Strategic Investor– Ron Kovacs and Budweiser

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Jan 02

How Former Goal Judge Ron
Kovacs Convinced Bud to Back Him

Kovacs is a former, award-winning, Montreal-based goal judge sidelined by two
knee surgeries and the advance of technology that made goal judges as useful as
buggy whips. He is also a handyman and, one night walking home from his
neighborhood pub, he came up with the idea that he could put a goal light in
every home in Canada that had an iPhone or Android smartphone together with
hi-speed Internet and wi-fi that would go off every time a mad hockey fan’s
favourite team scored whether home or away.

Former Goal Judge, Ron Kovacs with his Bud Red

just knew he had a winner but first he would need some Super Bowl Ads (less
expensive in Canada than the US but still costly for a handyman) to get his
message out there. In walks Budweiser. Why not brand his lights with their logo
and team up with them to bring these lights into Canadian homes?

they not only flash when your team scores, a horn sounds. Wouldn’t that be
great especially when an east coast team is playing on the west coast and your
side scores at 1 am in OT? Wake up the whole house to let them know les
Canadiens just beat the Kings!

course the whole story about Ron is fictitious– it was created by Bud to sell
more beer plus some actual branded goal lights with the capabilities I describe
above (which BTW cost $159 and sold out after the 2013 Super Bowl*.)

But the concept is sound and it
could have been real. If you are an emerging company, you need to
be creative in terms of developing marketing and sales channels. Entrepreneurs,
intrapreneurs and artpreneurs have to be inventive to get their products and
services out there. Enlisting mega brands, co-branding with them, intricating
them into your schemes or otherwise getting them to invest in marketing your
ideas can provide huge leverage for you.

of the most overlooked sources of self-capitalization (bootstrapping) for new
enterprises is the strategic investor.

What is a strategic investor?

someone who has a strategic interest in your success.

How do you find them?

look through your value chain. Check out your supply chain, your customers (and
their customers too), would-be sponsors/advertisers, even your competitors can
be a source of start-up capital if they are looking to you as a new

Why go to strategic partners?

because they will generally make investment decisions faster than Angels or VCs
and have more capital and better connections throughout your industry than
friends, family and fools.

What will they ask for in

much less than Angels or VCs—perhaps they will be satisfied with, say, an
exclusive period during which they can feature/use your products or services
thereby keeping your products or services away from their competition and
further differentiating themselves in the marketplace. The funding that they
give you may also come with many fewer strings attached.

(To read more about Strategic
Investors/Partners, please read:


* Consumers were blindsided to some
degree when they found out these lamps are only available in the GTA. Fan is
short for fanatic so it’s never a good idea to piss them off en
masse. This is reverse marketing, at least it could be for people
living outside of Toronto. But Toronto is the centre of the universe, everyone
knows that plus everyone is a Maple Leaf fan, right? Except moi. Read Why
Cheering for the Maple Leafs is… Unnatural,

course, the above is also an example of Guerrilla Marketing—getting earned
media attention via a clever ploy. But it comes with all the attendant risk of
any GM initiative…

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.