Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Outer Banks Ocean Energy looking for students

Outer Banks Ocean Energy (OBOE) is a recently formed alternative energy developer based in NC.
The goal of OBOE, in one line, is to build a wind farm off the coast of NC, generate a boat load of electricity, plug/sell the power into the electric grid, and do so very profitably. 
OBOE is a legally formed entity with seed capital from a few wealthy investors and has a strong relationship with a large reputable law firm, but now the firm wants to be ready to get in front of professional investors or strategic partners to raise $1-1.5mm.. This will be used to establish an office in Chapel Hill, hire a project manager, engineer(s), and start the permitting and wind study process. This money should last about 1 year.

What: OBOE is looking for 1 or 2 students to commit to a few (I am thinking 4 to 8) hours a week to help beef up the existing business plan (document and presentation), create some medium-level detail valuation & financials, and due diligence (ie web surfing for angels, VCs and other potential investors, revenue estimates, cost estimates, job creation stats and 'other'). All of this can be done remotely (and will be since there is no Chapel Hill office yet) but with rich and frequent interaction with the founder.

This would be an unpaid effort but provide real-world entrepreneurial experience and a solid few lines on the resume. OBOE is doing real entrepreneurial financial boot strapping in the recession. Whatever it takes to get the dream going...a firm with very little cash really needs to make it last a while. This is why I am coming back to my old stomping grounds for grassroots talent. 
Why (should you?): the experience, your resume, social & environmental good, for fun. You participate now and later, down the road, you will find out that OBOE crashed and burned big-time or in 7 years you'll read in the WSJ that it was sold for an obscene amount. Either way you can say you participated and wear that with a badge of honor.

Where: flexible

When: now through the end of the school year or through the summer.

-Don Evans, CEO. Don is a serial entrepreneur and speculator. In the past he has dug for natural gas reserves, profitably sold an LED company that supplied its products to the government so it could efficiently light up the desert, and has a whole bunch of years of experience to impart.
-Dr. John Bane, principal scientist, and physics/marine science professor at UNC.
-A whole bunch of academics in Dr. Bane's field across universities in the southeastern US.
-Me, I spent few years, before and after Fuqua, in investment banking in NYC and recently started a position in Venture Lending and Capital Markets at Square 1 Bank, Durham. My full-time job is:
Additional Info:

This is a huge endeavor that will take many years to realize and massive capital investment, to the tune of 10 digits over time. Fortunately off-shore wind energy is an existing technology. It is in place and running in a few spots in Europe 
And in the US there are comparable efforts, Cape Wind, in Nantucket, that is a few steps away from trying to arrange $1billion in financing; and Principle Power in Oregon. So far the Cape Wind effort has cost +$30mm (much of it in litigation, because the project started too soon before the alternative energy movement and because wealthy Nantucket residents don't want a wind park in their backyard). The +$30mm has been entirely personally funded by the projects founder!

In the US efforts like these are created by 'independents', think T. Boone Pickens in Texas, while in Europe they subsidized by the government and developed by utilities. Why? Because in Europe fossil fuel electricity costs north of $0.23 per kw and in the US its about $0.10 per kw. So the US monopoly utilities have little incentive; they can keep burning cheap fossil fuel until independents create projects like this and can offer cheaper alternatives to bring down average costs and to meet alternative quotas. The economics are there, it just takes a huge capital investment to reach stabilized operations.

Finally, I spoke to Prof. Jim Sheldon and this opportunity could be rolled into a full-time summer, for-class-credit, internship for those going that route.

Please let me know if you or any targeted classmates may be interested. I am happy to hear feedback. (Please note that for the purpose of this project I am using my personal email and not my corporate one from the link above)


Ian Enverga

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