April 9, 2012 The Bulletin

April 9, 2012 The Bulletin

By Jordan Novet / TheBulletin

Last modified: April 09. 2012 10:51AM PST

On the Web
For more information about RES Equine Products, visit http://resboot.com/

Redmond horseman and entrepreneur Brett Mills, the big winner at last year’s Bend Venture Conference, has been busy of late.

To connect with more people in his industry — the horse-protecting goods market — Mills, the CEO of RES Equine Products Inc., has attended trade shows or met with potential clients this year in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington and Tennessee.

This month he’ll visit Pasco, Wash., and Reno, Nev.

“It’s crazy. It’s good,”said Mills, who enticed investors with his pitch at the angel-investingconference in October and took a $250,000 investment back to Redmond.

Mills, a native Central Oregonian, stood out among the conference entrants last year for his rural appearance, with his cowboy hat and jeans amid a crowd of suits.

And his offerings, while unique, are not too sophisticated, as technological innovations go.

It isn’t software to helplaw firms keep abreast of social media posts about relevant topics, forexample. That was the hallmark product of Manzama, the Bend company that won the 2010 Bend VentureConference investment.

Mills nevertheless succeeded in captivating the minds of investors and netting the biggest pool of money available in the history of the Bend Venture Conference, which began in2004.

As a result of Mills’ recent travels, which his new money has funded, he has persuaded scores of horse riders across the nation to give his products a try.

Many horse owners already buy boots or fly masks on a regular basis, he reasons.

He encourages them to buy his models instead, for comparable prices, he said, because his company’s accompanying replaceable Velcro closures can prolong the life span of the main products.

“That’s the beauty of ourproduct,” he said. “It does still wear out. It just is full use when it wearsout.”

His travels could pay offin another way, too.

The country has several organizations of horse riders and owners, such as the National Cutting Horse Association, with long membership lists but no way to directly sell them goods.

Mills wants to grow his company’s sales and at the same time ship other companies’ goods from a shared distribution center in Central Oregon.

For now, Mills said, he has brought on part-time employees, to improve the website, promote the company on social media, monitor inventory and take care of finances.

As part of his deal with Bend Venture Conference investors, he must keep them up to date on his progress. This week he sent an email update to Steve Westberg, who managed the company that invested the $250,000 in RES.

Mills is doing just what the pool of investors expected him to do, Westberg said.

“The verbal evidence of how the relationships and sales are going at this point in time is nice, and we’ll look forward to seeing those show up on the actual financial reporting side as well,” Westberg said.

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