This week’s episodes of Shark Tank highlighted the value that you, as a business owner, can bring to your business. Many of the entrepreneurs had qualifications in the field in which their business operates. They also patented their ideas or applied for a trade mark to protect their brand.
A focus on trade marks
We’ve covered trade marks in previous wrap-ups, but thought we’d start by highlighting some of the entrepreneurs who had this type of intellectual property (IP).
Choose to use a trade mark, like You Chews
If you’ve ever sat through a dry board meeting, just to be let down by boring and equally dry catering, then you’ll love You Chews. Dietician Liz Kaelin created the platform to connect offices to suitable, proven and local caterers.
You Chews believes in having the best ‘food partners’ and have taken a quality over quantity approach. Building a quality business and a trusted brand is important, but as is their decision to protect the brand with a trade mark. After all, you don’t want your competitors leveraging off your hard work.
Supercharged Foods – a taste of copyright
Lee Holmes, a nutritionist, followed her gut instinct when starting her online health program Supercharged Foods. Lee’s business includes her books (covered under copyright), website and 4 week program.
Lee is the face of the Supercharged Foods brand and this was seen as a business risk to many of the sharks. However, the brand itself was protected with a trade mark and Janine was happy to take a bite of the business and offered Lee a deal.
Luv Ur Self
Shark Tank then saw its youngest entrepreneur ever enter the tank – Isabella Dymalovski. Izzi is a 13-year-old who created the Luv Ur Self brand five years ago to market a range of natural skin care products and accessories for tweens.
Whilst Izzi didn’t secure a deal with the sharks, she was offered help through mentoring and introductions. Janine summed it up by telling her ‘you are an incredibly impressive young lady.’ We’ll sum it up by saying we luv the fact that she has a trade mark for her brand. Thumbs up!
A trade mark is only as good as the business
A trade mark is an excellent asset to your business, but you should also know how to run your business by checking out business.gov.au and seeking appropriate advice.
Crowd Property Capital is a peer to peer lending platform that allows the ‘little guys’ to co-invest in property businesses. The sharks questioned the relatively high risks and low returns to investors, and the business’ licence to operate, before declining to make a deal.
Jen Lawrence took her ‘dream, hobby and passion’ and turned it into her online tarot card reading business NewAgeStore. As the readings are all automated, Jen noted the business only requires two minutes of her time each month, which the Shark's did not believe was a lot of time to spend on your business.
The value of patents
Patents encourage the investment into research and development to bring new products – in exchange for an exclusive right to use and license that product. The sharks interest in three products (AUUG Motion Synth, Exfolimate and IC Safety Glasses), was dependent on patent protection.
AUUG - music to their ears
Computers are increasingly being used to synthesise music, but musicians use motion to express their emotion. So how can motion be brought back into the equation? Enter Joshua Young’s AUUG Motion Synth, which is a new way of turning an iPhone into a motion sensitive music synthesiser.
Joshua hit all the right notes and ultimately secured a deal with Andrew Banks. We shouldn’t overlook the role that IP played too – as Andrew stated that he was ‘more interested in the intellectual property’. If you are yet to consider IP for your business, why not start with our understanding IP information?
Exfolimate – selling your IP?
Roberto Durso created the Exfolimate, a product used to clean away dead skin, dirt and muck from anywhere on your body. Exfolimate has a smooth edge with microscopic grooves and is manufactured in China, which is one way of approaching a global market.
We were impressed to see that Roberto has protected his inventive product with a patent. However, the sharks were turned away when they discovered that Roberto was transferring his IP to a Hong Kong business. The lesson here is that IP is a valuable asset and selling it is just one of the ways to commercialise your IP.
New Eye Company – sights set on a deal
Shark Steve Baxter was ready to opt out of making a deal the second he saw optometrist Andy Mehringer step into the tank wearing a high-vis vest. In a lesson of not judging a book by its cover, Andy saw three sharks (including Steve) interested in his innovative idea – the IC Safety Glasses. If he looked familiar to you, you may have seen him on the ABC’s New Inventors?
Andy’s product is a solution for people who find wearing prescription and safety glasses inconvenient. He has secured a patent in Australia and the US and has patents pending in New Zealand and Canada.
The sharks caught up with two businesses from the first season: Sonsee Woman and Fly Babee. Since appearing on the show, both have increased their sales and presence in the market. We have a case study on Fly Babee that outlines her method for prototyping and her broader approach to IP.