forget it, he’s tons and tons of inventions. He was interviewed about 20 years ago on I think Oprah Winfrey or something like that, and somebody said, “Hey, how do you come up with these inventions?” And he said, “Well you know really anybody can do it. I just have slightly above average intelligence, but anybody can invent if they want to.” And everybody’s like, oh so skeptical, “Yeah, sure.”

Paul Koenig:
They said, “How long does it take you to invent something?” And he said, “For the typical person, probably 17 to 18 hours. I can do it in 14 because I have practice.” And they’re like, “What are you talking …” He says, “But, what you have to do is you have to sit down, try not to eat too much, no bathroom break, no cell phone, no distractions, anything.” This is undivided thinking time. And you start to think, “When do I do my best thinking?” In the shower, on long drives, or when I’m sitting and everything’s off. He says, “You have to remove all distractions.”

Paul Koenig:
And I learned that skill early on, and I’m very confident I can figure anything out given enough time, undivided attention to it. So, I’ve taken that skill and I’m willing to dedicate my time to figuring any obstacles out, and I’m very confident in my ability to figure things out, because I’m willing to put that undivided attention time.

Paul Koenig:
Now, to my family, that can be quite annoying a lot of times. But sometimes you just got to do that. So I’ll leave you with this is that I believe I’m smart, I believe I’m talented, but I might not be as smart as the CEO of Boeing International is sat by or the GM International and any of those guys or talented as they are, but I guarantee that I’m going to put in the time, put in the work, so that at the end of the day my deals are going to be better, faster, and stronger, and more solid than theirs are. And the Boeing deal fell apart with China. The Alaska deal fell apart. We were the number six largest deal with China.

Paul Koenig:
Now, it’s not closed, and the check isn’t cashed, it takes a long time to do these large deals. We were the sixth largest deal and we were the only environmental deal as well. And we were the only deal that did a deal privately with the government, so we have a lot of good things for us, and so we’re in the vetting stage and we’ve already settled on where we’re at, and actually it was an 800-million-dollar deal, plus another 100, 900 million dollar deal, all straight financing, they cover everything. I have to cover the upfront, the validation part of it and stuff. Any disputes are settled in the Singapore courts. So, they have Bank of China’s here, so if they violate or steal anything, we just go to Chicago, Bank of China and make a withdrawal.

Paul Koenig:
It’s rock solid. We did a lot of things right, but we had high power people, and we sat down and we thought it out, we spent a lot of dedicated time, we utilized U.S. commercial services, and solidified that deal, and made it just great. But fast forward to the deal we have that we’re talking about today, the Nebraska deal, the Barnes and everything, there were hurdles along the way, there were issues, but we sat down and we figured those out, and we took a lot of man hours, and a lot of time. And the average guy can’t do that. The average farmer that wants to build a 2400 head site, zero negotiating power with the lessee with the county, state. They have to do the labor themselves too. They can’t negotiate with the banks, nothing. But we’ve taken the time, and we’ve hit all of those categories, and it’s a fantastic deal, and we’re super high powered in that area, because we did all the right things and took the time. We didn’t just stumble upon; this has been a deal two years in the making.

Jason Williams:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). No, I think that’s great. And it’s sort of a common theme with a lot of the companies that we’ve invested with here at Main Street Ventures. Is that it seems that the teams, the founders, the people behind the ideas, you won’t look at a problem, and you don’t see a problem, you see a challenge that you can overcome. You see the opportunity to overcome, or to come up with a new solution with a different solution, with a better solution.

Jason Williams:
There have been some people that I’ve talked to that they’ve gone to big institutions, and the big institutions have just said, “Nope, not possible. You just can’t do that.” And I think that for those big institutions that yeah, those ideas probably aren’t possible, because they think they’re impossible. But for the people that they really do think they can do it; they’re going to find a way to do it. They’re going to find a solution, and I’ve always really loved the saying that whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re probably right. If you think you can do it, you’re probably right, and if you think you can’t, you’re probably right. It’s all about thinking that you can, and coming up with that solution and realizing that it’s not really a problem, it’s not a roadblock, that it’s just an opportunity to overcome something. I really like that.

Paul Koenig:
Yeah, we touch on how we came up with our invention, it was along the same lines of putting in the hard work and just dedicating a few hours of time to figure it out. These machines have been … The core base technology the machine, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, the wine industry, they all use them. All the Fortune 500 companies that manufacture any type of food all use these machines, but because they’re built pretty wimpy for those applications, just filtering out low amount of solids, how do you apply it to the high heavy-duty industrial solids and work with that Play-Doh. Well, all you do is you recirculate your own water that you filter, and make it wetter to fit on the machine to make it dryer. Within a few hours, we figured out how to recycle that, realized nobody had patented that and we beefed up the horsepower on the machines, then we took an archaic type machine, loaded it with up-to-date PLC controls and panels and software and everything and then boom, there you have it. A slight modification on something that’s been proven for years and years. It’s 100-year-old plus technology and other industries updated it to today’s standards and knocked it out of the park for higher and industrial solids.

Jason Williams:
That’s really amazing. You’re right, it is a very, very simple change, but a very, very important one.

Paul Koenig:
Right. It couldn’t be more simple. While I like to be the proud inventor, and I have my name on a patent and everything, it’s really just that it wouldn’t work unless you added water and recycled this to it. We just found a way to make it work, and nobody really cared in the industry, because the manure farmer doesn’t have the interest in figuring this out, because like I said, it costs about a million and a quarter for me to figure this out. Before we started the interview, I told you that’s how much we have into it. Do you think anyone at the city or municipality at the waste water treatment plant is going to put their job on the line to try and find a different technology? No, they want to buy third party stuff and not put a risk out there.

Paul Koenig:
So we’re finding that every industry that we had that was the higher volume solids, waste sludge solids, there was little to no new motivation or no resources, because everything’s low margin and high volume. So, I stumbled upon an industry that was very, very ripe for change and nobody was really trying to change.

Jason Williams:
No, that’s great. And so we’ve been focusing on the hog farms and the protein producers, but this is actually applicable to waste water treatment plants like wherever they do-

Paul Koenig:
Yeah, sewage and landfill leachate, so the landfill you get water, it goes through all the trash and garbage, and then they have to filter those solids and recoup that water or reuse it, so it doesn’t just go leach out into the water streams, or into the water tables.

Paul Koenig:
So it’s great for that, and then these two guys from Nebraska, Russ and Chris they said, “Hey, we’d love to put one machine in.” And here I’m talking, dealing with China with these large machines that are the size of a tractor trailer and they said, “We need a machine for this barn, and it’s going to be the size of my desk.” And I’m like, “What’s the motivation?” So, they ended up coming down to Houston, when I had the Chinese delegation come there, and they loved it. They said, “We have to look at this.” I’m like, “Well fine, I have some time. I can’t be flying back and forth from China all the time.” So, I can drive down there and be on the phone. So, we vetted this out, and I realized that it makes a huge difference to the cashflow, and wait a minute, they’ll do guaranteed 15-year leases, that’s a lot better than my one-year section eight guaranteed leases. And these are billion-dollar companies. Let’s build barn, throw the technology in for free, take the manure off their hands, and we’ll go market that elsewhere and just make this a real estate deal. And that’s really the story of how we got started and how I ended up in Nebraska. And these guys couldn’t be more fantastic, and everywhere I look, it’s, can it really be this simple? But yet the billion-dollar company, they can’t tie up their assets.

Paul Koenig:
They want to own the pigs. They want to own the sow’s, the mama pigs. They want to own the breeding. They want to provide the labor. They also own the packing plants as well. So that’s control. That’s a difference between the little guys and the big guys and the big guys always take care of the big guys first. And they don’t want to own and put all the capital into barns, but they’ll sign these big-time leases. So, it just works out and it couldn’t be any better. We couldn’t be more pleased with this, but like I said, it didn’t happen overnight. And we had to figure all this stuff out and we’re glad we took the time to do it because the deal is fantastic.

Jason Williams:
Yeah. I’m really glad you took the time to do it too. I think it’s great. I’ll tell you what now, realizing that this is applicable to sewage treatment, we need to introduce him to some people here in Maryland. There’s a sewage treatment plant and I think you’ll appreciate this as a former football player, especially after our conversation about the Cornhuskers and the Gophers going to be playing. There’s a sewage treatment plant just outside the city of Baltimore. And it sort of rides the dividing line between two towns and every year, people from those two towns get together and play a football game. And the loser takes ownership of the plant is in their town for the rest of that year. And if the, I keep my boat over near there and man on the wrong day, it is a very ripe smell over there. And that’s why the loser of that football game has to claim ownership of the plant for the year.

Paul Koenig:
The first time that we were doing sewage, we put the sewage in… By the way, they haul it around at one to 2% solid so rest of it is water. When they usually clean out their sludge ponds and haul it on fields, or when they pump it into what you’re talking about, like when it gets pumped in, those solids, we put that in our machine. It was about 110 degrees. It was hot, so hot. We were pounding the water in central Missouri, when we were doing our testing. And so, we ran out of water bottles. So, we were just filling water out of our test tube, like canning jars. And so, we kept getting samples and I picked it up and I darn near drank the sewage water. I had it up to my mouth and one of my guys says, “”Hey, don’t drink that. That’s the sample water. And I’m like, I looked at him like, “Surely you’re joking.” I thought it was out of the ground water. It was so crystal clear.

Jason Williams:
It came out of the machine.

Paul Koenig:
Yeah. And so, we knocked it out of the park, this sewage. It’s absolutely amazing.

Jason Williams:
That’s great. That’s really impressive. I think that, I mean, man, if you want to show people, how good of a job that the technology does, taking a drink from the other end of the machine is not a bad way to do it.

Paul Koenig:
Right. I always say, it’s so clean, you can drink it. I wouldn’t, but you can. No, I actually, we have an… So, we’ve evolved since then. And now we’ve added an ECO, electric coagulation unit machine. It kills all the pathogens, viruses, bacteria, everything in it, it blows up the salt walls and everything. So, you actually would… It actually would be safe to drink.

Jason Williams:
That’s excellent. That’s very impressive. I mean, and I can see applications for that all over the place. Potable water, we talk about the world’s made… 70% of the world’s covered with water, but almost all of that water is undrinkable. I think something like less than 1% of all of the water on the planet is actually safe for human consumption. And a lot of it’s because of all of the dissolved solids, chemicals, bacteria, viruses, all the little pathogens living in there. And look at you guys, taking all of that stuff out and coming up with pure clean H2O at the end.

Paul Koenig:
Yeah. Versus you think of the stink and the stench and everything and the flies and all that different stuff that the old way does. And then here you can’t even tell if it’s drinking water or not. In our case, it’ll be that kind of quality. That’s what we’re returning to the environment. And that’s what we’re refilling the pits with underneath the hog’s slats. And, it just, and we couldn’t be more proud of what we’re doing. It’s just super cool. I mean, the guys, we just giggle that it’s like, “Wow, I can’t believe we’re doing this. This is just so cool.” Because it’s such a drastic change to the industry.

Jason Williams:
It does sound like it. And that it’s so simple, very, very simple, but very, very effective.

Paul Koenig:
Yeah. And not to mention, it moves, it reduces… So our big thing is we’re reducing the sludge footprint and to put that in perspective, a big tractor with a tanker behind it has to drive the equivalent, for a size facility we build, drives the equivalent of taking that tractor and driving it at very few miles an hour from Omaha, Nebraska to Sydney, Australia, assuming you could drive it straight there. Our system will be a semi-tractor trailer driven the equivalent of 50 miles.

Jason Williams:
Wow. That’s just really impressive. You’re reducing, it’s really, it’s like a triple threat, you’re helping the farmers, helping the environment around the farms, but then overall, really just helping the environment in general. I mean, that’s got to reduce tons of carbon emissions, not having to drag all of that liquid around, because like you said, now, when they’re hauling this liquid manure and 98% of what they’re hauling is water. And you’re able to get that out of there so that they’re just hauling the actual nutrient, the valuable part of it.

Paul Koenig:
Yeah. It’s a lot of diesel, a lot of labor, a lot of wear and tear on the roads, compaction in the fields and not to mention all the carbon emissions in… It’s just not efficient. That’s a lot of diesel fuel to move and consume when we’re trying to get more towards carbon neutral or energy positive or whatever you want to call it. When you can wipe off that tractor going to Sydney, Australia, that distance and reduce it just to a truck efficiently driving 60 miles, 50 miles, to move those, to transport those now valuable commodities that we can have and cashflow be reused in a much better way with all the algae and the leaching into the waterways and everything and the misapplications because you don’t know how thick or not thick or potent the product is. It’s just such a win. And it gets right back to that single sort, recycling. It’s easy to use, People in the environment, it’s good for the environment and hey, you make more money doing it this way. It’s win, win, win.

Jason Williams:
It really is. It’s great, Paul and I’ve kept you on here for a while. I don’t want to take too much of your time, take you away from your family for too much. I know you’ve got some football games coming up for your son and I know you’ve got some [crosstalk 00:07:50].

Paul Koenig:
Hey, I’ll take as much time as you need because your investors are hot and they’re smart. So, I’m excited. I’m excited about what you do. So, hey, this is a priority for us. We’re excited about how you’ve displayed our company, things that you’ve written. Hey, you personally, when we hung up the phone the initial time, and you actually personally invested a few minutes later, I’m like, “Wow, who is this guy?” You’ve bought in… You’ve been a great advocate for us and, and digging down and letting your readers know what you… Not only do you put your money where your mouth is, you stand behind it. You check in with me from time to time and see how things are going to take a deep dive. I think before this interview even started, we just got to know each other even better by talking for an hour, hour plus beforehand.

Paul Koenig:
I mean, you really dig in and you find out what… Hey, people are going to invest with people that they like or understand. And that’s what I got out of that is I like you. I buy in to you, you buy in to me and you see if we’re a good fit. And I think we are a good fit. Your investors seem to be a good fit, and I’m happy to put in the time, work hard for your guys and take them along for the ride because I’ve done all the work. It’s a great equation. We’re excited about that. And there’s plenty of room for everybody. They want to build 350 of these barns in this area. There’s that much capacity and need at the packing plants in this area. There’s plenty of corn. There’s plenty of feed. My partner owns a feed… A large feed, there is two large feed facilities that he co-owns with the $700 million co-op. There’s plenty of room in all this for everybody. We need to build a lot of barns. We’re on barn number one. We’ve got barn number two ready, three and four. The guy that got involved with us; he wants to build 15 out of the gate. He wants to do unlimited.

Paul Koenig:
We need to get to 350 barns of these $5 million barns. And we’re well on our way. So, I’ll take as much time as you guys have the appetite for it. We’re ready to roll.

Jason Williams:
Yeah. Well, we definitely appreciate it. And we will be checking in with you frequently, to keep tabs on what’s going on and just see how everything’s going with you. Check on the football season now that it started for your son and yeah, we’re excited. I’m excited. Like I said, I really like what you guys are doing. And I’ve told everybody that’s watching before that, everybody knows, when you get a feeling about someone, you’ll sometimes you’ll meet somebody and you just sort of have a bad feeling about them. And sometimes you meet people and you have a good feeling. And I really had a good feeling about you. And the more we talk, the more we get to know each other, the more we learn about your company, just the better I feel about our investment, the better I feel about being partners and hopefully our partnership and the partnership with our investors, continuing after the three-year term, if the company is interested in doing equity fundraising or doing more debt fundraising, I’m really excited.

Jason Williams:
And I hope I speak for everybody who’s watching, that they’re really excited to watch the company grow and to grow with it.

Paul Koenig:
Hey, the goal is to get everybody paid on time or ahead of time and we’ve got that in the works, working on that. And then go back and when people want to do a deal, we’ll draw a circle around the amount on another deal. And we’ll have, I mean, I’m looking at the Wefunder thing right now. We’ve got 175 current investors. I’m sure we’ll blow that up past 200, pretty easy by the end of October here. And we’ll have a great partnership, letting people know what’s going on along the way, build up that trust and get everybody repaid back on time or early. And then when we hit the next deal, everybody’s going to say, “Hey, I want to re up.” And they’ll have more money because 17% return over three years. I mean, and it’s paid annually. So, it’s growing and growing. So, it’s going to be pretty… I mean, there there’ll be some nice checks that could be reinvested.

Jason Williams:
Oh yeah, no, that’s a super impressive return. And I just want to point something out to everybody that’s watching. I recently was working with a friend of mine and he’s a restaurateur. He wants to expand. And he’s looking for about a million dollars in a loan to redo a building. And he’s looking at paying about 6% on a million dollars, and you guys are paying 17% on, even if people put a hundred dollars in, and that’s just really impressive. So, I just wanted to, I say, where else can you get a 17% interest payment? And I really mean that. Even if you’re loaning somebody a million dollars, chances are you’re going to get a lower interest rate than what you guys are offering people who are investing, 2000, a thousand, even a hundred bucks. And I think that’s really impressive, and it really speaks volumes to your desire to grow the company, your desire to give everybody a fair shake.

Paul Koenig:
Yeah. And the 17% shows everyone that, “Hey, we’re serious about you as an investor, and we’re not going to pull any punches. Here’s what we’re making. You can make that. Be involved. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be involved for 15 years or 40 years, but you’re going to be involved for three years and we’re going to pay you what we’re making.” You’re, like it or not, it’s the same as an equity play, but we’re being more upfront about it. And if there’s a few bumps and bruises along the way or whatever, we’re going to take that out of our pocket because we have an obligation, you are out first priority payoff. You’re going to get paid and have your payments deducted well before our payments are paid.

Jason Williams:
I appreciate that. We definitely do. I know everybody loves getting paid on time. You know it too, having been a landlord before. Everybody loves getting paid on time and early is even better.

Paul Koenig:
Absolutely. And I couldn’t be more pleased about the relationship and the enthusiasm that you guys have brought to the campaign.

Jason Williams:
Excellent. I’m glad. We’re really excited about it. I keep saying what a great company I think this is and what a great opportunity I think it is. And, especially for retail investors. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to invest in private debt like this. And that is definitely a big component of just about every alternative investment portfolio could be private debt. And, I appreciate the opportunity that you’ve given us and given our members to invest in something exciting like this, and to also invest in such an interesting instrument that most people usually don’t get a chance to.

Jason Williams:
But again, I just want to thank you for taking time out of your schedule to talk to us. And I don’t want to take too much more, but I would like to ask if any of the viewers have any specific questions for you? I know that you welcome emails and phone calls and everything, but if they want to send in questions to me, would you be interested in maybe doing like a viewer… like a question/answer podcast at a future date and I’ll get a bunch of questions together from our investors. And then we can just sort of pose them and you go through, just run down the list and answer everything that people want to know.

Paul Koenig:
Yeah. As long as I can have an earpiece or a teleprompter. No, I’m just kidding. I got to be a little bit political here tonight. [crosstalk 00:15:29].

Paul Koenig:
No, I’d love to do that. And if anybody wants to reach out to me in the meantime, and I don’t know if you can see my banner in the background, if it’s reversed or if it’s in normal, but you can just put info or Paul in front of that Paul@viroment or info@viroment.com and reach out to me. I’m accessible. Jason, when he reached out to me, I think we talked within minutes later. Any of the investors I can usually get back to you right away. And if I’m busy, I can either text or you can text me and then I can get back to you and answer specific questions. And, just as a preview, maybe to that podcast, the investment question that I get asked the most is, “Is there something I’m missing? Can it be too good to be true?” And it’s really all about that lease. All the technology, whether the technology works or not, it’s still cashflows ridiculously well, the machine makes the cashflow twice as well, but it’s just really the strength of that billion-dollar lease for 15 years. It’s all set in stone. Hey, if we were at 7% interest rates, 8% interest rates, it would still work. It’s not as exciting, but at two percentages, two and a half percent, 2.6% interest rate fixed for our term on the 20 year [inaudible 00:16:49], it cashflows like crazy and there’s room for everybody.

Paul Koenig:
Now is the time to build and build as many of these as we can. And that’s why we threw that attractive interest rate out there. So, if it’s too good to be true, and you got more questions, it really just focuses in on that annuity style investment that we’ve created for ourselves and asked you guys to join in on. It’s really all about that triple net lease.

Jason Williams:
Yeah, no, I totally agree. Totally agree. It really is. I mean, that spread between the profit margins and the interest rates is just, that’s really incredible. And you’re right, this is a great time to be building as many as you possibly can, lock in those low rates, lock in those long-term contracts. And I definitely… 15 years seems like a long time, but I can see those leases getting renewed for 15 years and then 15 years again after that.

Jason Williams:
And I imagine you guys aren’t just going to sort of rest on your laurels. That if there’s, like you said, you you’ve added some new things to the process so that you actually can make this drinkable potable water. So obviously you’re not just sort of sitting back and saying like, Okay, we did it, we’re done, let’s sell it. Let’s keep making it better.”

Paul Koenig:
There’s a video that if people go on the Wefunder page and they scroll way down, or maybe they’ve seen it on Facebook… On Facebook where there’s, it’s kind of like a bluish, a blue sky and the buildings are steel gray, and Russ, Chris and I are walking around. Those buildings are actually 20 years old. And our same client just re-upped the lease on those for an additional five-year term. And they do five-year terms at a time. So, these are long-term, real long-term plays and they’re built well.

Jason Williams:
That’s awesome. That’s great. I really like it, Paul. And again, I just want to thank you for your time and, on behalf of all the people watching, thank you for the opportunity. And we’re really excited to continue to work with you for the next three years and hopefully more after that, if it’s possible.

Paul Koenig:
Sounds good. Thanks so much, Jason. I appreciate it.

Jason Williams:
Oh, of course, of course. We’re happy to have you here and to everybody out there watching, if you have any questions for Paul, you heard it from the man himself, you can shoot him an email and I can tell you from experience, he will get back to you very quickly. It’s really impressive. I usually don’t expect to hear back in the same day. And I heard back within the same hour that I first reached out to him and now, it’s a good relationship. He’s a good guy. And I’m really happy to be able to be a part of the company. And so, thanks everybody for watching. And if you have any questions, send them to me, send them to Paul. We’re happy to hear from you. We’re always excited to hear from you to be honest. And we look forward to talking to you again soon.

Paul Koenig:
Thank you. Sounds good.