I’m out. It’s too early. Not enough traction…

What does that even mean and what am I thinking when I say this?

When I look at the business, I’m looking for proof of concept, the person that I want to invest in and growth in sales year-on-year. Early for me is not necessarily in time; it is in product cycle and proof of concept. I want to be comfortable that the product has been accepted and wanted by the consumer, and if they have not proven this, then I class this as too early.    This is a rule, but rules are meant to be broken, I have invested on the show and in person in businesses that have had no sales but there is just something, that X factor that your guys say for you to give it a go.

Part of the risk comes out of the investment if we know that the customers want the product in volume, as we can manage the expenses.  What I believe start-ups need in order to go to an investor is a proven model that needs cash to grow. So ‘too early’ for me is when it’s not a proven model yet and needs more time before the business is investable.

Hayley

Halo medical devises

Hayley did an impressive presentation and I thought the product was innovative. I had just finished physio for my recent Achilles snap (happened in Dubai on a family holiday trying to keep up with my teenage boys – long story) and had weekly physio treatments, so I know what they use on a daily basis to measure the improvements in movement. But what I found during this recovery is that they do measure the improvement, and what they use is basic but effective – even if it looks like a ruler.  There is no question that Hayley’s Halo would be more effective but there are so many other factors in looking at improvements in mobility and that included time of day, how much stretching was done etc, so I was not 100% convinced on the need. The product was a very nice looking machine and I was seriously impressed that Hayley invented the product and has achieved what she has achieved with it thus far. In fairness to Hayley, I really don’t understand this market that well and my ability to assist her in getting the product to the next level was limited, hence why I was out.

 

David

S2B Smart shower

David was offering a percentage in the Australian distribution company. “What the hell did that mean?” was my first thought when he started a pitch.  People over-think their businesses and do not put themselves in the seat of the investor, focusing only on what they want. So I assumed that he wanted to only give the investor the right to distribute the business and not access the businesses itself; so the pitch started poorly for me. Then he spoke about sales. I believed his forecast sales were fanciful, having based his business on 10% of the market. It’s hard for us to invest in something that we cannot see.  There were lots of things that didn’t make sense and we couldn’t see the product. The final negative for me was that I simply didn’t like the look of the product. The edges were glass so I also thought that it would be dangerous for an elderly person getting in and out.

I wish David all the success, but not with me.

 

Melissa

 Smudgi

Melissa had a good solution to a problem and hey; we all have smart phones.

Melissa had been doing a great job in getting her product out into the market and I loved the look of the product. She already has distributors and some are re-ordering, which was a great sign. 30K for 18 months is not great, but it was a start. However, I was not convinced that there was proof of concept. I actually thought John may have jumped on this one.

 

Kylie

Picaninny Tiny tots

Great presentation from Kylie and learnt a lot about aboriginal art during the presentation.  One of the things I did enjoy during the show was that we got to look under the hood of different businesses and industries and in each pitch, we learned something new. With the Picanninny pitch, we learned that if you are an aboriginal artist you cannot paint just anything; you have to paint what your region or area is allowed to paint. Kylie’s mother was a delight. She came onto the show and we got to meet with her. She was the artist behind the designs and they were was beautiful.

The margins, 2,300 units at $36,800, is a great start. I have never heard of the issues with the name of Picaninny, but Steve was explaining that from where he is, it is not great.

 

Last episode next week and it is a goodie…!