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Lessons Learned — Aethlon Celebrates 25 Years

During the last 25 years at Aethlon Capital, we’ve had the wonderful experience of working with hundreds of entrepreneurs, innovators and builders of great businesses in a variety of industries.

We’ve learned valuable lessons from Aethlon’s many clients and are grateful to them. I will take this opportunity to highlight three that are particularly instructive about building, financing and selling a successful business.


The best investors know your industry and see the need for your technology or product first-hand: Cirrus Aviation


One of our most challenging investment banking projects was raising investment capital for Cirrus Aviation. Today, Cirrus is a global leader in personal aviation and the maker of the best-selling SR Series piston aircraft and the Vision Jet, the world’s first single-engine Personal Jet. The company reported $492 million in revenue in 2020. But when brothers Alan and Dale Klapmeier started the company, the big question was “Who would invest millions of dollars in a new airplane company?”

Our answer was investors who understood that the Klapmeier’s new composite plane with a parachute could revolutionize the industry. Entrepreneurs, CEOs and pilots like the late Steve Appleton, the former CEO of chip maker Micron technology; Greg Herrick, CEO of Zeos computers; and Buzz Kaplan, CEO of Owatonna Tool Company. These business leaders loved flying airplanes and saw the huge opportunity this new technology represented for the industry.


Experienced leadership with industry expertise is the biggest determinant of a company’s success: Cerasis


Cerasis founders Steve Ludvigson and Steve Norall, veterans of the logistics industry, developed a transportation management system to help customers gain shipping efficiencies. When they decided to sell Cerasis, their proprietary technology, used by hundreds of customers, ignited the interest of multiple strategic buyers. Companies with the greatest chance of success are led by industry experts who develop an innovative technology or service that fills a void in the marketplace.


It’s never too late to start a new venture: MSP Corporation


After retiring as a Regents Professor from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Benjamin Liu founded MSP Corporation at the age of 62! The company’s innovative products include aerosol sampling and measuring instruments, devices for testing medical inhalers, and semiconductor and contamination control products. MSP has around 140 U.S. and foreign patents.

MSP was eventually acquired by TSI, a global leader in precision instrumentation, at a premium price.


It’s been an enriching and exciting 25 years, and we’re grateful to have worked alongside these bold entrepreneurs. They, and many others, have taught us about building great businesses and the many rewards that come with entrepreneurship. We look forward to many more years of guiding business owners to the successful sale of their companies.

 

Aethlon Capital is a Minneapolis-based investment bank that specializes in mergers and acquisitions and raising capital for manufacturing, technology, consumer, and transportation & logistics companies. 

Our professionals would enjoy the opportunity to discuss your company’s growth plan or exit strategy.  To find out how Aethlon’s investment banking services can help you, call Sima Griffith at 612.338.6065 or email sgriffith@aethlon.com.