Q. MANvsSTOCKS asked: How did Roger get involved with Amfil originally?
Q. Brandon asked: Elaborate on Amfil's mission statement. Specifically the part about dividends. I'm good with how everything else is going. I'm here to invest though, not trade. Thank you
Q. Stock Slinger asked: How did Roger and Ben initially meet? How did it all start?
Q. Russ Castranova asked: Does the company plan to increase shareholders value with a share buyback or reverse split in the near for medium future?
Okay. Well I think I can answer all four of the above questions in one very long-winded response as there is no easy and fast way to summarize how I originally got involved with Amfil. While I’m explaining that, I’m sure to run on a few tangents that will make the response even longer but should answer the other three questions along the way. I’ve been asked this question many times before, so here is the detailed answer from start to finish on how I became involved with Amfil.
My father, Frank Mortimer, started and ran Technical Ventures Inc. TEVT which was Amfil’s predecessor from inception in 1985 until his death in December of 2006. Throughout that 21-year period the company had issued approx. 47M shares in its entirety and had never restructured or reverse split the stock. At that time, Technical Ventures was just really starting to realize all its efforts over the years and among other things was producing almost 300,000 kg/month of raw material for a new and popular company and concept, CROCS shoes. It took about a year after his death for that 21-year old company to close its doors due to what I consider to be greed and mismanagement. TEVT at the time retained its metal technology and continued to pursue different business ventures. A number of different business ventures were tried and failed over the ensuing years.
That was the business side, now back to my story.
After the death of my father, I completed my final semesters in University and obtained my BA from Wilfrid Laurier University, a promise I made to him because nobody in our family until that time had received a University degree. At this time, I had no involvement in TEVT/AMFE and had not spoken to anyone at the company since his death (and would not until 2013). So now it’s late 2007 and with no money as I was young and did not receive any inheritance or anything, student loans piling up etc.. The last relative I had in Canada, my mom, let me know she intended to move to the USA. At this point, I had to figure out what to do, as I did not want to leave the only home I ever knew, and the strong relationships that I had built over my life.
At this point, the winter of 2008 was approaching.
One evening, I had a friend over and I overheard him taking phone calls discussing work. I inquired into the nature of the business, and he explained that he was speaking with his employer about the upcoming winter snow removal service they were to provide. Given the timing and my current circumstances, I had a “lightbulb moment” and proceeded to discuss the nitty-gritty details of the snow removal business with my friend who had been doing it for a number of years, ultimately convincing him to break his commitment with his current employer (sorry haha) and start up a business of our own.
We didn’t have a truck, tools, NOTHING. But I figured we could make it happen and still earn more money than what he was getting as a salary from his other company.
We started by printing up flyers and pounded the pavement dropping them in mailboxes door to door as I barely had the money for the flyers let alone to ship them through the post office. Low and behold, a few days later the phone rings and it’s a customer that wants the service. Now that first customer was the hardest one to sign because I knew that once we took his money, we were committed for the season and there was no pulling back even of he was the only customer. We signed him up and kept going door to door hitting mailboxes. To keep a long story short, we had signed about 30 customers and it was now looking like the snow could start falling from the sky any day. Sounds like a great start right?
Well. Money was still tight.
We were having difficulties finding a truck in our price range as I guess for the time of year, they just were mostly being nabbed up quickly. One day a truck pops up for $4000.00 in a city a couple hours away, and concerned that it was going to be taken before we could drive the couple hours over, we called them and bought it sight unseen. Ya… Anyways, that was easy, the shop was more than glad to hear that and told us to come pick it up in a couple days as he needed time to switch the ownership, get plates etc. and in the meantime, all we needed was to get insurance. Sounded like we were all set.
In between paying for and picking up the truck, we had our first snow storm. Yikes. Luckily it smaller storm, but it had to be done, so we took our shovels and drove house to house in my friend’s two door Honda civic and hand shoveled the driveways. We certainly weren’t going to let our customers down at this point, we were just getting started, plus I had given my word.
Mission successful. We stayed up all day and night and shovelled all of our customers driveways by hand.
A couple days later, we went to pick up the truck. My gosh - it was rough. But it was a truck and it would do the trick. Next up we still needed a plow and winter tires - but just like having the problem in finding the truck, we couldn’t find any used plows to hook up to it. Wrong time of year, again. Lucky for us, that first scare of ‘winter is here’ got the phones ringing and we got up to about 70 customers. So we drop off the truck and put a brand new $8000 plow on a $4000 truck and we are in business. Same story though, in between waiting for the installers to finish the hook up we got more snow, to our luck another very small one, but out we went again in my friend’s honda civic and hand shoveled all 70 properties by hand to make sure we lived up to our commitment. I don’t think my buddy was very happy with me at the time, but that was okay. We were now up and running. Long story short, winter season went well. We managed to sign a few other customers which is what we lived on for the winter season.
As spring approached, we had to decide what to do next. We learned that a lot of the other snow removal companies switched to hardscape construction in the summer (driveways, patios, fencing, etc). So that’s what we decided to do. Same process as before. We started delivering flyers door-to-door and soon enough we signed the first interlock patio job, without ever even seeing how an interlock patio was installed. But we made it work. I hired some guys with experience that first year who we learned off of and went all summer completing a number of projects. Life was good. So from 2008 – 2013 Interloc-Kings Inc. grew quite substantially relative to where it started and was doing very well in my eyes. It was paying a number of employees, it was fully self sustaining, growing, and generating profits, despite having started from nothing.
On and off throughout those five years I would think back about my father and TEVT/AMFE. I would often pull up AMFE online and see what was going on, what it was working on etc. which also led me to look up other random OTC companies in my down time. What I noticed was that most of the lower priced stocks had little to no revenue. Many had an idea that they wanted to pursue but needed heavy funding to bring it anywhere close to fruition.
The majority of companies that I followed, never had their business plans succeed and the very few that did had to take on such large amounts of toxic funding. By the time they got to generating revenue, the original shareholders had little to no equity left due to the company issuing shares, restructuring, reverse splitting, getting hammered by toxic lenders who essentially had “free stock”. What a mess. Clearly this was not a sustainable business model.
By this time AMFE had gone from under 50M shares which was over a 21-year time period as mentioned earlier to now almost 300M shares. CEO’s were changing, business direction was changing but it didn’t seem like anything was getting anywhere. One day I just thought to myself - I wonder if I could help. I decided to reach out to the numbers and emails on file for the board of directors with no response. I then proceeded to write a nice email on how Interloc-Kings Inc. had started from nothing and where it had come to in a short period of time and the fact that it was profitable and the plans I had for the company in the future. Very excited to hit send, not so excited to hear nothing back, again. For whatever reason a few weeks later, I decided to resend the same email just thinking to myself “lets try this one last time.” The next day, I woke up to a response.
One of the directors at the time said he would share my email with everyone involved and would get back to me if there was any interest. A few days later I got a call for more info. After weeks of back and forth and a lot of information dumping and answering of questions I felt I had a pretty good shot of getting in and trying to turn AMFE around.
On my birthday, June 27th in 2013, I had the AMFE Directors come to my office, which was literally just a virtual office as it was all I needed for the Interloc-Kings Inc. business to accept mail etc over the past five years as all business is really done at customer homes. In a rented board room, I sat at the head of the table at 29 years old, with five 60+ year old’s basically saying – “well lets hear it” - as in “we don’t have a lot of time for this, so don’t waste it.” Nervously, I made my pitch. To my excitement, they all liked it! Shortly after, I struck a deal with AMFE and Interloc-Kings Inc. reverse merged and took over AMFE. Time to REALLY get to business.
After having seen the issues I mentioned earlier with a number of OTC companies over the years I swore to myself that I would never go the route of taking toxic debt (and believe me - I get many calls every week from sharks trying to toxically fund the company to this day). I was NOT going to squash out the existing shareholders. Although they hadn’t exactly invested in me and the direction I was going, I wasn’t going to wipe people out. It just wasn’t something I could live with. Back then, and still today, my very first priority is to increase value for the shareholders. It just took a new idea. At this point, I introduced the new business plan for AMFE.
“Amfil Technologies Inc. is a publicly traded entity, trading on the OTC Markets Exchange under the ticker symbol AMFE. Amfil took a new business approach beginning in 2013 when management changed. Amfil now focuses primarily on the acquisition of income generating private companies and optimizing their operations under the Amfil Technologies umbrella.
Amfil is focused on growing shareholder value by allowing investors access to self-sustaining small to medium sized businesses with proven profitable strategies, and identified as having substantial potential for future growth. Amfil seeks to achieve long-term financial returns consisting of regular dividend income, benefiting from preferential tax treatment, and expecting modest mid-to-long term capital growth. Amfil Technologies primarily invests in small to mid-sized companies with above average service capacity, growth potential or existing market share.”
If AMFE could put a number of already self-sustaining companies under its umbrella and was not forced to dilute to survive, but rather to dilute ONLY when necessary to fund a large expansion with high ROI. Investing in already profitable subsidiaries, or a subsidiary with a potential for large future growth in a new industry then my belief was it would survive the long haul and shareholders would be rewarded. After x amount of acquisitions and after the company becomes stable enough, it could even look at dividends. The key always comes back to an already profitable company or a high potential for future growth with minimal cash injection and great management to grow shareholder value. That limits the need for ‘blood money. as I call it from the sharks that are there to death spiral stocks into the ground. I was not going to just be one of the many companies effecting reverse splits just to keep the share price up so another shark can spiral you right back into the ground. Amfil has never signed a toxic debt note that converts at a trailing discount to market nor has it ever done a reverse split in 33 years.
What I really hadn’t taken into consideration at the time was the cost of the upkeep of a public company. While Interloc-Kings Inc. started from nothing and was paying all the salaries and making some profit all the while growing, all of the profits and then some were sucked out just paying the AMFE upkeep/maintenance bills. So, I borrowed $100k from a family member (very much thanks to them or this might not be where it is today) and started tackling the issues of AMFE at the time.
On top of this, the companuy had not filed financial statements for many years and was an SEC reporting company. They could literally revoke the status at any time. So, I engaged MNP which was one of the top 10 auditing firms in Canada to complete a super 10k and clean up AMFE. After very quickly burning through the $100k, I knew that the costs of the upkeep were not worth it, especially since AMFE was not going out and raising money (from the previously mentioned sharks). So, we began reporting directly to the OTC Markets after completing the two-year audit, knowing it was the best thing for the company at the time until is was making enough money to afford going the audited route again. After the first few acquisitions and as the shareholder base grew it was clearly time to go back to the audited route that the company had been doing since inception. That’s why as it stands today we are working on completing our multi year audit. (Yes, it’s very close. Wink.)
The acquisition of Snakes & Lattes Inc. has really allowed the company to move towards the success I believe that the new business model will bring the company. Very unexciting story, but I met Ben through my accountant in early 2016 and at that time to be honest, had never been in or even knew exactly what a board game café was. However, Ben was quite the character, had a great team, and a wonderful and successful concept that he had created. People LOVE Snakes & Lattes. His passion would undoubtedly keep Snakes a success and moving forward in a BIG way.
After Snakes, the opportunity came up to acquire NSI, another great company that due to unfortunate circumstances was not operating nearly its true potential (Details of the story have been discussed in the past). The man behind NSI, Sil, is another go-getter that I believe can get his company back to the heights of its previous success. He just needs a bit of help, support, and funding which we hope to provide.
More recently, the strategic acquisition of Morning just further bolsters the already thriving Snakes & Lattes Publishing, Production, and Distribution wave. All of these companies have the potential to be great successes and Amfil is proud to be working with them and helping assist in their success as the company and related subsidiaries continue expanding into the foreseeable future.
When I took over Amfil and changed the business model, the company had a market cap that would be gauged in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now it is gauged in the tens of millions in just a few short years. I believe the new business model has been proven successful and will drive this company to even greater success in the near to long term. We will have our ups and downs along the way, but we will forge ahead, and we will succeed. The unknown of all the possibilities and potential that the future holds is very exciting to me!
Just to show how dedicated we all are to the success of this company and the avoidance of unnecessarily issuing shares, I personally two weeks ago took a $150K second mortgage on my house to ensure that some large initiatives the company is working on can come to fruition without unnecessary dilution. This isn't the first time. I will be re-payed in cash with no interest as a shareholder loan. I, just like many others, have EVERYTHING invested in making this company a success and will do everything in my power to make that come true. I truly believe we have a monster in the making and clearly, we are not one of those companies that don't have anything at stake and just rely on whatever funding is available at the time no matter how toxic it is. This is again why the company has never reverse split in 33 years and has less than 500M shares out standing. We don't just give away shares like they are candy. If we must give shares out, it is in our utmost intention that it will bring a maximum return on investment to the company and its shareholders
Lastly, I know some will notice that I have left GRO3 out of most of this and that’s only because it’s a whole story on its own. And yes, we do have some updates coming on that JV soon. It has been a long time coming, I know, however the projects that are currently being worked on by Ambrose and his team are all high-end, large-scale projects that took time to be fully outlined and put together. Not far off until you hear about the first one though. 😉
So that’s my rant. Thanks for being a part of and supporting this wonderful company! We all appreciate it and are all pushing behind the scenes to make this company a huge success. Sometimes it doesn’t always show in the market. We understand that, and that it can be super frustrating for all involved. But I invite you to look back to last year, and decide for yourself how much bigger the company is today, look back to the last time the company was at the same price and valuation it is today. Share price being instantly higher doesn’t matter if the company is not growing. It would not be sustainable. We are doing just that – strengthening the company’s foundation, so that we can support a much higher share price in the future.
Without the utmost focus on the growth of the company, the long-standing shareholders are not who we would be catering to and then we would just be like many other flash in the pan OTC companies in my opinion. We started from nothing and have set the foundation to achieve massive successes. We are here and Pink because we started with what we could, but the goal is to get off the OTC as outlined in prior communication and why we’re currently spending a lot of money to make this all happen. We at Amfil are all-in, and 100% dedicated to make this work for the company and its shareholders. We have no other option and firmly believe we will get there one way or another and I hope you do too.
Thank you for taking the time to read along, for your interest, your support, and your confidence in myself and the company with such loyalty. Cheers to a very bright future!
Roger Mortimer | CEO of Amfil Technologies Inc.
July 16, 2018