CAIRNS COUPLE DIVE INTO THE SHARK TANK AND CONVINCE FELLOW 'BOATIE' GLEN RICHARDS TO WORK WITH THEM
Written on the 28 June 2017 by Ben Hall
THEY'RE a husband and wife team with an invention that can help save the Great Barrier Reef, and lives, and Peter and Margaret Powell convinced fellow 'boatie' and Shark Tank 'shark' Glen Richards to take the plunge with them on their business journey.
Greencross founder Dr Glen Richards, internet pioneer Steve Baxter, Boost Juice founder Janine Allis, RedBalloon founder Naomi Simson and investor Andrew Banks all showed interest until it was revealed their patent has only three years to run.
Margaret: We had an incident on our boat where I was on anchor duty, I had pulled the anchor rope in tight and realised the anchor was stuck. Right then a wave hit the front of the boat, breaking the bow sprit and nearly throwing me into the water. We talked to other people and it seemed that it was a common occurrence so Peter decided there had to be a better way.
Peter: I had the idea of releasing a device but it wasn't until I was watching my kids skipping one day. The kids dropped the skipping rope and the handle slid down the rope that's where I got the idea of the sleeve travelling down the anchor rope to activate the device.
Q: You've both personally invested so much time and money in this you must really believe in the concept.
Peter: I grew up on the reef. I spent most of my young years out on the boat with my father or at my grandma's house where the reef was just offshore. My cousin, Ronnie and I spent as much time as we could out there exploring the reef. So, it is almost part of me. Anything that we can do to prevent damage is a good thing.
Margaret: When Peter came up with this idea, I promised him that we would do everything that we could to bring it to fruition because he deserves the credit. He has designed and invented other ideas where other people have always taken the credit.
Q: How did you find the pitching process? Was it as daunting as it looks on TV? Did you have any idea what you were in for?
Margaret: The pitching was absolutely nerve wracking. And yes, even more daunting then it looks on TV. I thought I had a good idea of how it would be, but things are never quite what you imagine! Peter definitely didn't know what he was in for because he kept telling me that it was only me that was going to be out there! I had warned him that he wasn't going to escape that easily!
Q: How is the business looking for you now, what are your plans and how big could this be? Are you still looking for funding?
Margaret: We are happily pursuing the venture on our own and powering on with sales all over Australia. The manufacturers who are in Queensland, are working flat out to keep up with demand. According to people in the marine industry in the USA, the device would be very well received over there. So, we hope to take the device to the overseas market very soon. We are also expanding the range with smaller versions coming out for jet skis and kayaks. Glen's door is always open to us for assistance. However, as far as funding goes, we would always welcome investment from someone who has business experience especially in exporting, so we are open to offers.Shark Tank airs on Network Ten on Tuesdays at 8.30pm.
Business News Australia
Author: Ben Hall