The struggle for financing – part I

mars

After we’ve discovered the amazing potentialities of PNN, someone could wonder why there isn’t yet a regular ferry service to Mars..

Well, the History is full of revolutionary inventions that had waited long time for their grand debut, mainly because the skepticism and lack of funding from investors. As Italian, I can’t not mention Guglielmo Marconi, the well-known inventor of the radio: once his apparatus was in advanced prototypical stage (it can transmit signals from a distance of about 2.4 Km)  he started looking for funding to further improve his invention. First he looked for investors in Italy by writing a letter to the Ministry of Post and Telegraphs, but he received as response an innuendo to his mental sanity. Fortunately,  he decided to find founding elsewhere: he travelled to England; there the customs of Dover opened his case and found his apparatus.  The customs officer immediately contacted the Admiralty in London, where Marconi gained the attention of William Preece, the Chief Electrical Engineer of the British Post Office. Unlike their Italian counterparts, the English had seen the potentiality of Marconi’s invention.. and the rest is History.

ASPS was, until 2005, in a very similar situation. Since the days of SC23/a the Association decided to look for funding through Usenet.  Emidio Laureti started writing a long series of posts in which he describes, without revealing too much of ASPS know-how, the aims of the Association, their research and their prototypes. Unfortunately he wasn’t believed and, in short time, he had been labeled as scammer, crazy and so on.  In spite of this, with the advent of PNN-E  Laureti continued to promote the invention. Usenet was, of course, only one of many doors kept open for eventual investors: ASPS traces can be found on Linkedin and in many forums and we can safely suppose that they’ve looked for investors in “real life” by actively contacting the companies potentially interested in PNN.

Finally all their efforts were rewarded in 2003 when ASPS got in touch with the main Italian aerospace companies: CIRA, Alenia and ASI.

The Association shown to them the PNN-E SC2.x series prototypes: 2.13 and 2.14. Unfortunately the chances were against ASPS, due to the chronic lack of funding of Italian companies and of course  the revolutionary nature of the invention that implies risks of scam, the shadow of insurmountable technical difficulties that prevent the technology to become commercially exploitable and the skepticism for a totally new kind of physics. In fact, none of the companies were keen to finance ASPS. Only Alenia was interested in a collaboration.

So in 2003 Alenia proposed a letter of intents(*) to ASPS, which the Association refused to sign.  The letter in fact was written for the only advantage of Alenia. In that letter the company asked for the total know-how of PNN for free, giving in change zero guarantees about future collaborations and a friendly handshake .

Many newsgroups users who followed the event objected that ASPS should have accepted the proposal but the association was firm on its beliefs. To understand the reason of the denial let’s read part of article 1 from Alenia letter:

.. ASPS will provide ALS, its affiliates and its representatives all theoretical evidences about PNN and the whole patent documentation. ASPS agrees to provide all evidences of lab experiments that supports PNN principles. A workgroup […] will be finalized to the construction of a prototype.  This next phase is not part of this agreement. In case that the workgroup can’t reach the decision to undertake the next phase, this agreement will be terminated.

The translation is: you, ASPS, will tell us Alenia everything you know about PNN. If we don’t like it, goodbye. As you can see the only warranty for ASPS was to put in great danger their know-how: once Alenia had it, they could be easily dismissed (“sorry, we’re not interested”)  and then the company could have trashed the whole concept or, worse, continue on its own the research, leaving ASPS empty-handed and, basically, failed.  Suspicious? Maybe, but this is quite common in business world so the word caution is a must.

After the refusal, ASPS asked Alenia to meet halfway by writing a letter of intent (*) with conditions profitable for both. In short, ASPS proposed a set of rules that could grant itself the hold of the know-how and the chance for Alenia to investigate the PNN before signing for a collaboration. The problem was that this time the proposal was poor for Alenia, because the safety rules for the know-how were too strict and practically Alenia should have accepted PNN “by faith”. After this proposal, the intent of collaboration shipwrecked(*).

After this event it was evident that a new problem had arose: ASPS must maintain its know-how while the potential investor must know as much as possible in order to be convinced, but then their needs are mutually exclusives!

In the next post we’ll see how ASPS solved this stall situation,

stay tuned!

(*): you can find the mail exchange between ASPS and Alenia here (in Italian)

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