Bamboo news flash: We’ve been “ Mitched!”

In 2007 Nicaragua faced it’s version of Hurricane Katrina, when Hurricane Mitch stormed through the Atlantic coast. The full force hurricane ripped out over 150,000 hectares of ancient forest, devasted the region’s economy and created tens of thousands of homeless people. Just as Katrina’s damage in the Southern U.S continues to be felt by the local population, so does Mitch remain an unresolved calamity. Mitch was unexpected and devastating.

This sad analogy is fitting for what happened to CO2 Bambu last week. The investors with whom we had been working for several months and with whom we had reached a detailed operating agreement suddenly and devastatingly had a change of heart on the very day of signing the legal documents and of transferring funds to the company. This shocking development is all the more incomprehensible because the explanation we were given was odd to say the least.

So here we stand today, with a robust management team, a great product, all the required government approvals/certifications and customers ready to commit to housing projects for almost two years worth of work. In other words, all the hard work from the past two years, has created a situation where everything is lined up perfectly and ready to go, assuming a certain level of financing (which evaporated over the course of a fifteen minute discussion).

So now that we have been “Mitched”, what to do?

On a personal level, we remind ourselves that before we moved to Nicaragua in July 09 we had decided to go on a green global trek, hence the name of this blog “Empty Nesters: Green Global Trek”. Our prior plans, which were shelved when it became clear that CO2 Bambu was moving at a fast clip and required on the ground daily attention, were to travel for a couple of years, taking advantage of being empty nesters, and leveraging our home in Granada through homeexchange.com to minimize the cost of travel. We may therefore return to that scenario. Peta is starting to circle countries on the world map, just in case.

On a professional level, we owe it to ourselves as co-founders, our employees, and our angel investors, to try every possible avenue to keep CO2 Bambu alive. Enter Peta and her magic wand. Several weeks ago, Peta started to insist that we needed media coverage for our efforts. I was amused at her thought that she could perhaps get the New York Times interested, but knowing her perseverance, I figured that something would come out of her efforts. Several years ago, when we had a furniture business (Ethnicities), Peta had demonstrated much comfort (and success) in working with journalists and it was a natural fit for her to try to get CO2 Bambu some media attention. See blog entry “Nica Times article” (September 25) for the resulting article in the Nica Times, which may turn out to save our company.

Thanks to the global reach of electronic media, the “local” article in the leading English language newspaper found its way onto the desk of the Executive Director of a Swiss social investment fund. Said executive contacted us a couple of weeks ago (prior to CO2 Bambu getting Mitched) and today was the first face-to-face meeting at our factory in Granada. It is early days of course but they are interested in pursuing further as CO2 Bambu’s social and environmental impact potential is a direct match for their institutional objectives.

Stay tuned for future updates on the trials and tribulations of a green “start up”!

3 thoughts on “Bamboo news flash: We’ve been “ Mitched!”

  1. Sharon

    Holy crap. I do love the resilience of you two. It’s really impressive. When the floor falls you start circling options on a map. Brilliant! So cool that Peta’s PR may pay off. Hey, you could try Kickstarter.com. It worked for us!

  2. HOWMusic(k)

    Beautiful…

    As you know, I’m studying with a guy named Mitch. Doubt that his intent is anything less than total destruction and devastation of all my personal goals!

    As sharon mentioned, your resilience is admirable.

    Love you both,

    Ez

  3. Katie

    Way to go Pete!! Business communications, (internal and external) are some of the most over looked yet, highly value added activities a business must do! Keep pressing. You’re making wonderful progress and you will make a difference. B2