Grand Forks Growth Fund Tables First-i LLC Fast Track Proposal



The Grand Forks Growth Fund Committee, at its meeting on Monday, June 28, moved to consider First-i LLC’s fast-track loan proposal.

The discussion revolved mainly around a couple of questions: Chief among them – can JDA own a stake in a private company? The answer to this question, most likely, will come on June 19 – at the next meeting of the Growth Fund, at which this item will appear.

The Growth Fund held a general census at its June 21 meeting to proceed with a request from First-i LLC, a drone company that has access to local UAVs / drones and data management resources, for an Accelerate loan of $ 250,000. Earlier, the business received $ 850,000 from the state LIFT program.

JDA previously authorized the Accelerated Lending Program (ALP) on May 3 to grow and diversify the local economy by “providing high-risk capital to promising early-stage technology companies with high reward potential,” the statement said. staff report. The program carries a greater risk to the city because it is the only loan originator.

First-i LLC Managing Member John Gaster attended, hoping the board would move forward with the proposal. Gaster has over 25 years of experience in digitalizing business enterprises. He has also led drone technology projects for nearly 15 years for the Department of Defense, as well as other commercial projects.

However, the conditions to be promoted included “satisfactory due diligence and use of a convertible debt agreement rather than a common bill,” according to Growth Fund. The city’s prosecutor is still reviewing the draft document to assess its legality. If it remains in effect, it will allow JDA to convert the $ 250,000 debt into equity at a discount rate of 80%.

Instead, the board thought for over an hour with no results. The Committee finally agreed to return to this item on 19 July to allow time for more detailed discussions. Gaster needs funds that ALP will provide by August, and the committee hopes a decision will be made by then.

Other businesses included:

  • Approval of the request for admission to Suzanne Bjornstad as sole owner of AAA Quality Cleaners. In December 2020, he received a US $ 50,000 COVID-19 Working Capital Loan, which is now in a 12-month grace period. In April, Bjornstad founded Quality Services LLC to run the business. Quality Services will replace the sole proprietorship and continue to use the AAA Quality Cleaners brand.
  • Approval of change of lead lender for associated potato growers. Late last year, JDA approved a $ 22,885 FlexPACE loan to Associated Potato Growers, Inc. for the purchase of equipment. In April, a request to change lender from Bremer to First State Bank was approved, but now Associated Potato Growers, Inc. decided to move forward with KodaBank as its lender.


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