Tag Archives: huijaus

Ductor 1.1: Business as usual
(=no business)

Since my last piece about Ductor Corporation (registered also as Ductor Oy, Ductor Ab, Ductor AG, Ductor Ltd and other names) the company made several strange moves. Known in the finnish business press as an enterprise “to invest in, if you want to lose your money with near certainty“, it informed about a new investment round of 2 million Euro.

While that it is hardly new for an enterprise which took in “stupid money” investments of over 30 million Euro to develop a crackpot’s idea into a working product (offended by my wording? read Vol. 1), this time the first public announcement came after the round closed. But they nevertheless tried to make it look like a “successful public round”.

When I wrote about Ductor in July 2020, the round wasn’t there on Springvest’s website. This was also witnessed by the usual investor blogs, which told about the rounds before and after (Medixine and Multitaction), but not Ductor’s. Furthermore, the company claims the round had been active for 5 days only. Normally, these rounds last several weeks.

We can update our information to 2020 with the numbers Ductor released now.
Investments to date: 32,6 million (30,6M+2M); 2/3 from small shareholders.

Ductor is again predicting enormous revenue for the ongoing fiscal year and beyond, but this time, a new red banner appeared which warns explicitly that these numbers are as much phantasy as they are phantastic. This banner hasn’t been there before my July blog posting, where I criticized this practice.

This may well be a coincidence, as well as this whole mysterious “retrospective” investment round. But there is yet another coincidence, that appeared after I blogged about this enterprise.

Ductor Corp. has “updated” their 2019 balance twice since then. One of the updates – and that is quite unusual – contained an English translation of the auditor’s report.

This doesn’t counter a single character of my criticism, as it says straight that the balance is prepared under Finland’s accounting law, which is different from the rules in the countries where Ductor has moved its risks.

Adding to the bizarre story, this statement was audited and signed by Ernst & Young (now EY), which has been since under fire for providing the world with the worst (but most entertaining) auditing scandal in Europe’s modern history. The affirmation of correctness underwritten by an auditor, who can be duped by faked screenshots of bank accounts to sign off multi-billion frauds, counts … virtually nothing.

 

Cysteine and hangover: Finland fakes it first

Two marketing-related studies about the effects of “hangover cure”-products containing vitamins and l-cysteine were published just weeks apart. The first showed, that a certain Australian combination called Rapid Recovery does not alleviate hangover. The second allegedly showed that a Finnish product (Catapult Cat) works, but for some reason the authors claimed to have proven an effect and mechanism for l-cysteine.

There was quite a media buzz about the latter, mostly BS, so I’ll analyze these claims critically – the “upside” was already presented to the lay public. The news stories had no foundation, instead here we have a typical case of junk that passed through peer-review.

But now in chronological order:

Rapid Recovery

The Australian study was published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, which is quite new but has already an impact factor of around 6, which is remarkable, and accelerating.

 

It enrolled 23 participants (planned: 25), 3 of which discontinued, leaving a sample of 20, 65% (13) of them female. For design details: see article. It was a frustrating task to find out which l-cysteine dose was given. According to the corresponding trial registration (>>), it had been 320mg, which is substantially lower than in the finnish trial below.  However, it’s described as a trial of a certain supplement, and therefore correct to report it that way.

A bunch of hangover scales, including the standard Hangover Severity Scale (HSS) and multiple laboratory parameters were used mainly on the mornings after two drinking sessions, one concluded with ingestion of the supplement, the other with placebo.

Because l-cysteine is often easily distinguishable from inert placebo (smell! stomach!), the participants were asked afterwards, if they guessed which treatment they received. This procedure is a quality marker for clinical trials with “soft” outcomes, i.e. such as questionnaires about mood, stress, etc. These are highly susceptible to the “amplified placebo” effect: If the person knows, which treatment was given, the answer is probably biased.

There was no significant difference between placebo and the supplement in hangover severity or any other measure. 60% (12 participants of 20) guessed correctly, what treatment they were given, but that’s well within what is expected by chance and had not influenced the results.

The authors reminded, that the physiology of hangover is largely unknown, and concluded, that this specific supplement does not mitigate any of its symptoms. Accordingly, either “administration of l-cysteine combined with B and C vitamins does not improve acetaldehyde metabolism”, or acetaldehyde does not cause alcohol hangover. I would add, it was at least not detectable with such a study.

Catapult Cat

Six weeks later, another study about a vitamin-cysteine supplement was published, this time in the smaller, lower-impact Alcohol and Alcoholism journal, which has nonetheless a good standing in the field. Its impact factor has dwindled over the years down to ~2. I certainly liked it for its short name in citations: Alcohol Alcohol looks reliably strange.

Interestingly, one of the “equally contributing” authors – Maria Palmen – is not a researcher, but a professional writer from an agency in Helsinki, where she’s listed as “editor, medicines”.

click for full-text article

The supplement tested here contained even more vitamins than Rapid Recovery, which had thiamine, pyridoxine and vitamin C added to l-cysteine. Catapult Cat is also made of riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), biotin (B7), folic acid (B9) and cobalamin (B12).

The main author, CJ Peter Eriksson, is neither a psychiatrist nor physiology or addiction expert but an associate professor for public health at the University of Helsinki, who started his career in the labs of state-monopoly ALKO chain. Erikssons has maintained for decades, that acetaldehyde is the main culprit for hangover. Thus he was the natural choice for Catapult Cat Oy, the maker of this supplement. Eriksson announces straight away to know “the truth”, as opposed to mainstream research, and the source he cites for this bold claim is: the man himself.

Industry-sponsored trials are known to produce results which pleasure the sponsor. In this case, Eriksson et al have employed so unusual measures to get their output looking “positive”, that they had to explain it away one after the other – or at least to try to. With a bit of background in clinical trial design, this makes it relatively easy to find the weaknesses.

The first difference to the Australian trial is the lack of measurements. No use of the standard scales, just one Likert scale had to do the job. Acetaldehyde was to be detected with a breath test, but this somehow failed (see full text).

The sample size was similar to the Rapid Recovery trial above, which means both were severely underpowered and at the same time prone to type I errors (aka false positive). The most eye-popping difference is that the finnish study excluded women – something they “forgot” to tell the media, and it’s also not in the abstract. One has to read the paywalled full-text version to know this.

The reasons for this shortcoming are unclear, the authors give a number of post-hoc considerations, which are impossible to check because the protocol is not available and the trial was not registered. It seems odd that “participating in different phases of the menstrual cyclus” was sufficient to exclude a female afterwards, and the exclusion of at least two women (possibly six) was not justified by any criteria. So the trial reports only on 19 men, further diminishing the statistical power and casting doubt on the validity: Why not report the male-female ratio, even when it’s 90%, but instead drop a third of the data?

One could reckon, also in the light of the negative trial above (which had 65% female), that inclusion of the female data would have rendered the results non-significant and prompted Eriksson’s team to drop this part, after the data came in. Left with so few data points, they came up with another bad idea: One-tailed testing.

This problem is best described here by the University of California, in short:

 

The researchers explain their choice of a one-tailed test with the expected direction of the results. They “knew” beforehand that Catapult Cat works by lowering acetaldehyde levels – but exactly THIS is what they had to prove first. The acetaldehyde levels were difficult to measure with the equipment they used.

But what data did they really analyze? That’s, well, confusing.

 

There is no explanation of “response”, so one is left with guessing. A closer look at the graphics makes me lose the last illusions about this study.

 

The individual data used for the different analyzes change with every item. It’s always another group of participants that is statistically tested. The researchers select from item to item the fitting data. And even by dropping again such a great portion of data, Eriksson et al managed to get one significant result, barely below the 0.05 threshold. The other isn’t even significant.

The same again with the rest of the items:

To use a simple picture: If you spray a playground full of children with water, and then only ask the smiling children if that’s a great thing, you aren’t testing the hypothesis “all children like mud”. The results are useless, although there is a plenty of anecdotal evidence and “experience” that children actually like to be dirty and jump into puddles. Some may dislike it, some maybe fear the reaction of adults. But if you are not testing for the whole picture but look the other way, it’s a worthless effort.

Needless to say, Eriksson et al did not ask their research subjects if they knew which treatment they received. So this possibility is not ruled out: The probands could have guessed when Catapult Cat was given, and responded in the expected way.

If that wasn’t enough failure for one study article, I did something I shouldn’t have done. I looked up the Editorial Board of the Journal. I did not expect to find anything like this.

Eriksson is on the “Editorial Advisory Board” and his long-time colleague and often co-author Anders Helander is the Associate Editor.

Before this last point, I thought maybe the dwindling journal wanted to land a scoop with this publication (and maybe that was also a motivation). Or, otherwise, there have been faked studies going through in the most prestigious journals on the planet (e.g. the Covid-19 articles in the Lancet and the NEJM). Why should a small journal do better?

But, unfortunately it looks like Eriksson sneaked it into the publication via well-worn channels, and a buddy helped with this to make sure it goes through.

Ironic footnote:

The sales boost from this study won’t probably rescue the company, which manufactures the supplement. It freshly appeared on the public list of insolvent debtors (protestilista.com) and owes especially to Pharmia Oy, its contract manufacturer. Catapult Cat Oy has not filed any balance for the last 2,5years and is set to be struck off the trade register, or to go into liquidation by November 2020.

HumanCharger-Valkee leaving the stage

Finnish media reported last week, that Valkee Ltd. is now registered on the public list of insolvent debitors (protestilista). The maker of the HumanCharger scam devices, which has received stupid money investments of more than 10 million Euro and is chaired by the “famous” Timo Ahopelto, is now unable to pay bills as low as €1000.

The press reports show, that despite being otherwise a small and rather unimportant company, Valkee is still of interest because of the vast media attention it received in the past. This development was furthered, predicted and documented by this blog for years.

The snail media, having re-published my stories repeatedly without revealing the source, missed a certain detail. Valkee Ltd has also been forced out of their long-term headquarters in Oulu. Their website still speaks about “R&D and production facilities [which] are located adjacent to the company’s headquarters in Oulu, Finland”. In fact, Valkee could no longer pay the rent in Elektroniikkatie 3-5. The new address is in Lummintie 11 in Oulunsalo.

There is not much space for production and R&D, adjacent to a massage therapist.

The company is so desperate, it sells the devices now for $87 (previously $219). In Europe these are out of stock, no cash to manufacture any more. This is how the story ends.

Ductor, Vol. 1: Let There Be Gas

In the last weeks, there has been considerable interest in my blog post from May 2016, where I wrote about strange investments by LifeLine Ventures, managed by controversial investor Timo Ahopelto.

Of these, Valkee is the most notorious here in Finland. Its product, the earlight device which is now called HumanCharger, has become a popular synonym for “scam”. Valkee is technically bankrupt since 2017, has lost it’s last international investors, and was just a few days ago again noted in the press for being listed in the public register of insolvent debtors. Led by Ahopelto for more than 10 years, it is expected to leave the stage soon, but not before adding another 200 indiegogo crowdfunders to the number of 100.000 defrauded customers, who wasted around €200 each for a quack treatment.

uBiome, another declared favorite of Ahopelto and LifeLineVentures’ flagship investment, made devastating headlines in the US. After the FBI raided their headquarters, it turned out the founders – which Ahopelto held in especially high regard – had lied about nearly anything; one even about her age. uBiome filed for bankruptcy shortly thereafter, and their assets were auctioned – netting in about 1% from their earlier valuation of $600M.

The story of the third company I listed back then, Ductor Oy, is at least as bizarre as these earlier cases. However, it went mainly unnoticed so far. I try to line out its history, business and financing practices in the first part, followed later by another piece about their “revolutionary product”. Opinions, threats and the usual insults shall be put in the comments section or directed at earlightswindle@gmail.com.

>corrections after publication marked & at the end of the text<

May I have your full attention now, it is absolutely worth it. All details below, as unbelievable they might feel, are taken from the company’s own material and statements of the people involved. All is linked directly to sources. If there’s any speculation from my side, it’s noted in the text. Here we go.

 

Founded by “Jesus”

Ductor was founded in 2009 on orders from God. This can be directly inferred from the circumstances described on the Facebook page of Veikko Latvala. Ductor’s co-founder calls himself a “healer and seer”, who can cure “migraine, back pain and cancers”.

 

2008 and 2009 saw the publication of two books dictated by God into Veikko’s pen. God dictated even the colour of the book cover, according to Latvala. (The full translation is available here as PDF.) In the end, Ductor’s co-founder even hints he might be a reincarnation of Jesus, because a “Holy Man” is sent to earth every 2000 years.

While God was still dictating the second book (to becompleted in spring 2009), the farmer Latvala founded Ductor together with Ari Ketola. Ketola has changed his name to Ari Mokko in 2020. The company entered the finnish trade register in February 2009 (no. 2009/613158).

 

Latvala was Ductor’s chairman from 2009 until 2012, when he handed the position over to the CEO Ari Ketola, a faithful follower of the prophet. Latvala then assumed the role of Ductor’s director until June 2019. Ductor’s investor material from 2017 (PDF) says, that Latvala was responsible for R&D and product strategy.

According to archived versions of Ductor’s website, Veikko Latvala is an “inventor” and “the original founder of the Ductor idea”. He resigned from the board last year (Latvala turns 80 in 2020) but remains the second-largest shareholder.

The third director has been Timo Ahopelto since 2012, the year LifeLine Ventures started to invest in Ductor. Neither Ketola, Latvala nor Ahopelto have an appropriate scientific or somehow professional background. Latvala was a farmer, Ahopelto helds a Master in industrial management, and the CEO Ketola has only had vocational training as a “merkonomi“, the finnish basic requirement for salesmen. The finnish press picked up these strange directors’ background once in 2016.

 

A sticky vision

The company was probably financed during its early years mainly by Ketola, who had made a small fortune by introducing the ESPRIT clothing brand onto the finnish market.

Ductor today tells about its beginnings (source: Ductor material 2019, p.20), that Latvala and Ketola “analyzed” the problems of the world’s food production and wanted to find biological methods to ensure the planet would cope with population growth. Ketola than organized a “challenge” to scientists at the University of Helsinki, prompting them to find a method which employs microorganisms to produce ammonia – while removing nitrogen from agricultural waste.

I cannot really imagine a situation, where an outsider – especially a textile salesman fulfilling a vision of a farmer-prophet – contacts a leading university’s scientists, “hey we need some fitting science for this idea we had”. Accordingly, the first patents filed for Ductor list only Latvala and Ketola as “inventors”. Only later applications then have names of actual researchers, too.

The prophet’s idea, without a working process, however, was enough to ensure excessive funding in 2012 by TEKES (now part of BusinessFinland) and, as noted before, by Ahopelto’s LifeLine Ventures. This was probably made possible by the first patent application for the “Ductor technology”, filed by Latvala and Ketola in June 2012.

Ductor was awarded instantly a staggering 1,145 million Euro by TEKES, and received an undisclosed sum from LifeLine Ventures. During the following years, public funding granted would rise to a total of 3,7 Million.

1,4 million were granted in 2014 and 2016, when Ahopelto was on the board of TEKES. Here’s the same problematic pattern we’ve seen before with Valkee and other companies.

Despite their involvement with Ductor, its founders made appearances as prophet and apostle – that’s my interpretation of Ketola’s statements. Veikko Latvala was repeatedly cited in the yellow press for his prophecies, in which he predicted, for instance, the end of Finland’s governing coalition in 2014, and the end of the European Union for 2017.

To be fair, he’s widely regarded as a crackpot, although some still adhere to Latvala’s teachings: There is a whole website with his forecasts,of a disciple[*] which published the final message on May 31 2020. It commented on the Coronavirus pandemic and said “you will hear from me again”.

 

Cash flows

Ductor’s main business in terms of generating cash flow have been ever repeated investment rounds. Until June 2019, it’s been over 21 million through direct issuing of shares, crowdfunding, convertible bonds, and other instruments.

 

Several rounds were organized by kansalaisrahoitus.fi (now turned into Springvest). The last offerings I’m aware of have been convertible bonds, partially through a finnish variant of “crowdfunding” in February 2019 ((planned 2,25 million Euro) and June 2019 (3,6 million).

 

Promises and Lies

All investor prospectus material issued for the public rounds reiterates these points:

  • the multi-billion market for Ductor’s biogas solutions
  • the multi-million revenue predicted for the coming fiscal year
  • the technological progress and the growing customer base.

The latter will be X-rayed in my second post. The billion euro potential is something that many startups include in their investor attraction marketing. The exorbitant revenue predictions for the next fiscal year are a Ductor specialty, given that Ductor has made no revenue at all to date.

As an example, here is Ductor’s forecast as of December 2017 from the 2017 prospectus. Projected revenue in orange, the real result until 2019 is marked in dark blue.

In early 2019, the revenue for the already completed fiscal year 2018 was said to be €1,3 million, and for the ongoing 2019 a 75 million jackpot was expected.

 

In the balance for 2018, which was published in July 2019, the 1,3 million had shrunk to €14.000. The prognosis for 2019 was quite volatile through the fiscal year, it was given as 40,8 million in June (down from the 75 million in February).

 

The published balance for 2019 showed €726.000 instead – another 40 million evaporated in half a year. A closer look even reveals, that of this meager result only €17.700 were from sales to other entities than their own group.

To repeat the joke from above: Actual revenue is marked in neon pink.

 

In my understanding, forecasts for the ongoing fiscal year should be somewhat more reliable. Here, investors are recruited with a promise for the upcoming months. This is clearly something else as the extraordinary prognoses for the years to come.

While this may still be somehow in a grey zone, Ductor has also lied directly in more than one prospectus. It’s about the formula which is in all material: In the last 5 years, none of the board members or other leading management

has held a leading position, such as a member of the administrative, management or supervisory body, or has been a member of the management body as such in a company that has filed for bankruptcy, liquidation or reorganization

Timo Ahopelto was chairman of at least one company that filed for bankruptcy in 2018. Optomeditech Oy folded in November of that year, with Ahopelto being chairman since 2013, according to the finnish trade register (no. 2018/531107).

I did not check systematically if there are more cases, since the worst (like uBiome) are not on LifeLine Ventures investments page. Such false information can lead to legal action and liability claims.

Ductor had hinted at a possible IPO in 2020, but this did not go further. It would have led to more scrutiny, which inevitably had uncovered such weak points. Instead, Ketola/Mokko has told that a “partial exit” is planned for this year. Hard luck for the new owner.

 

Where’s the money?

Finnish companies are allowed to include all kind of acronyms into their name, also such that resemble those of foreign business entities. A firm could those be called a PLC, Ltd, LLC, Inc., GmbH, AG, or whatever, without being incorporated in the respective countries as such. This is helpful, when a company needs to assume or deny identity to conceal creative accounting or unclear transactions.

Ductor has pulled such a trick by registering in Finland concurrently as “Ductor AG”, like the german and swiss Aktiengesellschaft. According to the swiss trade register (SHAB), it founded a company with the same name in Zug am See in 2018. Since then, it’s called a “swiss-finnish company”. In Ductor’s balances since then, there are assets of several million Euro allocated to Ductor AG and the german subsidiary Ductor GmbH, and other such companies in the rest of the world.

The AG has not filed a balance yet, but the GmbH has done it up to 2018. The german branch has had a debt of 1,4 million Euro, of which 437.000 were not covered by other assets. In other words, Ductor’s balance is in fact not “balanced” as required, when we assume that the GmbH’s debt is to Ductor in Finland, as the finnish papers suggest.

It’s not clear what else is behind this construct, and it’s nearly impossible to get a complete picture from outside of the company. An auditor would need access to internal documents from all continents, which seems unrealistic.

With all that money, it may be possible to make progress and even develop revolutionary methods and products as envisioned by Latvala and Ketola ten years ago. The real outcome of this mayhem, however, will be the subject of my second Ductor post.

In my opinion, one thing can be taken for granted already: Even if Ductor would make profit in a distant future, the finnish tax payer and the crowdfunder-investors won’t get their share. Ductor is prepared.

 

[*correction 8.8.2020: the website in question is influenced by his teachings, but the maintaining person says the prophecies are her own; Latvala made her see these]

Transdermal Magnesium, Fake Studies, and a Family Business

When I wrote in 2017 about Finland’s leading pharmacy chain intentionally selling magnesium spray snake oil to its customers, I wasn’t aware of the scale of the transdermal magnesium scam.  There are hundreds of manufacturers and sellers, and there are dozens of such products on sale in finnish pharmacies.

One company caught my eye: Nordic Health, which maintains websites for all nordic countries. It has “Magnesium Sleep lotion for mothers and babies“, “Magnesium butter“, and 17 (!) other transdermal magnesium products. The tagline: “Scientifically proven“.

 

According to Nordic Health, its magnesium is effectively absorbed through the skin. If true, that would be strikingly different from all other transdermal magnesium preparations. The company presents studies to bolster its claims (click to open).

 

  • #1 looks like an incomplete citation of a real, published scientific study.
  • #2-#6 are sponsored, unpublished statements about different products (Magnesium, vitamins) allegedly done by an university. Obviously it’s nothing about these specific Nordic Health formulations.
  • #7 and #8 are unrelated studies about inflammatory bowel disease (!) in eastern Europe.
  • #9-#12 are mainly unidentifiable, unpublished sponsored statements.
    I managed to find #11 online; it’s an uncontrolled questionnare test (“did you sleep better with this product?”)

 

To make it short: This is no scientific proof, this is not even science. And it’s accompanied with logos of universities and the NHS. I bet Nordic Health hasn’t any right to use the NHS’s mark to pump up sales.

Nordic Health Sprays tells it’s a finnish family business. …but what kind of family?

NordicHealthSprays Family Business

 

But wait, there was a real study at the beginning, right? The incorrect citation was

  • Watkins, K., Josling PD. 2010. A Pilot Study to determine the impact of Transdermal Magnesium treatment on serum levels and whole body CaMg Ratios. European Journal For Nutraceutical Research.

 

Fake Journal, Fake Study – Good Product?

This study is widely quoted and reproduced on webshops which sell transdermal magnesium. Get it, for example, from the “Magnesium Health Institute” (PDF). It is even cited in papers in (allegedly peer-reviewed) scientific journals. Although it’s not found as an original paper in any citation database.

It is not in PubMed/MedLine, and no-one seems to know the “European Journal for Nutraceutical Research“. I’ve done a lot of research into predatory journals (soon to be published), but this one baffled me. The journal is not in the NLM catalog, meaning it has not even existed at any point in time. There’s no trace whatsoever currently on the net. Nonetheless, it’s widely used and cited by shady and half-shady businesses – like extempore, the customer magazine of the finnish pharmacists’ association.

 

Finally, I identified the “journal” through the always-appreciated internet archive. The “European Journal for Nutraceutical Research” has been a sub-blog on the defunct phytomedcentral.org website. It had less than five entries and was accompanied by other fakes, like Plant Taxonomy Journal, Plant Anti Cancer Journal, Veterinary Plant Medicine Journal, and Pharmaceutical Plant Research Journal. These were all used to push questionable supplements or “herbal remedies” by junk studies disguised as scientific journal articles.

It’s in a way a copycat of Andrea Rossi‘s method to publish his cold fusion junk papers in his “Journal of Nuclear Physics“, which is in fact only his blog.

What if I’d call my gloom blog Journal of Scientific Innovation?
(All these names are already used by scammers.)

If it wouldn’t be so symptomatic, it would be funny. The source is long gone, but the misinformation lives on. I won’t go into details of the study, the strange titles of the authors and the obscure “Herbal Research Center” where it was done.

And this is the best existing evidence for transdermal magnesium?

It is, according to this review of transdermal magnesium, which was also published through a controversial publisher. Generally, at the moment only sub-standard stuff like this exists.

 

***

ps. the address, where “Nordic Health Sprays” (Pohjoismaiden Terveyssuihkeet Oy) claims to reside, is a family home on sale:

 

Space Nation comes full circle (updated)

“Space Nation konkurssi” Google suosittelee, kun etsii firmaa sieltä. Tuore tilinpäätös puhuu samaa kieltä.

As promised – here is the 5/2018 balance of “space tourism company” Space Nation Oy (formerly Cohu Experience Ltd) from Helsinki, Finland.

SpaceNation balance 2018 (PDF)

Initial sales from the Space Nation Navigator game app were negligible: Revenue was 4006€ (I predicted 4000). The overall result is a 2,9M€ loss (my prognosis 4-6M).

Of the 5,2 million given by crowdfunders and other private investors last year, 58.000 was left in May 2018. That is probably burned yet, also. The company owed 1,2M to banks and addtional 952K to suppliers. In the books are mainly immaterial rights and contracts – such as the (non-commercial) Space Act Agreement with NASA. No substance.

Now that’s clearly a serious situation, which explains the abrupt stopping of the “Astronaut Training program” in August. The app’s downloads have come to a standstill by October. It’s not far-fetched to expect the app disappear from the Google Play Store and Apple Store within 12 months, as it happened to Cohu Experience’s first app, CarbonToSoil.

In time for Slush 2018, Space Nation seems to come full circle where it started two years ago.

____________________________________________________

UPDATE 19.11.2018:

After diving to €0,80 [ask], Space Nation shares were suspended “until further notice” from Privanet’s stock bazaar. The trade register – neither the company nor Privanet – informs about the probable reason.

Space Nation has issued new shares, possibly to pay expenses, at least 15 times since December 2017. These were now registered on Nov 15. Further diluting previous investors’ shares by 205.000, it brings the overall count to 1.708.793. Thus the theoretical valuation would now be well below €1,4M, but as no deals were registered in the last 2 months, it’s surely closer to zero than a million. Last year, Space Nation had predicted it to be one billion by now.

Space Nation Oy (Ltd), formerly Cohu Experience, has now announced to file for bancruptcy. It managed to burn multi-million investments in less than 2 years.

“Avaruusyhtiö” Space Nation Oy kertoo olevansa vaikeuksissa [update]

Suomalainen “avaruusturismiyhtiö” Space Nation Oy kertoi eilen dramaattisessa ilmoituksessa sovelluksensa käyttäjille [>>] olevansa taloudellisissa vaikeuksissa. Tämä tuli vain päiviä viimeisen postaukseni jälkeen [>>], jossa varoitin juuri tästä kehityksestä.

Teksti muutettiin kun kirjoitin Twitterissä tästä [>>]. Ennen siinä luki we have encountered financial difficulties – nykyversio sanoo sen eri sanoissa

Eli varat ei riitä “astronauttiohjelman” jatkamiseen. Tämä on siksi erityisen vakava, koska astronauttiohjelma oli ainoa lupaava operatiivinen rahanlähde. Tässä vaiheessa kassavirta ei tule muualta kuin sovelluksesta, joka – lievästi sanottu – ei menestynyt*. Se saattaa nyt lisäksi sukeltaa, koska porkkanaa (avaruuslento) ei ole enää. Ainoa optio on nyt lisärahoitus yksityishenkilöistä.

Jo 10-14 päivää sitten jotkut sijoittajat yrittivät myydä osakkeensa Privanetin kautta pilkkahinnalla. Näyttää siltä, että sisäpiiri tiesi mikä oli tulossa.

Muutama päivä ennen Space Nation Oy:n hätäilmoitusta hinta laski jopa 3 Euroon. Tästä poliisi voisi ilman muuta aloittaa esitutkinnan.

On erikoista, että Privanet, joka on laskenut nuo osakkeet firman ohjeistuksesta liikkeelle, ei kerro mitään vielä. Pörsissä tästä olisi pakko tehdä julkinen varoitus. Tämä näyttää taas, että Privanetin asiakkaana olet heikossa asemassa jos sijoituskohteelle käy huonosti [>>]. Tietämättömästi joku voisi ostaa nyt Privanetin “jälkimarkkinnoilta” Space Nation-osakkeet ja ei olisi minkäänlaista mahdollisuutta selvittää, miten firmalle oikeasti menee.

Space Nation ei uskalla antaa uutta aikataulua, mikä on aivan ymmärrettävä, kun lähitulevaisuus on täysin epäselvä. Ja ennenkin firman aikataulut tuskin pitäneet paikkansa. Blogi informoi jatkossakin.

 

*käyttäjämäärän arvio: Google Play Store Downloads 10.000+ (20.8.2018) 4,5 kk jälkeen, eli 10.000 – 50.000 välimaastossa. Vasta Kesäkuussa ylitti 10.000. Alussa lineaarinen kasvu, viime aikana hidastunut. Tästä kertoo arvostelujen määrän kehitys, alkuryntäyksen 200 lisäksi tuli vain 20 enää kk:ssa 08-09/2018. Plus Apple-käyttäjät; 40.000 on siis ystävällisesti arvioitu.

UPDATE 26.8.2018: Kuvankaappaus.
& Joku riskisijoittaja tarjoaa nyt 1,00€ per osake. Antikurssista -93%. Liian kallis?
[EDIT muodollisuudet]

Finnish “space launch” misfired (Crowdsucking pt III)


[see Crowdsucking I and II]

Finnish “space tourism startup” Space Nation (formerly Cohu Experience) is struggling to get traction. Their astronaut training app Space Nation Navigator – which is actually a collection of simple space-themed mobile games – saw little success with the community. Instead of the astronomic user counts which they promised to investors, it hovers around 40.000. And that may be a stretch.

In December 2017, Space Nation forecasted 4.000.000 for today. In reality, they reached 1% of this already down-written prognosis. Even when the app’s late launch is taken into account, it missed the milestone by -90%.

 

The projection above is taken from a presentation for Space Nation shareholders which was circulated some 9 months ago. The company was mugging for fresh money, again collected by Finland’s Privanet Securities Oy.

The material was not for the general public, but it’s interesting because it gives insights into a failed strategy. Download it here: spacenation-investors.pdf.

 

Failed highjacking

A takeover of NASA’s MISSION X campaign was planned for Q4 2017. That would have been a major coup: Mission X reaches out to >100.000 school children worldwide, which would be a perfect (though ethically suspect) marketing base.

It did not happen. The only thing Space Nation took over was the slogan. They plagiated the theme.

 

Especially annoying: With Mission X, kids actually do train. With the Space Nation app, it’s the opposite. Only the least intelligent churnalists could mistake scratching around on a smartphone screen for something related to real astronaut training.

 

Financial turmoil

The planned profit of 84 million Euro by May 2018 evaporated in the corrected forecast. Now the financial result was projected to -2 million. Taken into account the low user recruitment, the real number could be -4 to -6 million. The company hasn’t made their last balance public. This blog will, when the documents become available.

However, it’s 90 million less than promised to their crowdfunders and other investors.

Another investment round, that was officially announced for Spring 2017, was called off without further notice. Space Nation aimed to pocket another 2,8M from the american crowdfunding platform fundable.com. The 625.000 Euro raised in Finland (according to Privanet) could hardly fix anything. The company will need more funding soon.

The stocks issued for €13,67/share in Februar and December 2017 last traded in March at €8 in the Privanet propietary platform. Now they’re offered like foul fish, but nobody is buying them for as low as 4,99. Desperate shareholders now have to stick with Space Nation at any cost.

 

Only one thing may rescue the risky enterprise: Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, which is finally at the edge of commercial space flight. The space tourism pioneer could take Space Nation candidates on board – possibly in 2019. Space Nation could win a hard-fought over seat by promising Branson added publicity – but does Virgin need support from a finnish startup that has (quote) nothing than “an app and an idea”?

With the money already raised and the current fees, 20-30 people could go to space without the need for startup bullshit, Slush events, business models and merchandise.

Five years from now, when people think space, they will think Space Nation. (-a finnish entrepeneur)

ps. Like the earlight company Valkee Ltd, Space Nation is a client of finnish PR hazardeurs Netprofile Oy. Bingo!

pps. Valkee is no longer able to purchase such services, unlike Space Nation, which is midways in its Gaussian-shaped carreer.

Valkee jakaa tohtoriarvoja, osa 2/3: Antti Flyktman

Poikkeuksellisesti kirjoitan text-only, koska minulta kysyttiin kommentti. Tiedätte, että faktat täällä pitävät paikkansa, toisin kuin kielenkäyttö. Linkit myöhemmin, googlekaa itse tarvittaessa. Olen Tanskassa, tämä tulee puhelimesta.

La 30.6.2018 on seuraava Valkee-väitös tulossa. Tällä kertaa luonnontieteellinen, ei lääketieteen tiedekunnasta kuin viimeksi. Päivä mielestäni ei ole sattuma, viikonloppuna just kun kesäloman ydinaika alkaa. Erittäin likainen temppu yritetään, ja vaikka olen nähnyt paljon Oulun Yliopistolta, en uskonut että sellaista on mahdollista. Toisin kävi. Olin siis väärällä jalalla.

Mikä väitös:

3-artikkelin väitöskirja, josta vain yksi julkaistu tiedejournalissa. J Exp Biol, impact factor ok. Kyseenalainen asetelma valon intensiteetin ja kontrolliryhmän kannalta, mutta olkoon. Tavallista kamaa siis. Jos OY:lta saa tohtoriarvon yhdestä hiirikokeesta, ei ole minun ongelma.

Toinen artikkeli on huijauslehdessä julkaistu, J Neurol Res. OYn sännöt kieltävät predatory publication väitöskirjassa. Kansainvälisesti tällaista ei pidetä edes akateemisena toimintana. Toisaalta tällaista nähtiin jo muissa korvavalo-väitöksissä.

Kolmas juttu on manuscript-tilassa.

Väitösfarssin osapuolet:

Ohjaajana/kustoksena toimii “korvavalon isoisä” Seppo Saarela, joka vuosia auttanut Valkeeta markkinoinnissa. Muistetaan vielä tempustaan Hesarissa, jossa hän firman henkilöstöön kuuluvan Jari Karhun kanssa puolustanut korvavaloa vastauksena tiedetoimittajan kolumnille. Oulun yliopisto joutui tutkimaan, onko Saarela rikkonut intressiristiriita-sääntöjä (mikä oli hölmö, koska HS on siviililehti, eikä OY pystynyt tekemään mitään Karhun tapauksessa).

Karhu on väitöstilaisuuden vastaväittäjä. Kuulostaa uskomattomalta, mutta OY oikeasti ottaa Valkeen miehen valkeeväitöksen “vasta”(!)väittäjänä. Karhu pääsi firman palkkalistalle 2013, kun suursijoitus mahdollisti rekrytöintiä. LinkedIn-profiilinsa mukaan hän on yhä firman neuvonantajana nyt. Kun Valkee ahdingossaan myöhemmin antoi kenkää “tiede”väelle, Karhu jäi “tiedetiimin johtajana”, entisellä nettisivuilla luki.

Tiedotteessa henkilö kutsutaan “Professori Jari Karhu, Suomen Terveystalo Oy”. Tämä tuskin on akateeminen laitos. Karhu on siellä ylempi johtaja. Mies oli joskus neurofysiologian professori Kuopiossa, kunnes virka loppui. Mistä tämä titteli siis?

Karhu ei ole asian tuntija. Hän ei ole julkaistanut yhtä samansuuntaista juttua, ei vuorokausirytmistä, valosta, hiirten aivoproteiineista. Ainoa “pätevyyden näyttö” on, että on Valkeen asialla. Eli mikä pitäisi olla poissulkusyy, on Oulussa hyväksynnän peruste.

Väittelijä itse kirjoittaa “kiitokset”-osuudessa suhteestaan Valkeeseen. Lyhyesti mikä täällä tapahtuu: Valkeen tutkija saa tohtoriarvon korvavaloprofessorilta, ja vastaväittäjäkin on Valkeelta. Ei mitään voi siis mennä pieleen. Jopa selkeä tieteellinen väärinkäyttö, joka mualla johtuisi hylkämiseen, ei se mitään, hyväksytään. Varma nakki, kiitos Oulun Yliopistolle tästä!

Tämä väitös oli ym. mielessäni, kun kirjoitin Valkeen Heidi Jurvelinin väitöstilaisuuden yhteydessä, että Oulussa on pahempiakin. Tähän verrattuna Maaliskuun kohuväitös on huippulaatua.

Ettei tule väärinkäsityksiä, en ole katkera tai vihainen, päinvastoin. Viimeinen Valkee-väitös oli laajasti esillä netissä ja mediassa. Yleisö saattaa vihdoin ymmärtää, mikä skandaalin tutkijat jo pitkään tiedämme – että kyseessä on tietoinen ja tahallinen toiminta yliopiston puolelta. Ei ole akateeminen vapaus joka joskus synnyttää outoja tuloksia. Ei ollut vahinko. Akateemisen järjestelmän systemaatinen hyväksi- ja väärinkäyttö.

Only in Oulu?

 

Ps. Lukekaa readers’ comments alla.

Vihdoin tieteellisesti todettu: Ac-Kysteiini ei auta krapulaan

NAC (N-Asetyyli-L-Kysteiini) sisältäviä “krapulapillereitä” on hyvin suosittuja, vaikka niiden todellisesta tehosta ei ollut tieteellistä näyttöä. Mutta nyt tulivat maailman ensimmäiset lumekontrolloidut tutkimustulokset julki.

Ne koskevat Rohtos Oy:n kohuttuja SUOJA-kapselia ja toissijaisesti myös L-kysteiinivalmisteita: BioHitin Acetium sekä Catapult Cat. Nämä ovat Suomen myydyimmät “krapulalääkkeet”. Niitä myydän myös ulkomaille.

NAC eli Asetyylikysteiini ei auta krapulaan.

 

Mikä tutkimus?

Lumekontrolloitu krapulapilleri-tutkimus tehtiin jo Elo-Joulukuussa 2015 Yhdysvalloissa. Järjestäjänä toimi St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network Pennsylvaniassa.

Siihen osallistui 62 henkilöä. 2/3 olivat miehiä. 49:n tuloksia pystyttiin käyttämään analyysissa. Heidät satunnaistettiin kahteen ryhmään (23:26), jossa jokainen toimi sekä toisen että oman kontrollihenkilönä (nk. crossover-tutkimus).

Osallistujille juotettiin olutta, kunnes puhalluskokeella saatiin 1,0 promille-lukemaa. Bierdeckel-menetelmällä* lasketun olutannoksen perusteella annettiin 600mg asetyylikysteiiniä sisältäviä kapseleita, 1 kps 3 annosta kohti. Toinen ryhmä sai lumekapseleita. Seuraavana aamuna tutkittavat täyttivät Hangover Symptom Score eli HSS-kyselylomakkeen.

Tulokset saattavat järkyttää NAC-kauppiaita ja heidän asiakkaita: Plasebolla oli identtinen vaikutus kuin NAC:lla. HSS-pisteitä oli 0-35 ja 0-38. Tämä myös tarkoittaa, että krapulaa oikeasti saatiin aikaan. HSS voi maksimissaan olla 52.

Vielä pahemmin, NAC aiheutti huomattavasti enemmän sivuvaikutuksia. Asetyylikysteiini-ryhmästä aine toi haittoja 11/49:lle (22%). Lumeryhmän luku oli 4/49 (8%).

Tulokset saatiin julki ennen vertaisarvioitua julkaisua clinicaltrials.gov-rekisterin Study results-toiminnolla, jonka käyttö lakimuutosten takia yleistyy. Siihen voi ilmoittaa tuloksia perusmuodossa. Rekisteri tarkastelee niitä jkv. ja laittaa näkyviin yhteydessä tutkimuksen alkuperäiseen rekisterimerkintään.

Tärkeät tiedot vielä puuttuvat, esim. todellinen NAC- ja alkoholiannos. Kannattaa siis odottaa vertaisarvioitua julkaisua. Nämä tulokset silti “virallistettiin” jo. Se on eri asia kuin konferenssiposteri, jolla usein etukäteen tiedotetaan tuloksista, jotka ei välttämättä pääsekään journaliin. Toinen, vielä isompi tutkimus on samassa paikassa meneillään.

***

Tätä tulosta odotettiin maailmalla vuosikausia. Tarinoiden ja NAC-kauppiaiden lupausten perusteella käytetään NAC ja kysteiinivalmisteita laajasti “krapulan torjumiseen”. Tämä on todistettavasti humpuukia.

 

p.s.: Sanoma Media käytti taas luvatta blogini sisältöä. TS:n Krapulalääke-juttu toistaa kirjoituksiani [1] [2]. Second-hand-toimittaja toki ei tiennyt, että keskeiset faktat ja arvioinnit ovat vanhentuneet. Earlightswindle.com/gloom-blogi on uutisoinut asiasta ensimmäisenä maailmassa. Muistutan vielä, että lehdistökin ei saa käyttää muiden tuottama sisältöä ilman lupaa. Ollaan tarkkana.

/-Ed. | earlightswindle@gmail.com

*Bierdeckel-Methode: lasinaluselle tehdään merkintä aina kun anniskellaan. Näin tehdään kapakoissa Saksassa juoppojen laskuja. Tässä tutkimuksessa osallistujat saivat pahvisen kaularinkin, johon tehtiin reikä per annos.