STARTUP ATTRACTS SWAG OF INVESTMENT
Written on the 13 March 2015 by Laura Daquino
TRACEY Beikoff maintained her swagger from remote Queensland to Shark Tank to score a $220,000 deal and reaffirm her belief that a product created through compassion and necessity beats a simple 'add-on'.
The Mareeba-based founder of innovative first-aid kit Rescue Swag accepted an offer from Steve Baxter on TEN last Sunday of $100,000 for 40 per cent of the company and a $120,000 loan repaid with a $10 royalty on all products sold.
The startup investor was "blown away" by the proposal, recognising not only the product potential but also connecting on a personal level with Beikoff and her goal.
"It's not often a product blows me away but I am really excited about Rescue Swag," says Baxter.
"Tracey has created an authentically Aussie product that is a necessity for any sort of great outdoors adventure.
"As an ex-serviceman, a fisherman and a pilot, I can see a million and one situations where Rescue Swag could make a real difference.
"Ultimately, Tracey won me over with her pitch because she handled herself in a way that demonstrated her command of the business and showed she had a strong drive to succeed."
Rescue Swag was created by Beikoff in 2012 following a minor accident while horse riding where she realised she didn't have the required first-aid kit handy.
Now the product functions as a comprehensive kit which doubles as a sling, splint, compression device and water carrier with its proportions allowing for full portability.
"It was kind of serendipitous the way it came about, the prototype evolved really naturally and three months after its inception we won an innovation award," says Beikoff.
Naturally, Baxter was most impressed with the technological component of Rescue Swag, where users can scan codes on the kit to see photographic instruction on how to treat injuries they may have sustained.
"I wasn't completely sold on the mobile phone feature until Tracey informed me you don't actually need a sim card or mobile phone coverage to make use of it," Baxter says.
"The content is stored on the SD card in the phone so is accessible at all times, making it simply ingenious."
Beikoff says she has been working on patents and trademarks ever since she started the business and now the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) has finally been granted, in perfect timing for her Shark Tank appearance.
"Nothing of this kind exists in the world and with our PCT that's a step towards going into different jurisdictions and filing in different countries," she says.
Rescue Swag is "absolutely" Beikoff's full time gig, another tick for winning Baxter who is against entrepreneurs having a "split focus" between their day job and their startup.
"I have worked as a teacher, prison officer, graphic designer previously and all those skills are really coming to the floor now," says Beikoff.
"All those jobs have been about customer service and building relationships which put me in good stead dealing with Sharks who can be a bit intimidating.
"In saying that though, this isn't just an add-on product but something the community needs - to know this can reduce pain and suffering among my mates really means a lot.
"The first-aid industry has been very standard for a long time and people have become too accepting of this nature - this is a creative application to first-aid and safety and the tech innovation makes it a true game changer."
Pictured right: Steve Baxter and Tracey Beikoff with her sister and mother