After seven years practicing corporate finance and securities law for many natural resource issuers, Richard Coglon enjoyed enormous success with the creation, operation, and eventual sale of Velvet Explorations. But was that all she wrote for this lawyer-turned-venture-capitalist?
Richard Coglon explains, “During the operation of Velvet Explorations (1995 – 2000), I continued practicing law as a way to further my learning about the business side of the oil and gas sector. I also helped transition Transglobe Energy from a failed mining company (formerly Dust Mac Mines) to the respected and profitable international oil exploration company that it is today.”
With the sale of Velvet Explorations in 2000 and Transglobe Energy’s new-found legs, Richard Coglon made the choice to focus on the venture capital aspects of business full time. “I always viewed law as a way to attain a more complete knowledge of business in general. And while I did enjoy my practice, I was always drawn towards the business side of the deals for which I was acting as counsel. The success of Velvet Explorations and Transglobe Energy, provided me the opportunity to finally make the jump into the venture capital arena and leave the practice of law behind.”
Richard Coglon wasted no time getting acclimated; he already had the lay of the land from his experience with Velvet Explorations and Transglobe Energy. “In 2000, I started Heartland Oil and Gas, a company based in the United States and focused on the exploration and development of the new and growing sector of unconventional gas. Unfortunately, due to issues relating to high water disposal costs, falling coal bed methane commodity prices, and infrastructure limitations, the project was eventually sold off and take private.” But a few bumps in the road did not deter Richard Coglon from continuing in the field he “I broadened by view and ventured into the areas of real estate (assembly and development) and mining. I assembled some good-quality gold projects which I continue to be involved with to this day.” “In 2009, I was asked to become involved with an early stage oil field down-hole well enhancement technology through a company called HIP Energy. Although the technology had some good initial results, aggressive testing of the technology was hampered by the failing health of its aging inventor. With a full technology transfer from inventor to patent – or into a fully described operating model – being unlikely, the success of the HIP project remains in limbo.”
Richard Coglon continued to broaden his business view and, in 2010, met some businessmen who showed him the world. “In 2010, I made the acquaintance of some respected internationally-based businessmen who broadened my focus to the international markets. I was particularly fascinated by the Asian markets – China and surrounding areas in particular. After some four years of building relationships and gaining an understanding of the Chinese business mindset, I was fortunate to become involved as principal in a Hong Kong based commodity trading company now called Sino-Pacific Trading Group. It is this company and its initiatives that, I believe, will become one of my primary business undertakings for some time to come.”
Though his focus is now on global markets, Richard Coglon has not given up hope on the markets through which he got his start. “I do continue to have cautious optimism for a resurgence of the Canadian mining and resource markets but I do so knowing that there remains little appetite for venture capitalists to place funds in flat or difficult markets. Market risk, coupled with high operating costs for Small Cap issuers has already started investors moving their focus away from the TSX venture onto the CNQ. It is this trading platform that will drive the Small and Micro Cap venture marketplace in Canada for the short term and perhaps for many years to come.”