Kevin Gilligan bought out the firm FT Eyre and Son which had been established in 1860, and Bruce Sheppard brought in his clients from his home business, and they merged and became Gilligan Sheppard on the 1st February 1985.
They moved into the existing offices and had very few break ins, but in the late 80’s, they did have one – there appeared to be nothing taken and nothing broken. But then they found the top left-hand drawer of Kevin’s desk had been opened and there was a stinking pile of human excrement in it. They still don’t know to this day who it was, whether it was someone that Bruce had pissed-off and their desks had been muddled up, or if Kevin had pissed someone off. Regardless, they celebrated that they had pissed someone off enough to warrant that response.
Kevin introduced Bruce to venture capital. One of Kevin’s clients had a wonderful story that he could grow square trees! The wood would be as hard as concrete and as durable as steel, and they would have square trunks. It was called ‘Jade Wood’. Imagine wooden high rise buildings that could be dismantled and moved, or parquet flooring that never dented. It just had to be a winner!
Kevin and Bruce became their first investors.
After hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenditure and time, they received their first sample of Jade Wood. Kevin was so excited to finally have a physical product in his hands after all this time and money.
Bruce was at his desk and said to Kevin as he showed him the sample, “As beautiful as timber, as durable as concrete, as hard as steel… so if I poke this with my pen, it won’t dent, right?”
Bruce stabs it. It dents. Bruce threw it at Kevin and said, “Fuck it, I’m out.”
Kevin and others went on to spend another $100, 000 to have tests done to see what it was. After he got the report, he discovered it was tanalised pine. And I’m sure you can imagine Bruce’s eyes now rolling back into his head whilst he shakes is slowly from side to side.