“Is this a dream or a nightmare?” This is what we set out to discover in this episode of Shark Tank – clearly I am incredulous about something – the joy of discovering is not lost on even battle worn one’s like me. There was the inspired, the ingenious, the innocent, the inventor and perhaps the idiotic; we cover so much ground in just one episode. What we continue to love about the program is it’s diversity of ideas and the passion and enthusiasm of our founders. However a business of course cannot survive on enthusiasm alone.
YouChews – Having heard of this business through Heads Over Heels – it was nice to meet Liz in person. With a team of 9 people (including a CTO) it was clear Liz has a big vision which might be how she came up with her $2.5 million valuation. Liz was articulate and demonstrated a lovely confidence and pride in what she has achieved. However, I know quite a bit about the two sided market place game having this as the business model at RedBalloon. We have been curating experiences for 15 years – and having the depth of experience and trust in the supply community takes years. Like us, YouChews brand reputation is dependent on every single meal catered… and I wonder if she has got the quality control loop sorted. With just 35 food partners on platform in 2 years and plans to expand to Melbourne – I’m not sure if she has sorted enough of the ‘bugs’ in the systems and processes yet to scale. Has Liz ‘snatched defeat from the jaws of victory ‘ according to Steve. Vital information coming very late in the pitch with four sharks out… whole and complete picture in a pitch (Read Ready To Soar for pitching advice).
Catch up: Sonsee Woman – It is a pleasure working with Vanessa supporting her as she grows her business to provide such a wonderful product to curvaceous women. She has a big vision that all woman no matter their physical attributes should feel comfortable and gorgeous. I have seen her business grow and transform in many different ways. Since we last saw Vanessa in series one she has extended her range from hosiery, to intimates (the anti chaffing shorts are running out the door) and a soon to be launched active wear range. Now in 125 stores around Australia going from $35k turnover to $1m turnover since appearing on Shark Tank – she is now ranged in Myer, Autograph and many other stores including Amazon in the US
Luv Ur Skin – An intelligent, 13 year old Melbourne innovator walked into the tank – and we all beamed. Her crisp presentation, her ability to clearly communicate her intentions, plans and challenges was inspiring. Isabella had a finesse about her – she was passionate about natural products for tweens. The range is all about encouraging girls to develop healthy lifestyle habits and routines so that they learn to take care of their skin and bodies as they grow, while having fun doing it. It just goes to show that the entrepreneurial spirit can shine at any age. As Glen aptly said: “We need more rockstars that are entrepreneurs.”
Property Crowd Funding – “Peer to peer lending” may be a growing market in China – but that does not mean that it will be here. Our laws support small investors and a finance service license would be required. I wondered whether the legal definition of ‘sophisticated investor’ had been lost on the founder as he contradicted himself. So far it is just an idea – he wants Shark money, legitimacy, reputation and trust – and a shark to finance the first deals. 4% return on a mezzanine loan when industry standard is 18-25% this makes no sense on any level. It does beg the question what is one’s brand reputation worth… I think it came out loud and clear – debt is cheaper than equity…
AUUG – I have a great deal of respect for musicians – our history is scattered with influential people from all walks of life who have made a contribution to our musical repertoire. I also have a mutual respect for scientists – who have also made incredible contributions to innovations in many disciplines. Joshua sees a problem that digital music is missing the expressive nature of motion as part of making music. His prototype harnesses the idea of using motion to make digital music. It is inspired, creative genius, and we are all blown away by its potential. Originally a neuroscientist whose research led him to Berlin, Joshua’s contact with the city’s electronic music scene inspired him to create human-centric musical interfaces designed to let ‘motion shape sound, rather than the other way around’. Joshua had us all fascinated by the device in his hand – it was literally music to our ears – but was it investable? My face says it all – delight.
It is such a privileged to witness such a great cross section of Aussie innovators… and bring their stories to Australian’s everywhere.
Here are some more snaps from set.