Orlando, Fla. (March 1, 2021) – While many small businesses struggle to find funding, sometimes it just comes in the most peculiar ways.
Just ask Christina Drake, owner and founder of Kismet Technologies, which is developing a next-generation residual surface disinfectant spray using nanotechnology.
The company recently received a $250,000 investment from North Carolina businessman and pastor Lawrence Yoo all because she interviewed him as part of a National Science Foundation grant requirement.
“We’re required to interview customers who might purchase our product to find out how we can better serve the marketplace,” Drake says. “Lawrence is a friend who owns many businesses, such as a daycare, a restaurant, and a dental clinic, who could evaluate buying and using our product in a wide range of applications.”
When launched, Kismet’s product could replace ordinary spray cleansers which are often misused. Those products need from 4 to 10 minutes on a surface to fully kill all germs, but users generally wipe the product off within seconds of spraying.
NanoRAD, which stands for “Nanobased Rapid All-day Disinfectant,” works immediately because of the use of nanoparticles. Plus, the product stays on the surface and kills any further germs for up to a day.
When Yoo found out about what Drake was working on after the interview, he immediately asked to become an investor.
“As a pastor, I believe in dignity-based businesses, those that can serve a higher purpose for our world,” Yoo says. “Yes, Christina’s product will keep my customers and parishioners safe, but we can also use this to greatly reduce the spread of all diseases – not just COVID-19 – in many parts of the world.”
Drake originally refused Yoo’s investment. She has known the Yoo since she was 14 years old. In fact, he officiated Drake’s wedding.
“I truly didn’t want to affect the relationship, but after several months, he showed me that it was not being offered because of friendship, but because he believed in the business,” Drake says. “He’s now become an integral part of the business, providing valuable advice taken from his personal experience as an entrepreneur.”
Finding funding is an issue that plagues many small businesses as they work to come to market. Often friends and family are one of the first places they turn for investment.
“Very early in a company’s growth, it’s critical to utilize every resource possible to find the funding needed to grow,” says Carol Ann Logue, Director, Programs & Operations, Innovation Districts & Incubation Program. “The key for that sort of funding is to be upfront on expectations and treat it like it was in investment from any institutional investors.”