Learn How Ridgeline Minerals used VRIFY to Pull Off an Oversubscribed Pandemic Era IPO From Their Kitchen Table
As the exploration industry's "iPad guy," Ridgeline Minerals CEO Chad Peters stands out with transparency, creativity, and immersive 3D storytelling.
You wouldn't expect a viral Stepbrothers parody video from an exploration company. But then, Ridgeline Minerals has never fit the mold of a typical Western US-focused precious and base metal explorer.
"My wife Carla was a major driver of the video idea," says President, CEO & Director Chad Peters. "She co-founded the company with me in 2018. Starting a company in your garage is not something you do alone."
Peters has had a lifetime of taking chances, starting as a seventeen-year-old farm kid from Manitoba who enrolled in university-level geology courses at the advice of an older cousin. Years later, while working for Premier Gold Mines Ltd, he accepted a six-month position as Exploration Manager on a project in Reno, Nevada. He and Carla made the move. That was twelve years ago.
Now as a leader of his own company, Peters continues to show he's most comfortable being uncomfortable. For him, that's a good thing.
"Whenever I'm uncomfortable, we tend to have breakthroughs," he says. "When we're pushing those limits on what's considered the right approach for a certain area or a deposit style, that's typically when we've made a discovery."
Where others see "the wrong rocks," Peters often sees opportunity. The region of Nevada where Ridgeline Minerals operates is home to world-class discoveries in Carlin-Type gold deposits and is rife with old-school dogma about how to go about it. Ridgeline Minerals focuses on geologic exploration's core principles, disrupting well-worn generalizations and proving its "Exploration Done Differently" tagline true.
But as an early-stage exploration company, Ridgeline Minerals is challenged to engage investors to see the potential Peters and his team sees.
"When you have zero drill holes on your project, and all you have is soil samples and visuals and some conceptual sections, what's going to make you stand out is how you articulate these things in a presentation and get folks excited about it," Peters says.
For Peters, that's where VRIFY comes in.
Changing Minds with Dynamic Visual Context
Two projects, Swift and Carlin-East, had been discarded by their previous owners (Barrick and Newmont) when Peters and his team acquired them.
"They were sitting adjacent to 20, 30 million ounce gold mines in the Carlin and Cortez trends respectively, and had never had any serious exploration," Peters says.
The Ridgeline team broke the projects down to core geologic principles, rebuilt the geologic models and then drilled a few holes at each project to prove important geologic concepts. Peters then presented the reinterpreted data to both investors and other companies using VRIFY.
"I needed to tell a very complicated story to folks who weren't always geologists but were in charge of making the decisions," Peters says. His instinct was to be as interactive as possible with his VRIFY presentation, harnessing its presenter tools to add doodles to the 3D models as he talked, keeping the conversations candid.
Immersing his audiences in the presentation sparked remarkable responses.
"Probably the coolest thing was when I'd start pitching to an investor, and they'd start pitching exploration ideas back to me," Peters says. "They're suddenly pointing at things on my VRIFY presentation and saying, 'I bet you that's a target; what about over here?' That's when I realized, wow, this is engaging folks with no background in exploration.”
The excitement and confidence conveyed through his presentation made an impact. Ridgeline Minerals optioned both Swift and Carlin-East back to Nevada Gold Mines, changing minds about what was possible.
"We were able to come in and rethink these projects, put new ideas into old districts, and sell these projects back to them," says Peters.
"VRIFY was a big part of that because it allowed us to visualize our geology and modeling. With VRIFY, we could put it into a cohesive story that made these folks see potential in previously written-off districts in Nevada."
Marketing an IPO During COVID-19 Lockdowns
Harnessing VRIFY while Ridgeline Minerals was still a private company helped Peters spread awareness and grow a reputation for "being a bit different."
"We're a great exploration team, we're upfront, we're transparent, and we're trying to build that different feeling," Peters says. VRIFY was the conversation starter and the firecracker for fostering investor relationships early in the company's growth.
So when it came time to market the IPO, Peters turned his VRIFY presentation into high gear.
"I pitched exclusively on the VRIFY deck," Peters says, remembering the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when flight travel and sit-down meetings weren't an option.
"I had to do everything from Zoom in a pair of flip-flops and shorts from my kitchen table," Peters says.
"Having VRIFY was huge because I could candidly share my excitement. VRIFY helped me translate my excitement about the geology and what the company could be to these shareholders without having to be directly in front of them."
The response was tremendous. VRIFY channeled Peters' passion in describing the mix of projects and telling the story, and it hit home with his audiences. Ridgeline Minerals had targeted 3 million dollars on the IPO and had 12 million in orders in the first four days of marketing. They ended up taking 5 million and closed the IPO but if Peters could do it again he would probably take more next time around.
"It definitely worked," Peters says.
Becoming the 'iPad Guy.'
Over the past few years, while at conferences, Peters laughed when he heard investors were referring to him as. 'that iPad guy,'.
"I walk with an iPad everywhere, at cocktail hour, at meals," says Peters. "I have investors come up to me and say, 'You're that iPad guy. Can you walk me through your presentation at lunch?'"
iPads have also proven helpful for engaging community stakeholders on-site. At a site tour Ridgeline Minerals hosted for the local First Nations tribe where the Selena project is located, Peters equipped attendees with VRIFY 3D models on iPads to show consideration for preserving and protecting indigenous landmarks.
"From a stakeholder engagement perspective, VRIFY has been incredibly useful," Peters says. "For community members and investors, it simplifies everything about telling your story."
Even VRIFY's CEO Steve de Jong had heard tales of the legend of the iPad guy and sought Peters out at Beaver Creek in Colorado last year.
"Steve came up to me and said, 'I have a problem with you because I'm the best VRIFY user out there, but what I hear is that you're second best," Peters remembers.
"I said, 'OK, fair enough!' and Steve asked if I could give him the presentation. So I presented it to Steve in the stairwell between meetings."
The iPad guy strikes again.