Entrepreneur Hopes 9 Is His Lucky Number

Serial entrepreneur Damir Perge has started eight companies, and all eight have ultimately failed, he says with pride.

“The first five times I thought it was me,” he said. “Then I realized: it?s just an idea. It?s OK.”

For a poor kid from Yugoslavia who was also a college dropout, the opportunity to chase the American dream was the victory, not the success or failure of his ideas.

Still, Perge didn?t quit after eight ventures. His ninth, a free-market online network called Futuredex, just may be the one that succeeds.

Futuredex works like a matchmaking service, pairing qualified investors with private technology companies seeking funding. Perge is co-founder, chairman and CEO of the company.

Futuredex?s proprietary patent-pending VaRooM! venture relationship matching system is a key differentiator for the company. It allows participants to define their specific investment focuses and interests, then matches and connects them directly with anyone who meets their established criteria.

The system lets participants choose their own levels of identification and information security so they can interact directly and anonymously without revealing proprietary or confidential information.

Using VaRooM!, private companies can maintain active and growing lists of potential investors. Group and individual investors can research investment opportunities, build investment consortia and cross-consult with others who share their investment interests.

Futuredex does not make money on the transactions, however. The majority of its cash flow actually is subscription-based.

First, the company draws users in by offering them a free 90-day trial. Once the trial period has expired, the company charges an annual charter subscription fee of $45 for angels and company advisors and $995 for private companies, venture capital firms and services providers.

More Than A Matchmaker

Perge said the inspiration for his latest venture comes from personal experience, from having so many doors “slammed in [his] face,” and from spending countless hours with investors only to find out they?re not the decision-makers he needed to speak with in the first place.

Futurex has received $32 million worth of venture financing since opening its doors for business on Jan. 1 of this year.

The firm also does a bit of angel investing. During a recent spell, it closed nine deals in nine weeks, investing a total of $16 million. The investments ranged in size from $100,000 to $3 million.

“This is the best time to invest in new companies and I?m putting my money where my mouth is,” Perge said. “If you have solid fundamentals [you can succeed]. Investors want to see you be cash flow positive, with a good business model. My advice to companies is don?t be proud of your burn rate, reduce it.”

Over the next several months, Futuredex plans to roll out new services and features aimed at helping subscribers better research and manage venture relationships through the entire investment lifecycle.

“The goal is to help stimulate the flow of money within the high-technology industry,” Perge said. “With more qualified investments being evaluated and investment cycles shortened, more money will be pumped into the high-tech economy.”

Ken Ryan can be contacted at: Kenneth.Ryan@tfn.com