Friday, September 28, 2018

Friends Friday - Entrepreneurs

CenteRRail LLC Core Group
I belong to several business groups.  The Palm Beach Business Group has the purpose of connecting inventors and entrepreneurs with venture capital specialist. Think “Shark Tank”. There is more to the group in that we have a monthly breakfasts with guest speakers whose subjects range from business to politics to sharing non-profit (NGO) worldwide efforts. We also have a monthly cocktail reception where we meet/mix then have an open round table discussion on a variety of subjects - A fun intellectual group.

I have been a member/attendee for the past 6 years and enjoy the group very much. Accepted, appreciated, and comfortable. There I have met interesting entrepreneurs and business leaders. One had an invention to generate electricity using the wind in a 20 story round structure. Capturing the wind from all directions and generating electric power in a pleasant looking building befitting an urban surrounding. This never went anywhere due to inventor issues. 

As one of my venture capital friends states, "In business, you bet on the jockey - not the horse." 

Palm Beach Business Group
Another involved a sports franchise featuring teams riding Jet-Skies in a game similar to Lacrosse - Played in a floating, portable stadium. This would be super fun to play and watch. All the details were final, patents approved, rules/ procedures written, and a sports network interested. However, no investors.  

This week’s presentation is one of the most promising I have seen in a few years. It involves leasing the unused space between the rails of the railroad tracks and installing unique/patented solar-electric panels to generate electricity. Space is leased from the railroads; we install the panels and the electricity is sold to the grid or directly to the railroad. A win for the railroads,; utilizing the unused space; the yield is about 47,000 kWhr per mile per month. In dollars at wholesale electric rates, $4,500 per month or $54,000 per mile annually. There are already letters of intent for a 6-mile prototype installation and written interest from the Florida East Coast Railroad (FEC) which has 351 miles of track. The company will be a manufacturing company, producing revenue from selling/installing solar panels. We are a leasing partner with the railroads. Website 

As they always ask on Shark Tank – “What is needed and what are you willing to give up?“ Available is a 20% stake in CenteRRail LLC for $500,0000 (or fraction thereof). A 20% position should return about $490,000 the first year with that doubling each consecutive year thereafter. 

I helped write the business plan and put together the financials. Already on board is obviously the inventor (a friend), a long-term railroad attorney/consultant and the founder of the Palm Beach Business Group. If we are able to secure funding, I will be the interim COO. I am not soliciting investors although if anyone is curious I will share the business plan. This is a risky venture as are all start-ups


What I am encouraging is meaningful “Escapes”. Push the envelope - Meet interesting people. Make connections.  Make your time “out” meaningful, interesting, and fun. You never know what careers/friends/fun might occur.   


  1. As an engineer, I noticed an error in your specs. You claim 47,000 kW per mile per month. That is akin to saying that you travel a distance of 47 miles per hour per month. It is confusing and meaningless. The proper expression might be that your system produces 47,000 kWhr per mile per month. That seems to be reasonable for Florida. A typical, inexpensive solar panel array laid flat on the ground will capture about 250 Watts per square meter. Inside a typical gauge railroad track about a meter wide, at about 1600 meters per mile, that comes to 400 kW per mile. At about 120 hours per month of equivalent directly normal sunshine, again a reasonable figure for inexpensive solar panels laid out flat on the ground in Florida, that 47,000 kWhr figure makes sense. Just curious, what are your security measures against vandalism?

    Is this a small typo or oversight? Probably. But it tells me as an investor in tech projects that your enterprise may be so dominated by beancounters and administrators that you may not routinely have your technical people proofread your advertising. And that is an impression that waves big red flags at me and my money.

    Sorry for the technical lecture, but the engineering detail waved caution at me. I enjoy your website. I also "escape" from time to time. This week, I drove 550 km in a tunic and leggings outfit on Saturday, then went to an Oktoberfest in a dirndl with all the trimmings on Sunday, got a pedicure with gel color late on Wednesday afternoon, went shoe and jewelry shopping on Thursday before driving back in a femme business outfit. Monday through Wednesday were a business trip in guy mode. The greatest escape that I have done to date, thanks in part to your encouragement.

    1. Hi Abby, Thanks for the catch on the KWhr per month. The panels are unique and the cells are not flat within the panels The cell array are at a 20 degree and the panels are square not rectangular. Thus they can be installed to always face south no matter the track heading. The angle and size are the "unique/patented" part.

      The written interest from FEC has turned into a contract for test.

      Keep up the "Great Escapes".


  2. Sorry forget to discuss the security question - Each panel will be glued to the railroad ties and can be only removed with a special tool. Also each panel will carry a voltage warning to act as a deterrent. Yes, we have thought the through.

  3. This one struck a chord with me because I am an engineer in energy projects in the opposite corner of the country from you. It is truly admonishing how many projects that I am called into even here, a place that is supposed to be the home of renewables, that have not thought through security and even some of the energy specs. Your comment about what seems to describe a vertical axis wind turbine 60 meters tall is fascinating. I put in the small stuff, nothing anywhere near that. We did catch the local utility red handed after repeated denials, having difficulty stabilizing the frequenc er going to 30% wind power. I wish you well with your startup.