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Benjamin Padnos

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  • Xoom Zooms As First Tech IPO Of 2013 [View article]
    Thanks for the mention of my article, "Spin Up Massive Profits In Mobile Payments With Spindle, Inc." -

    As @Off the Radar Investor mentioned, SPDL may be interesting to investors looking at XOOM as Spindle is a younger company in a similar space. Anyone buying XOOM today is buying the company at a valuation +/- $800MM versus sub $40MM for Spindle. So, while there's obvious risk with an earlier-stage company, Seeking Alpha is all about exposing people to new ideas and interesting opportunities.

    One of the reasons I'm such an advocate for "public venture capital" is that "average Joes" have access to innovative companies with large upside very early in the company's life cycle. By the time individual investors could publicly buy shares in companies like FB, ZNGA, GRPN, etc., the big gains had already been made!
    Feb 19 12:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Clearsign's Lies, Omissions, And One 'Bad Actor' [View article]
    Matt, my rebuttal to your misguided analysis will come in the form of CLIR stock price over the next year or so. You may be good at researching on Google and cobbling together PowerPoint presentations, but you're a terrible stock picker. Seeking Alpha readers would be advised to review your "short" call on QIHU from mid-May 2012 ( when the stock was trading around $20. QIHU closed @ 30.96 on Friday 2/8/13.

    Furthermore, Matt, it would be nice for you to disclose who is compensating you, as well as how much, for your so-called "research." I've done my homework and have been able to identify the guys you're working with. There's a full investigation under way, and our findings will be shared with several organizations who frown on market manipulation.

    Bottom line: You ought to be very careful making accusations of "scams" from that see-through glass house of yours!
    Feb 9 05:34 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Clearsign's Lies, Omissions, And One 'Bad Actor' [View article]
    Dr. Thomas Hartwick, an early technical advisor to ClearSign, asked me to post this comment for him:

    Now I know what a celeb feels like when slimed by a tabloid! Apparently, Mr. Berry seems to believe that if my integrity and character are impugned, then investors will believe that ClearSign Combustion Company technology is flawed. He carries his SSTP deductions to absurd conclusions as regards my involvement. My five decades of ethical professional conduct are widely acknowledged, hence, his indictment of me by distorted allegations won't work.

    I cannot speak for ClearSign management, but as an early participant in their technology I can say that ClearSign technology is based on experimental fact. I can also state that my effort to establish the science basis largely explains experimental data. I summarized the basic science status before I left ClearSign in a report dated 3/7/2012.

    My advice to serious investors is to not rely on specious allegations, but instead go to ClearSign management for a dose of facts and reality .

    Dr. Thomas S. Hartwick
    Feb 9 02:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Clearsign's Lies, Omissions, And One 'Bad Actor' [View article]
    The First Amendment here in the U.S. is extremely broad and very powerful, and the Internet provides a large platform for individuals like Matt Berry to abuse “free speech” in an effort to profit from short-term stock moves as well as satisfy internal pleasures by seeing their effort create controversy or pain for others. What people need to understand is CLIR stock price will take care of itself in the long run. Berry’s efforts to create fear and cast doubt are SOLELY for personal financial gain in the SHORT TERM.

    I will summarize my thoughts below:

    1) First and foremost, this is not a “technology scam”. ClearSign's technology is very disruptive to a multi-billion (or trillion) dollar industry, and IT WORKS.
    2) Secondly, and very importantly, who’s name is on various patent applications is absolutely meaningless.
    3) Third, MDB Capital is a serious, IP-focused investment bank run by very smart people who have banked multiple companies from the ground floor to billion-dollar market caps. CLIR has a shot at being their next one.
    4) Please keep in mind that Matt Berry has i) never spoken with anyone at ClearSign; ii) never visited the company or seen a demonstration of the technology; iii) despite multiple invitations, he has never directly addressed his concerns with ANY of the other advisors, bankers, lawyers, etc. who he maligns; and iv) we probably do not know the full story about Berry and any compensation he’s receiving from third parties with short positions. If you look at the publicly-available “short interest” data, you’ll see that the timing of his articles – particularly the first two – coincide with the build-up of a large short position:
    5) And finally, the company is executing its plan: building out the technology platform, expanding the IP portfolio, and working toward commercial validation.

    I would highly urge individuals to speak with management at CLIR and/or MDB Capital. Better yet, go visit ClearSign's headquarters and get a demonstration of the technology. That will eliminate any doubt.
    Feb 9 11:01 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Clearsign's Lies, Omissions, And One 'Bad Actor' [View article]
    Notice how he avoids the key question..."Matt, have you ever spoken with any of the management team at CLIR, visited the company's headquarters/lab and seen the technology in action, or interviewed any of the principals at MDB Capital?"

    Noticeably absent from the "more thorough report" is any mention of ClearSign's team working on the technology and commercialization efforts, Board of Directors, its technology platform, and the market size. It's simply an attempt to create fear, uncertainty and doubt, and fundamentally misses the mark.
    Feb 7 01:19 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Clearsign's Lies, Omissions, And One 'Bad Actor' [View article]
    Matt, have you ever spoken with any of the management team at CLIR, visited the company's headquarters/lab and seen the technology in action, or interviewed any of the principals at MDB Capital?

    Didn't think so.

    Folks, here's what Matt Berry's analysis fundamentally misses: ClearSign's technology is hugely disruptive and IT WORKS. Who's names are on the patents isn't relevant.

    Berry's research is thorough, but his thesis is wrong. All this innuendo and the personal attacks have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that CLIR is executing its business plan and is moving down the path of commercialization -- see the announcement from this morning, "ClearSign Combustion Corporation Develops Novel Power Amplifier for Cost Effective Implementation of ECC(TM) Technology" -

    Matt, mark my words: You are going to get absolutely hammered with your short position. The fact that you're attempting to manipulate a short @ $4/share while taking on unlimited risk to the upside exposes how illogical this whole effort is. I'm not in Uni-Pixel (, which also is backed by MDB, but the shorts have been annihilated on that one. As were the naysayers on VirnetX ( and Medivation (, which also have roots to MDB. So, Matt, keep publishing your defamatory pieces, and just know you've been warned.
    Feb 7 12:37 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Is Uni-Pixel Falling? [View article]
    I am an investor who wrote the rebuttal piece on ClearSign Combusion (CLIR) referenced in Richard Pearson's hit piece. What a pathetic attempt to cause fear and manipulate UNXL, which unfortunately I do not own. I am, however, long a basket of companies where MDB is the investment banker and have done phenomenally well. I'm posting the "year end" email I received from MDB CEO Chris Marlett which I think does a very good job articulating their model and addresses fear-mongers like Pearson.

    Dear Clients and Friends,

    As the year comes to a close, I’d like to take some time to provide all of you with an update on the MDB universe. I think everyone on Wall Street would agree that this year has certainly seen its ups and downs—through them all, I remain steadfastly optimistic about the companies we have lifted into the public markets, and immensely proud of the investors who have joined us.

    To begin, I want to share a brief summary of our investment model, because our belief in that model is what grounds us during these ups and downs in the market.

    Our Model

    At its root, our model is fairly simple:

    1. Find companies with technologies that can be disruptive to very large markets.
    2. Validate their technologies through diligence and the opinion of credible third party experts.
    3. Help them construct an integrated business and IP strategy to get through development and to the point that large companies publicly validate the technology.
    4. Finance the companies at valuations that increase the probability of generating significant returns.
    5. Launch the companies into the public markets, both to allow the value of the company to increase with commercial validation and to provide liquidity to shareholders.

    Historically, we have seen that when diligence demonstrates that a technology makes sense, large commercial partners usually validate it. The burning question, of course, is, “When?” Unfortunately, it is hard to know the answer to that with any degree of accuracy—macroeconomic, supply chain, strategic and operational factors can all play a role. This is why we fund these companies at valuations that reflect the early-stage nature of the company’s technology and business.

    We have found, however, that when that validation does come, the value generally goes higher than anyone expects. In general, we have found that disruptive technologies often trade well above $100M when validated by large commercial entities, and in some cases can trade as high as $1B.

    Before that validation point, however, early-stage companies can often face a kind of “valley of doubt.” This is the time in an early-stage company’s lifecycle in which critics—some whose intentions are good, some whose are less so—try to poke holes in something they view as being “too good to be true.” Often, these critics will speak loudly enough to create selling pressure.

    This is why we need to do a good job of building faith in our investors—so that this selling pressure doesn’t rattle them. We believe that active communication is the key to building that faith. To that end, we are working with our client companies to help them better communicate their accomplishments to both their investors and Wall Street in general. We are also helping them develop response plans in case their critics come out with spurious attacks. Finally, we will also facilitate our own public diligence calls with noted industry experts, which we have found can also help build faith and quell doubts.

    To provide an example hot off of the presses: On December 7th, Uni-Pixel, a company we financed in December 2010, announced it had signed a multi-million dollar license deal with a “major PC manufacturer.” Uni-Pixel’s stock has almost doubled since the announcement. Uni-Pixel is moving out of the “valley of doubt,” and investors who had faith in the company are being rewarded.

    Parametric and ClearSign

    Of course, some of the companies we have financed have not yet received that validation. In fact, two of the companies we have financed in the past year (Parametric Sound and ClearSign Combustion) recently experienced downward price pressure due to a lack of investor confidence. Both suffered from negative articles published on Seeking Alpha, links to which appeared on reputable sites like Yahoo! Finance and Bloomberg.

    The goal of both of these articles was to plant doubt in advance of lock-up expirations to profit from short selling. (Unfortunately, they “worked,” and prices did indeed decline as a result.) To that end, the authors of these articles used words such as “scam” and “fraud” to describe the companies. Of course, we know nothing could be further from the truth, and that both companies have real innovations and management with the highest standards of integrity. Still, when people read these kinds of inflammatory words, they ask themselves: “Could this be true?” We believe this caused panic among investors. (Exacerbating matters were macro trends outside of anyone’s control, including the weakness in the small cap market overall in October and November, and the push by investors to realize capital gains and losses in the face of an uncertain tax environment.)

    We want to make clear that these critics have not shaken our faith in these companies. We’ve been in constant contact with management in both cases, and we actually feel more positive about these companies today than when we originally financed them.

    • Technology: Both companies have been delivering on their stated goals with the development of the technology; in fact, both have exceeded expectations with respect to technological milestones.
    • Validation: Both companies are in active discussions with high-profile commercial partners that would provide the validation that investors seek.
    • Risk-adjusted Return: Both companies offer exceptional potential returns to investors, as the valuations are still modest even though the companies have significantly reduced risk since their last financings were completed.

    So, as one of my mentors in the business of investing in early stage companies would often say, “Keep the faith!” We know that we will all weather this storm together.

    I want to thank you all again for being part of the extended MDB family. We all wish you a safe and happy holiday season, and look forward to having you by our side as we enter 2013.

    Warmest regards,
    Christopher Marlett
    Jan 25 12:03 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Is CLIR: Why The Shorts Are Wrong About ClearSign Combustion [View article]
    What people need to know about Matt Berry when they read his comments here, his previous two hit pieces on ClearSign and a rebuttal to my article, which is no doubt forthcoming, is how fundamentally dishonest he is in his approach. He represents himself as an arbiter of truth while only selectively including information and omitting many critical pieces. These are errors of omission as well as commission. Berry recklessly defames and disparages without evidence, and uses innuendo in an attempt to delegitimize the company, its management, investment bankers, board members and advisors. Ultimately, he's concocted a far-fetched conspiracy theory in an effort to manipulate CLIR stock. But as soon as we start hearing news of the company's first commercial deals in the next 1-2 quarters, Berry and his buddies -- believe me, he is not alone in this effort -- will have to cover their shorts, hopefully at much higher levels.
    Nov 13 08:05 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Is CLIR: Why The Shorts Are Wrong About ClearSign Combustion [View article]
    Matt, before publicly disparaging Dr. Hartwick, a man recognized by his peers as having the utmost integrity, not to mention top-secret clearance with the U.S. Dept of Defense, did you speak with him, the management of CLIR, anyone involved with SSTP or any of his other clients? Did you do ANY sort of reference check? It's a rhetorical question. We already know the answer is a resounding NO. So, please spare me the caution about ME being cautious with my words.
    Nov 12 10:58 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Is CLIR: Why The Shorts Are Wrong About ClearSign Combustion [View article]
    I am a client of MDB Capital. I have had very favorable reults investing in their deals. I participated in a pre-IPO funding round for ClearSign in April/May 2011. I have not sold 1 share of stock from this financing.
    Nov 12 10:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Is CLIR: Why The Shorts Are Wrong About ClearSign Combustion [View article]
    Matt, you represent yourself to be a seeker of truth and transparency, yet all of your arguments center around inflammatory innuendo, intellectual dishonesty, and, in some cases, outright slander. Let's take the most grievous example with your comments around Dr. Thomas Hartwick, where you blatantly misstate the chronology of his consulting/advisory role in a previous company and attempt to discredit him and his involvement in CLIR. You deliberately disparaged a distinguished gentlemen with impeccable credentials who's made important contributions both to the United States government and the business community where he's advised 700+ companies over 44+ years. Please explain yourself on this specific example, Matt, and please stick to the facts.
    Nov 12 07:28 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Is CLIR: Why The Shorts Are Wrong About ClearSign Combustion [View article]
    All, make sure to look at the history on SA of "members" like "Ba1k3es" and "lynmar." They have no followers and no comment history except, suddenly, cheering on Matt Berry on his previous anti-CLIR pieces and here trying to poke holes in my defense of the company. If these aren't "house accounts" controlled by Berry directly, they're friends or colleagues in cahoots with him on this short effort. The hole is getting deeper, guys.....
    Nov 12 11:17 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Is CLIR: Why The Shorts Are Wrong About ClearSign Combustion [View article]
    Thank you. I spent a tremendous amount of time in an effort to be thorough and accurate. It's important that both sides of the CLIR story are out there for investors and potential shareholders to make an investment decision. I think the arguments in favor of this company and the potential upside are far stronger than the downside risk, particularly with the stock in the low $5s.
    Nov 11 08:42 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Is CLIR: Why The Shorts Are Wrong About ClearSign Combustion [View article]
    If you're writing another piece on ClearSign, maybe this time you will actually do some research instead of simply resorting to defamation and innuendo. I did my homework -- dozens of hours worth. How can anyone possibly come to the conclusions you've asserted without speaking with anyone from management, anyone at the investment bank (MDB Capital), and/or any of CLIR's advisors, including Dr. Hartwick? Your research is lacking and your bias has been exposed. Everyone now knows who's trying to conduct a scam here, Matt.
    Nov 11 08:33 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment