Alex Koyfman, who edits Angel Publishing’s Penny Stock Millionaire, has an ad out that caught my eye mostly because it’s headlined “Einstein’s Extinction Prophecy” … because, and I don’t know if you know this about me, I like not being extinct.
So I thought I’d dig into it for you — it’s a pretty typical Angel Publishing-style ad, heavily pitching a stock that turns out to be absolutely teeny — which is part of the reason we’re publishing after 4pm today, you can’t write about a stock that has a market cap of less than $20 million without impacting the stock. Even just the initial ad campaign, which I saw starting this morning, has already bumped up the share price by 10% or so from the folks who’ve either sleuthed it themselves or those who have actually subscribed to the newsletter and immediately thrown their money at the stock.
The headline pitch about “Einstein’s Extinction Prophecy” includes a quote that has often been attributed to Einstein, that “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.” Like another famous Einstein quote, the one about compound interest being the most powerful force in the universe (or, alternately, the eighth wonder of the world), he probably didn’t actually utter those words… but that doesn’t mean that the point should be ignored. Bees are indeed in crisis, and something that could save the bees would obviously be helpful both for humanity and, presumably, for the enterprising entrepreneur who comes up with it.
That’s essentially the first half of the ad — “bees are in trouble, we’re in trouble.” All quite true as far as I know, and pretty well supported in the pitch, though you don’t need to go to an investment newsletter ad to get your agricultural education. There still seems to be a lot we don’t know about why there have been so many epidemics in the honey bee population, but one culprit often cited are the neonicotinoid pesticides that have come into wide use in the last 20 years or so and appear to cause serious damage to bees (I don’t know if that’s actually been proven or not, but it’s widely discussed as a major part of the problem).
But we’ve gotten away from the sexy millionaire-maker part of the pitch, which is usually the most fun — what is it Koyfman is saying to sell his newsletter? Here’s a sample:
“75 years ago, the world’s greatest genius predicted the cause of human extinction… and he was right.
“One small company has discovered the only solution.
“Early investors in this life-saving tech stand to make 200 to 300 times their money back!”
It’s obviously not true that “one small company has discovered the only solution.” We are routinely fed lines like that about small breakthrough companies who are excited about changing the world and solving big problems, and it’s never true.
Every problem of any size has more than one person trying to solve it, though sometimes we forget that there’s a big world out there apart from the publicly traded companies, and lots of research and innovation going on that most of us know nothing about, so it’s easy to imagine that some tiny company has invented the only real solution… because, after all, they may be the only ones advertising their publicly traded company by claiming to have a solution.
Sorry, didn’t mean to bring too much buzz kill in right here at the top… here’s some more of the tease:
“If the bee population continues to uncontrollably die off in this mysterious way, the human race isn’t far behind….
“Fortunately, a change is coming.
“… I was introduced to one Toronto-based company that found a solution so simple yet so innovative that it actually has the potential to cure the mysterious disorder that’s destroying millions of square miles of farmland across the world.
“While the agriculture industry quietly reels and panics, and while the government scrambles to keep this impending catastrophe under wraps, one biotech startup, headquartered just outside of Toronto, Canada, did what should have been impossible.
“Few outside of the agriculture industry know about this breakthrough, but once this startup gets its patented technology into full-scale commercialization, it is likely to change the face of traditional farming forever.
“Shareholders of this company stand to make millions in profits as it goes from early production runs — which are already under way — into full-scale distribution.
“More importantly, a worldwide catastrophe could be averted.
“During my trip to Toronto, I chatted with the CEO and toured the facilities.
“I saw a production center — which looked more like a high-tech lab — where they cultivated their unique, proprietary product…
“The very product that will soon pull the rug out from under the feet of the entire agriculture technology business establishment and, for once, offer farmers… a completely harmless solution to this catastrophe.”
So what is it that this product does? Well, I’ll just paraphrase a bit — I’m getting a little sick of copying little passages. Koyfman says that this company uses the bees themselves to deliver non-dangerous pesticides and crop treatments (antifungals, etc.)…. which means that you can use a lot less of whatever the chemical is, because the worker bees will deliver minute amounts of the chemical directly to the flower of the plant. This solves the problem of pesticide resistance, we’re told, because there isn’t a huge, wasted blanketing of entire fields with this particular chemical.
That’s the basic idea then — and we’re also told that the company has trial deals with three major companies to test their system, and that they have received $1.6 million in “private commitments” to commercialize this product that is based on 20 years of research.
Enough? Indeed, we can tell you that this is an extremely new reverse-merger public company called Bee Vectoring Technologies, listed in Canada at BEE.V and on the OTCQB in the US at BEVVF.
There’s a Popular Science article here on the technology if you’re interested in a little more background — but basically, the company has developed a system that consists of special plastic trays through which the worker bees walk on their way out of the hive, and you fill those trays with their proprietary delivery compound and pesticides or antifungals or whatever else, so that it will adhere to the bee legs and make it to the flower. That’s pretty much it.
The financial opportunity seems to be that they can sell the specialty delivery compound recipe, called Vectorite — here’s how they describe it on their website:
“BVT has developed an inoculum dispenser system that is incorporated into the lid of commercial bumble bee hives. In the dispenser is a removable tray that contains, in powder form, the inoculant crop control and a mixture of products (being, Vectorite) that allows the bees to effectively pick up the product on their way out of the hive. The trays are changed every three to nine days in order to replenish the depleted inoculum, ensure the freshness of the inoculant fungi, prevent infections to the bees, which may result from bee waste, and avoid packing or clumping of the inoculum in the trays. No special skills are required to replace the trays and they take a minimal amount of time to put in place. Exact and predetermined amounts of inoculum can be placed in the tray as well as other kinds of inoculum for certain applications.”
They are primarily targeting two fungal diseases initially, with their also proprietary BVT-CR7 compound. This is in testing with a few strawberry farmers in the US, but apparently they will also require some sort of regulatory approval — not sure what that entails, but they mention it in their filings, so perhaps this test data will be used to get approval. No idea whether that will be an issue or not.
From quickly browsing the filings, which don’t tell us much because the company hasn’t existed for long and is not generating revenue, it looks like they are consuming roughly C$2 million a year at the current pace, with most of that going to consultants and other ordinary operating expenses — marketing, salaries, lease, legal, etc. They have about C$1.5 million as of December 31, so they’ll probably be raising money at some point in the next few months… a good time, says the cynic, to make sure you’ve gotten a bunch of investment newsletter pundits on the phone to tell them your exciting story.
I have no idea whether it will work out, but the company has been trying to advance it as a product since at least 2013, when it reportedly got some approvals from the Canadian government, and it seems the research has been ongoing for quite a while. The company is certainly a huge risk, since they’ll require lots of capital and there’s not really any indication of what the revenue potential might be, or even whether their “proprietary” stuff will end up being valuable or unique — but that’s why it’s so very teensy. It’s too small and too much of an early stage venture investment for me to think about the financials in any kind of rational way, so I can’t see buying it personally… all I can tell you is that this is the stock being pitched by Penny Stock Millionaire. But if you’d like to discuss it, well, have at it — that’s what our friendly little comment box below is for.