10 February 2015

Whether you tuned in or missed it, don’t fear - we’ll be bringing you each week the brilliant concepts our Aussies bring to the tank this series, and look at how these entrepreneurs have protected their ideas and inventions.

What does it take to launch a great start-up business? How do you convince investors to come on board? Shark Tank derives much of its drama from showcasing the differing expectations of entrepreneurs and investors.

If last night’s show did one thing, it highlighted the factors investors consider when deciding whether to back your start up or not. Here are five common ingredients:

  1. a great founder
  2. a great idea or invention
  3. a scalable business - something that can grow big
  4. a competitive advantage and knowledge of your customer base
  5. intellectual property (IP) protection - trade marks, designs, patents.

These traits were obvious in all of the pitches from last night, The Cricket Cooler, Rent Resume, Case Boards and Hamdog!

Interestingly, as we saw last night, IP has implications for nearly every important attribute in a start-up business. Idea’s - even great ones - are nearly worthless unless they can be protected. IP protection gives great ideas a fighting chance of working in the real world. IP puts a protective hedge around the future cash flows of innovative companies.

For Shark Janine Allis, her Boost Juice brand has always been a competitive advantage. That brand is protected by a registered trade mark which is then licensed to franchisees willing to invest their money and labour into growing their own business. Another great brand that uses trade marks to help grow and protect is Coffee Club - find out more about how they did it.

If you’re considering applying for trade mark protection and securing your own slogan like the Cricket Boys ‘Cricket just got cooler’ registered trade mark or Darren Smith’s ‘Rent Resume’ from last night’s episode - TM Headstart is a great place to start.

Likewise, if you have a great design or idea, as we saw from Case Boards, a compact personal electronic board, or Hamdog, fast food innovator catering for customers who can't make up their mind, consider protecting your idea by getting the right IP for you.

Episode 2 airs next Sunday 15 February 2015 8.00pm on TEN.