31: Crowdfunding Stories: Rob Peck & FlexSafe
As promised, we’re bringing on one of our past clients, namely Rob Peck of AquaVault. He’s got a very unique perspective and I think you’re going to love it. So are you ready to learn directly from an actual Kickstarter creator who raised over $200,000 on a project? What about learning more about how to absolutely crush a “Shark Tank” appearance? Or are you just curious about the day-to-day hustle-and-grind of entrepreneurship? If so, then today’s episode is for you! Let’s get started…
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1. Entrepreneurship involves faith, capital, and persistence despite figurative headaches.
2. Entrepreneurs should identify a sufficiently-common problem (while noting that cures are easier to sell than prevention) that nobody else is solving well enough, innovate a product to solve that problem, and engage in market testing (perhaps at trade shows) to ensure that their product is actually desirable, as well as to refine it—and such feedback will prove whether-or-not an idea is truly worth pursuing.
3. Entrepreneurs may use crowdfunding not only to raise funds to start mass-production, but also to obtain both feedback and “brand ambassadors,” plus to show proof-of-concept that can leverage a better deal on “Shark Tank.”
4. Entrepreneurs may use “Shark Tank” to get both a good deal and good publicity, but should note that they likely won’t ever get televised unless they show something sufficiently different and/or entertaining that will appeal well to television audiences.
5. Entrepreneurs should perpetually reach out to relevant retailers and reporters and interest groups and such.
6. Entrepreneurs should note that growth is both expensive and challenging; they may want to form specific long-term plans to leverage what they already have in order to obtain loans to fund what they know for sure will work, and they should always seek deals that are mutually-beneficial to all parties involved.
7. Entrepreneurs should manage others with the right balance between oversight and autonomy.
[01:20] Zach promotes Funded Today’s Ultimate Crowdfunding Success Guide.
[01:39] Zach Smith introduces Rob Peck, AquaVault, and the FlexSafe.
[03:10] Rob overviews AquaVault’s origins in Rob and his friends having been victims of theft and then being unable to find a satisfactory solution already in the marketplace.
[04:03] Rob conveys his first entrepreneurial experience at age 11 earning thousands of dollars by renovating motorcycles.
[05:15] Rob reviews his experience accidentally swimming with Siamese crocodiles at night.
[06:17] Rob provides more detail about how he conceptualized the FlexSafe, initially drew it on a napkin, refined it via computer-assisted design, used 3D printing to manufacture pieces, visited hardware stores to complete the rest of his prototype, debuted it at an inventors’ trade show, and finally figured out how to hire people to manufacture it professionally.
[09:05] Rob explains how he viewed crowdfunding as a way to obtain not only pre-orders to help fund his first production run of FlexSafe, but also brand ambassadors to help promote FlexSafe to others.
[10:15] Rob details how he prepared for crowdfunding by developing working production sample units and also shopping for marketing assistance—and that, after considerable research, he hired Funded Today, which delivered on its promises.
[12:22] Rob observes that entrepreneurship requires exercising faith, investing plenty of capital, and persisting despite enduring plenty of figurative headaches—and notes that trade-show attendees’ unilaterally-positive responses to his product encouraged him to persist.
[14:48] Rob counsels entrepreneurs to “max out their inbox everyday” contacting relevant interest groups and reporters and such.
[17:04] Rob notes that growth is expensive, brings additional challenges with both capital and inventory, and may require creatively renegotiating mutually-beneficial deals with lenders, making long-term plans to leverage what you have to raise funds for what you know for sure is going to work.
[19:14] Rob believes that it’s best to put your company first, and pay yourself only when you can.
[20:10] Rob advocates allowing consumers to surprise you with their ideas for your products, along with testing ideas on actual customers to ensure that they’ll work.
[22:21] Rob advises maintaining a balance between oversight and autonomy in managing employees, and letting them surprise you also.
[25:05] Rob expresses a desire to render his future crowdfunding campaigns more “cool” and interactive to potential backers.
[26:09] Rob remarks that, for “Shark Tank” season 6, 48,000 entrepreneurs applied, 100 were filmed, and even fewer ever appeared on television—and that his team spent about 80 minutes pitching FlexSafe to the “sharks,” of which only 7-8 minutes appeared on television, which provided some valuable (and fun) publicity for AquaVault, along with a great deal.
[29:19] Rob recommends that “Shark Tank” aspirants produce a “cool” audition video showing something different and/or entertaining, and that crowdfunding success can provide helpful leverage by showing proof-of-concept.
[30:53] Thomas instructs listeners that it’s important for products to solve pain points, that prevention is harder to sell than response, and that refining ideas through feedback is more important than patenting them.
[33:54] Rob agrees that it’s harder to sell prevention, but states that he’s tried to render his product “fun” and “cool” in contrast to the boring negativity that’s prevalent among his competitors, and reveals some of his coming products.
[36:01] Zach and Thomas and Rob present this episode’s Projects of the Week.
Zach Smith: (00:00) Funded Today Nation, welcome back to the Funded Today podcast and we’ve got another really great episode for you today. As promised once again we’re bringing on someone from outside our company one of our past clients “Rob Peck” of “AquaVault” Kickstarter success and Shark Tank client. And remember if you missed last week’s episode and you want even more stories from our past Kickstarter clients and stories from the Tank you should have listened to Tammy Rant and her remarkable rise to success with TushBaby. And now for today’s special guest, we heard from a woman last week and now we wanted to hear similar success story but this time from the perspective of a male he’s got a very unique one and I think you’re going to love it. So are you ready to listen and learn directly from an actual Kickstarter creator who raised over $200 on a product starting from scratch. What about learning more about how to absolutely crush a Shark Tank appearance, or maybe are you just a little bit more curious about the day-to-day hustle and grind of entrepreneurship, if so today’s episode is for you, let’s get started.
Announcer: (00:50) The Funded Today podcast is brought to you by fundedtoday.com. Funded Today is a premier marketing and video agency from startups to Crowdfunding to Amazon and beyond Funded Today has helped their clients generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. If you’d like help launching or growing your business visit www.fundedtoday.com to speak with one of their experts.
Zach Smith: (01:17) Welcome back to the show, I am Zach Smith.
Thomas Alvord: (01:19) And I’m Thomas Alvord.
Zach Smith: (01:20) And just another quick remainder to download our ultimate crowdfunding success guide the email@example.com/guide if you not already done so. This is the best guide on crowdfunding and we’ll stand behind it 100%, and the best part right now it’s still 100% free. Download it, read through it and let us know if it makes all the difference in bringing your next big idea to life. Now for today’s guest, when Rob and his team first came up with the idea for AquaVault they were on a mission to solve an extremely common problem and nearly everyone seems to encounter at least once a year at the beach, pool or water park. Where do I put my valuables when I leave or go for a swim, after they had their stuff swiped from their own lawn chairs at the pool enough was enough they thought there really should be something you should put your valuables into so you don’t have to constantly worry while you’re trying to have fun and relax, so they quickly created AquaVault in just a short little bit of time later the rest is history, together with Funded Today they raised over $200,000 to bring AquaVault to life on Kickstarter then they leveraged that crowdfunding success on Kickstarter by making a deal with Daymond John on ABCs hit TV Show Shark Tank and they have grossed over $7 million in product sales now. Furthermore, they listened to their backer’s feedback and amended even better newer version that is perfect for traveling called the FlexSafe this allows you to lockup your valuables and attach this particular safety to any fixed object and relax without worrying that people are snooping around stealing your belongings. Wow! that is quite the story and the journey Rob welcome to the Get Funded Today, Funded Today Podcast how are you doing today, we are so glad to have you with us.
Rob Peck: (02:49) Yes, great yes it’s nice to be on the show thanks for having me on, yes I love to tell you a little bit more about our product inventions, story as well as our Shark Tank experience.
Zach Smith: (02:56) Yes, let’s do that and like we kind of want to do with every single guest before we kind of dive into the business and the Shark Tank and the Kickstarter and all of those details how about for our listeners at Funded Today Nation let’s start out with a couple of fun facts we call it three fun facts, so you and your founding partners you were all friends and you graduated from the same graduating class at Hofstra University, so was this idea brewing for a long time?
Rob Peck: (03:20) You see, it’s an idea that’s always come up every time we travel together which we’ve done in college and then a few times after college before we actually started a business, you’re sitting by the beach and pool and you got your stuff taken from you or you worry about your stuff, or you turn your head every couple of seconds wondering if your stuff is going to be there, and then few years later we are at a wedding and unfortunately we came back to our chairs and all of our stuff was gone like many others coming to find out during the same day at the beach, so we kind of decided say enough is enough let’s look for some products out there or see how we can maybe turn this into a business and there “AquaVault” was born.
Zach Smith: (03:56) And you pretty much in that research saw that there was nothing else out there and then you said well I need to solve this problem right.
Rob Peck: (04:02) Correct, yes.
Zach Smith: (04:03) That makes a lot of sense. Now backing up even further you’ve kind of been this serial entrepreneur since you were at the right old age of a 11 years old, tell me a little bit about the starting buying and selling motorbikes and how you fix them up, it actually kind of reminds me of one of my former business partners and what he did with motorized scooters.
Rob Peck: (04:19) It’s like, it’s something that’s in your blood so from a very young age you kind of know whether or not you want to take those jobs out there working for somebody else or if you kind of want to take it under the rains and do something yourselves, so when I was like 10 or 11 years old I had an opportunity where I was able to trade a couple of bicycles I had for a beat up old dirt bike and so I took that dirt bike and put some new spark plugs in it, I took the benders off, painted them up and then resold it and made like $600 or $700 so from that day on I feel like entrepreneurship is just the path for me.
Zach Smith: (04:51) How serious did you take that business, how many you’d end up selling before you said uh?
Rob Peck: (04:55) I turned that dirt biking with three wheeler, and then I turn that three wheeler into a car, and the car got me about Ford van and that was within a three month period so I had a few thousand dollars in my pocket as a 11, 12 year old which was a lot at that time.
Thomas Alvord: (05:08) And that’s awesome I was going around when I was a 11 I think mowing lawns and washing cars and I thought that was good to make $50 a day but.
Zach Smith: (05:14) And I love that.
Thomas Alvord: (05:15) You beat me.
Zach Smith: (05:16) Now Rob, perhaps the craziest fact about you is tell me about swimming with Siamese Crocodiles. I had to look up for Siamese crocodiles were first of all, I didn’t know they were so.
Rob Peck: (05:27) Yes neither did I and so I was doing some travelling after college and just travelling through Southeast Asia and I found myself up in the mountains and first we get up to this tree house and its up in the trees and I’m like why don’t we go to sleep up there and they are like oh yes the tigers don’t get you, I thought they were all joking and comes to life but that’s actually the truth. The next day they have this old bridge/cable car that kind of went across this muddy water river and yes they thought it was funny if I took some bike handles and those and went in the water anything up of it, and then the next morning we’re doing a little bit of canoeing through there and long behold there’s a few crocodiles right where I was, so it’s pretty scary but yes one of those experience is that once you live through and I guess makes you a little stronger.
Zach Smith: (06:07) Never want to do it again but a good story to tell.
Thomas Alvord: (06:09) Are they dangerous?
Rob Peck: (06:10) Yes, yes they’re just as dangerous -- I mean they’re probably not as dangerous as some of the larger Nile Crocodile breeds but its crocodile nonetheless.
Zach Smith: (06:18) So Rob, I mean just understanding these three facts about you we can probably get a lot of a picture of how AquaVault comes to be but just for our listeners and to recap things and I know I gave a little bit of an intro at the start but, give me a little bit more of the detailed story of how you brought this idea to life and try to put yourself in the shoes of maybe our listeners who might have an idea but they don’t have the foggiest idea where they go next, what did you do, how did you, I mean your product is amazing I mean $7 million in sales now, you made a deal on Shark Tank I think for a lot of people you were like “The American Dream” come to for vision, so walk us all the way back to when this was an idea.
Rob Peck: (06:54) It’s not about being persistent I mean we were at a wedding and three of us were together we had our stuff stolen like you mentioned earlier and just realized that there is a huge problem here and there’s a not a lot of people addressing the problem so once we got back we sort of drawing some different ideas and a napkin, I’d few years of engineering background so I kind of knew how to use CAD Software, and so I was already just doing some designs in there and found out it wasn’t that difficult to take those designs in a certain file format and then electronically send them to somebody else’s 3D printer and then for a cost they would send me plastic pieces back in the mail, so at that point you can start adding different accessories to them, find some different locks to them we’re just literally building products from scratch just with pieces we could find at the hardware store and things that we got shipped back to us so.
Zach Smith: (07:47) And what was your cost initially doing this back and forth mail shipping of plastic parts so to speak.
Rob Peck: (07:52) So you can spend anywhere between probably like $500 bucks and a few thousand depending on the volume of plastic that’s been printed in the size of it so I think ours cost at around $1,000 to get the top and the bottom printed out, and then just the time and the hardware store and just trying to source other parts of this that are fitting correctly and then after that all you got is a rough prototype you don’t got anything pretty its nothing there is going to sell any buyers or make (audio disturbance 00:08:18) it was enough where we decided hey let’s go to this inventor trade show, so me and my buddy kind of like packed up in our car and we drove off to Pittsburgh we went to INPEX which is an Inventor Trade Show and we had this plastic AquaVault that we printed off the computer we’re showing it to bed bath and beyond buyers of this trade show and we were like Oh! my Goodness what are we doing here so I actually I got so nervous the first time we’re showing the product but actually dropped it on the floor and the plastic we’re using just kind of cracked a little bit, so I was literally holding it together presenting these buyers and it was just our initial experience since the mark and from there we were able to find some manufacturing contacts and some engineering contacts and we were able to go about the right path at the intellectual product created.
Zach Smith: (08:56) Yes I love the hustle, I love that story when you started I was just a couple thousand then you took it one step further and one step further and one step further and then what happens at this point, when do you say okay there is enough here why crowdfunding, what made you think to go to Kickstarter and how did you run into us, how did all that happen?
Rob Peck: (09:17) Crowdfunding was kind of like the next big thing for us because we understood they were going to be able to leverage the power of pre-orders, they kind of help us manufacture and make our products and help us kind of almost fund our first production run so yes we understood that we could get the right audience and we could show them the product and get them to understand on what we’re trying to do that we might be able to turn these people onto not only early purchasers of the product but you know brand ambassadors that might brought in tell their friends and -- what we’re trying to do.
Zach Smith: (09:51) Okay that makes a lot of sense. So it was kind of simultaneous to this whole process where you just knew about crowdfunding, you knew that’s where you wanted to go.
Rob Peck: (09:59) I mean we knew about crowdfunding, we didn’t know we were ready for crowdfunding yet being kind of still a young company with just an idea so yes we tried it anyway and we were able to take our product and get in front of these people and be quite successful with you guys helping to starting our Kickstarter campaign.
Zach Smith: (10:16) Walk us through that preparation, how did you get prepared for a Kickstarter and how much of your product was actually a finished product, yes we could ship this to a backer before you begin, did you actually use the prototype that cracked on the floor of the conference that you went to of the trade show that you went to or at that point had you developed things even further along before you crowdfunded.
Rob Peck: (10:34) Yes we develop things much further along before we started crowdfunding, yes we actually had working production sample units, we were selling some product on our website, we had interest from buyers, we had some hotel groups buying it, crowdfunding kind of came in when we decided to start our second product and I was the -- plus and that’s what we kind of try to leverage the consumer market and to saying hey here is a product that might work for everyday people who are traveling, who might want to buy their own.
Zach Smith: (11:04) And it worked out pretty well.
Rob Peck: (11:06) Yes it worked out great.
Zach Smith: (11:05) So I do want to talk about that just a little bit, a lot of our listeners obviously want to do a crowdfunding campaign or they want to figure out how to take that next step with that napkin idea or prototype or CAD design or whatever maybe so Kickstarter tips, tricks, takeaways what did you learn but before we do that what I always like to do with anytime we have a guest on the show I have to ask this how was it working with Funded Today, what did you like, what did you learn, how did that process go as well.
Rob Peck: (11:34) I mean I’m going to say this I’m not saying because we are in the podcast but we did a lot of investigating into marketing companies that would be able to help us with our crowdfunding efforts, we talk to numerous agencies and we found that Funded Today was one of the companies that was willing to you have not only give us a lot of hands-on help and walk us through the process and where it’s going to take the launch and successful campaign, but put their money where their mouth is say listen we’re going to be able to do all this for you and we’ll take it cut off of success which was at that point really intriguing to us turned out that you guys came through and we’re able to deliver and everything you promised.
Zach Smith: (12:14) And I love that, I appreciate that Rob it was our pleasure working with you as well and I love to look back and -- we haven’t chatted for a long time and now to see how far you’ve come even since crowdfunding has been pretty remarkable, but for the people just starting out what are your tips and takeaways I know, I know you got a pretty obvious one that you get heard a hundred times don’t give up or don’t quite, give me a little bit more on that, what does that mean to you and how does that apply to your journey as an entrepreneur?
Rob Peck: (12:38) Actually starting your journey in an entrepreneur and you got products it’s going to come with a lot of headache’s and it’s going to come with a lot of financial restrictions is probably the hardest thing to get it through, and that’s hey it’s going to cost a lot of money to develop a product, it’s going to cost a lot of money to ship the product, it’s going to cost a lot of money to market the product every time that you kind of think that you have taken a few steps forward, sometimes you feel like it’s ten steps backwards but you just got to be confident that you are on the right path and you’re doing the right things and you hold them long enough and get in front of the right people that it’s going to be successful at the end of the day.
Zach Smith: (13:14) How do you know that you’re confident that you’re on the right path as you said the lever go through your mind that man I’ve put in $10,000, $20,000 whatever it was before you decided to do a crowdfunding campaign and said let’s see if the masses want this thing, did you ever have the thought what if this doesn’t work?
Rob Peck: (13:31) You’re never really confident that it’s going to work because you will be doubting yourself the whole time but, for us taking the chance and taking some of our savings that we had saved up and putting it into an idea it was freedom you know there is a way to start a company and to work with your friends and try to help people solve a common problem that -- everybody but I mean for the most part the one thing that gave us the most confidence is for all the trade shows we’ve done and all the groups that we’ve gone and displayed at we’ve never once had somebody come up and say hey this is a bad idea, you should not be doing this like everybody saw the product and you could almost see -- going off and people saying well I wish I thought of that.
Zach Smith: (14:17) I love that.
Rob Peck: (14:17) Yes that is something that I feel every time I travel to the beach, blow the water park and that’s kind of what built our confidence and said hey we’re on to something, we’re doing things right, let’s just keep dragging along.
Zach Smith: (14:28) I love that, it’s that pre validation that we talk about quite a bit as well where you can kind of get that feedback along the way that we call it the FFF the Friends, Family and Fools and you even took it to the level of the Fools and the Fools are just people who never heard of you before but still think it’s a good idea, I should have thought of this, that was my good idea and its awesome that you recognize that and kept pushing through the different problems that you had, but tell me a little bit out thee what problems did you have along this journey obviously when you are on a podcast we can tell the beautiful story the rags to riches that make it exciting but what does it actually look like in the day-to-day grind and what were some of the problems you push through and how did you resolve them and what would you give as advice to somebody who is coming up with an idea and maybe it’s similar to the type of idea that you have in the sense that it’s made out of a certain plastic or its made out of a certain mesh or what not or you know I mean like where can you guide them properly so that they can maybe not make the same mistakes you’re making and have success even quicker?
Rob Peck: (15:26) Well number one -- your inbox every day, Google allows you to send 500 emails a day so we were out there sending 500 emails a day to every publisher, every press contact, every hotel group come up with an email forum and we are literally just Googling emails to send more emails through Google and.
Zach Smith: (15:48) Lovely.
Rob Peck: (15:48) That was a way where we were just playing a number game at that point, we had our product, we had something that could have been real, now we just got to make people know about it and.
Zach Smith: (15:56) And it was 500 times a day because you had three -- 1500 emails a day I love that.
Rob Peck: (16:01) 1,500 emails a day for our --.
Zach Smith: (16:05) I need to bring you on for our sales team and tell them what that looks like.
Rob Peck: (16:08) It’s fine is it, if we knew we knew back then about managing the contacts and putting them all and they got some sort of customer relationship software that -- but we are just plan the emailing and we didn’t understand any of the tips and tricks though good okay nowadays I mean you hear about all these things but it’s hard to really understand all these tips and so you start going through it and learn it from your mistakes.
Zach Smith: (16:32) There is some to be said about just going and doing what you did though, just get an email and start telling people look we have the best idea you ever not heard of and you probably would have thought of yourself once I explain it to you can I please tell you more and just sending that out to thousands of people I love it.
Rob Peck: (16:47) So we are doing that from the car as we’d all be drive it up and down, the Jersey shore and the coasts of Florida and through -- beach and we’ve been driving around stopping at every surf shop trying to just sell six or seven pieces to get them on the self and then we’ll all be in the car -- those inboxes as we’re in the car so.
Zach Smith: (17:05) I love it.
Rob Peck: (17:06) Long days and long weeks to get through we are here and even once you get to a level where you are in front of the masses and selling a lot of product comes to its hold next group of problems as well as growth is expensive and growth is compound on those problems as you do more sales and then you just got to figure out ways to manage those problems and try to help some of the problems that you can forecast when you can.
Zach Smith: (17:30) Is it inventory related problems when you get to a level that you’re at or what’s the biggest thing that you tend to find capital problems.
Rob Peck: (17:36) Well it’s a combination of both because if you want to do X number of million dollars in sales and we know how many units already we’re going to need to produce for those sales and some of our customers, our bigger customers require 90 day payment term so we can finance those POs and figure it up well at the same time making large commitments to inventory when their household is somewhat scary so you just want to take the leap and find creative ways to work with your terms through vendors and figure out what the plan that’s going to work for everybody so everybody can profit along the way by doing away when they’re sharing any way .
Zach Smith: (18:14) Yes. What have you found is the best solution there or is it an ongoing battle, do you have a as simple like I wish every vendor operated like this or here is the one that works the best for us or maybe somebody like Daymond John helps to mitigate that risk on your part or what in your ideal world what does that look like in terms of terms for both party so it’s a win-win.
Rob Peck: (18:33) As long as you are extremely confident with your product and your company and your team don’t be afraid to go out to the traditional banks at a decent interest rates and leverage what you have so that you can build what you know is going to work and at the same time are you doing that make sure you find good capital partners if you can negotiate your terms with your suppliers and warehouses, shipping companies to make sure that everybody’s cash flow is not going to dry up before the money can be turned around to the next one and make sure you’re planning accordingly for your 12, 24 and 36 months so you can understand what you might need so you can always mentally work towards those numbers as you grow.
Zach Smith: (19:16) Do you ever feel like it’s important to pay yourself a salary in the company or is a well built on a long-term let’s grow this thing, to X, and then we’ll take a dividend or how do you manage the idea that you need to feed yourself as you go about creating this big company?
Rob Peck: (19:31) So coming from being an entrepreneur my whole life and working in government contracting prior to this and other adventures that I’ve done in the past, I always put the company first pay yourself what you can, when you can but, make sure the company is surviving otherwise you’re going to jeopardize your future, and a lot of people will tell you different things, or some people might agree with what I say there but, yes, the company’s what’s going to support the future so you’re going to make sure that’s healthiest first.
Zach Smith: (19:59) And if you found a good balance for being able to take care of yourself as well, because I would imagine your full time all in with this, right?
Rob Peck: (20:05) Yes, yes this is our full time gigs right now. so, yes, you got to find that balance and find out what’s best for you.
Zach Smith: (20:12) That makes sense. Now, your last one that we talked about before this episode, I wanted you to kind of dig into a little bit more, but what do you mean by let people surprise you with their ideas. Is this talking about what backers gave you feedback on or is this something more than that.
Rob Peck: (20:25) Yes I mean, when you’re when you’re looking for new product ideas or you’re developing a product, put it in the hands of people that might not know anything to do with what you’re doing and see what they say see what feedback they have, see what issues they come up with because these are things that can be easily get overexcited when you’re trying to do some initial R&D on products, and it really helps you kind of own in and try to eliminate some future problems by addressing what seems to be simple things right away.
Zach Smith: (20:56) What was the biggest example or take away you found with your own product that you follow this advice with yourself, and how did it help you.
Rob Peck: (21:04) For our current product -- it was something as simple as the locking mechanism like a simple as, as I think pushing the button in and changing the combo and letting it go is for a reset mode. And we found out that half of the people out there that we tested certain locking mechanisms on I had trouble with it and we couldn’t figure out why people were having trouble with it, whether it was the instructions or if it was just it was too easy, so initially, when we’re testing the lock it turned out that this one locking mechanism although it works fine, if you’re using it, fine we found that some people who have trouble with it. So from that point instead of, going all in on that design that we thought -- we kind of changed it and keep making it better and better so that we can make sure that our reviews and our customer satisfaction is this size it can be because that’s number one in the marketplace nowadays.
Zach Smith: (21:54) And you learn that through crowdfunding and you caught that problem before you ever went into making your first minimum order, quantity and all of that sort of thing.
Rob Peck: (22:01) Correct, yes so you’re seeing even in our crowdfunding campaign you notice that the pictures and the prototypes we’re using are slightly different than the ones that we actually released and the reason for that was, letting the customer surprise us with some of their own feedback.
Zach Smith: (22:14) And this is an example of where they were even happier with the product that they received compared to what they were told they were going to get on Kickstarter, which is I love that, that’s great such a good example. Now the last thing you talk about with regards to tips, tricks and takeaways is leading by example. What do you mean by that, in terms of making meaningful bonds with your working partners and just earning that level of respect with whoever you’re working with how do you do that while also, I guess, playing devil’s advocate here, the whole saying of we need to work on our business, not in our business if we’re going to grow it to his biggest possible, how do you balance that.
Rob Peck: (22:51) We’ll stop because in one aspect you need to be the boss, and you need to put people in places that can do the right thing. And that kind of goes back to what we said before about letting people surprise you put people in certain positions, whether it’s customer service, accounting and things like that, and let them come up with their own processes and flows and see how that might work better than if you were to teach them to do something similar to that. On the other hand, you got to understand those processes and you got to understand customer service and you got to understand how to run your marketing and what’s new in marketing tactics and stuff by doing it and seeing it and feeling it and then you can kind of go and teach the people that you’re ultimately going to hold responsible for those jobs and then let them kind of surprise you in other ways to come up with something on their own. But at the same time when you’re teaching people these certain tactics or tricks that you have that really shows them that you care about what you’re doing and how it’s done.
Zach Smith: (23:50) Yes I love that. I heard a story actually not too long ago about a pretty famous builder, and obviously he didn’t understand every single aspect of the different pieces of -- he built like really big buildings, and he don’t understand all the different pieces of what was happening, but before a big meeting where they were going to announce this really fancy new building in a big city, he took the architect the side before they were going to come out and talk about the plans and he said “hey, I want to see some things and the architect rolled out the plans and he pointed to the windows, and he’s like look at the underlayment of the windows, and look at the, look at the way that we’re going to wrap these windows, if we don’t do these windows right then that’s the biggest problem. And he got into all of these little details. And then this guy gets out and he gives a speech to the company after he has talk to the architect and he talks about the windows and he’s able to talk like an expert about the windows for probably 10 or 15 minutes and then everybody there is like “Holy cow”, this guy’s building this $100 million building and he even understands the underlayment of how we’re going to protect the windows and they could really get behind and even though that might have been the only thing he understood of the whole building you know. I like that a -- that makes sense.
Rob Peck: (24:54) Well everyone were saying -- when I was younger you don’t know everything you just have to know a little bit more than that you’re talking to you. So if you could learn a little bit about everything and just understand enough to be able to surprise people think you’re quite a ways.
Zach Smith: (25:06) I like that. Last question for Kickstarter so anything you wish you would have done that you’re going to do, the next time you do a Kickstarter that you didn’t do the first time.
Rob Peck: (25:15) That’s a great question. So, the next time that we’re going to be running crowdfunding we are going to put a little bit more emphasis into building out the specs of the product a little bit better ahead of time so we can really show people the features in an interactive way rather than more about -- notice that with crowdfunding over the past few years and watching campaigns, and there’s a lot of repeat companies going on there, and they’re kind of using everything that they’ve learned in the past and they’re just making their campaigns look a lot, a lot cooler to the customers which still support very well.
Zach Smith: (25:49) There’s something to be said about once you have a little bit of money, you can keep making it better and better as you go along as well.
Rob Peck: (25:54) It’s really just about the learning experience to the money helps, you can put more into the campaigns, but just understanding the comment boards and what people are saying and how they say it and how we can better react to those people and customers potential customers is what’s really going to be --.
Zach Smith: (26:11) I love that. Alright, now for our listeners, this is probably their favorite part of these types of episodes Rob. Everybody wants to know about your Shark Tank experience. They want to hear things that maybe they haven’t heard or things that they don’t see like obviously, when you see the 10 or 15 minute experience that you have how long is it actually, what actually happens, how does it go down, how much of it is Real TV, and how much of it is Reality TV. Give us that as much as you’re able obviously, I know you have some different NDAs and things that I’m sure you probably can’t fully reveal. But as much as you can give us the raw Shark Tank experience that you and your team had as you went through that.
Rob Peck: (26:50) Yes I mean to start off there was for the season six that we were on there was 48,000 applicants to the show that season and they filmed less than 100 and even less than that were actually ones that, were edited correctly and made it on the TVs. So right off the bat, the odds are just entirely stacked against you, so, me and my partners were able to come together and try to show this problem that, that happens to everybody and the producers loved it. When we finally got our chance to go in and pitch to the Sharks on we’re in there for a probably about an hour and 20 minutes. They cut that down to 78 minutes which is pieces of actually what the conversation was. Yes sometimes we think they could have cut this a lot better, they could use this and made it better but ultimately we went in, we got a deal, we did our thing they were really nice to us the whole way through, which is always reassuring. Yes, the experience like it doesn’t stop after Shark Tank, it’s kind of like drags on -- we’re lucky enough to get an update once we --.
Zach Smith: (27:53) Yes I saw that.
Rob Peck: (27:55) And then be on a show called Beyond the Tank after that which was great.
Zach Smith: (27:59) Was it pretty much exactly as you see when you’re on the TV show is was that what the experience was just cut down to that 7 to 8 minutes or was it a lot different being there and what did you do to try to get on TV was that in your mind and in your partner’s minds, it’s like “hey, we need to behave this way or we need to act this way so that we have the best chance of getting on TV or was it more just let’s fit this product and see what happens, because we already know we have a great way”.
Rob Peck: (28:23) Just kind of one of those things where we don’t know if we’re ready for Shark Tank, we would have liked to be on there with more sales in our pocket and we have more compelling story but, when the opportunity arises it’s just something that you can’t not jump on regardless so, we thought we’d get -- with our little sales and small company at this point, it’s still a hobby for us we weren’t full time in this, but we decided to go out there and jump on it and go and pitch our company to the Sharks and the few days before the show, we’re kind of waiting in the hotel waiting to see like when our pitch day it’s going to be we just kind of practiced our points over and over again across LA while we’re awaiting and luckily we got in there and it didn’t stumble our, didn’t answer any questions in a negative manner, and they treated this well and we got a deal and it was a lot of happiness after the show.
Zach Smith: (29:11) Was it a fun, would you do it again.
Rob Peck: (29:13) Yes it was tons of fun and we’d jump on that again in a heartbeat if we could just knowing the publicity that comes out of it and notoriety behind the show itself was enough in itself.
Zach Smith: (29:22) If somebody wants to get on the show and they have an idea would you be someone they could talk to or reach out to for that, I’m sure you get head up hundreds of times because of that. What’s your advice you give to people who want to get on the show.
Rob Peck: (29:35) I mean, now that we’re on the show, I mean, a lot of people ask us “hey, I got this great idea, I love to go on Shark Tank, how do we get started and it’s the same story it’s like good luck, fill out the application, make a cool video, tell something different and make it entertaining because it’s a show before anything else, before it’s an investing platform for young companies, it’s a TV show, and they need drama, and they need something that their viewers are going to react to in a story that people across America want to watch. So make sure that pitching it to them a certain way and make sure you try to figure out the story behind it that they’re going want to buy that.
Zach Smith: (30:10) Does it make sense to do a Crowdfunding Campaign before you go? Because you have more leverage you can get a better deal, or is it better to just jump on Shark Tank as soon as you can, if you had an option what would it be?
Rob Peck: (30:18) I would take either option if you can get on the show the publicity alone is going to reward you handsomely, but never discount “the power of crowdfunding”, and being able to presale a product, and get the money for development before the products actually produce them, they can only help.
Zach Smith: (30:34) Does that give you better leverage with the Sharks?
Rob Peck: (30:37) That will increase your sales numbers, that will give you better leverage, it’s almost a proof of concept getting online world, so we’re more and more customers are going to the Internet to look that are goods and shying away from the big retails stores to know that something is desired and marketable in certain way is very important and considering a business for investment.
Zach Smith: (30:56) Now, I usually take the lead in all of these interviews, but I mean Thomas has been a little quiet Thomas what do you have if anything -- any thing you’d like to ask Rob or.
Thomas Alvord: (31:04) I -- not so much a question but one of the things that I really appreciate it is and in a way it’s un-audacity right, and “a courage and a faith” to just say I’m going to make this happen. When you went and you printed the backpack and went to the trade show right I just absolutely love that because the flipside, and Zach and I always chat about this it’s people who talk about getting this patented and doing this and always having to fine tune it and they and they’re not even doing anything and they don’t even know how the market is going to respond. Like the course you took I wish I could scream at the top of my lungs for everyone to hear, do what Rob did? What Rob did is what everybody needs to do, like Rob is a smart entrepreneur right, and that’s why Rob is being successful and then the second thing and you’ll notice Zach that one this podcast as well as our last podcast the creator is creating something to solve a pain point that he himself or herself has experienced.
Zach Smith: (32:16) I noticed that too.
Thomas Alvord: (32:17) You’ve got to do that otherwise I mean -- I suppose you can create products that’s not solving a pain point that’s just an interesting idea, case in point Facebook right it’s like there wasn’t a pain point that was just an interesting idea. But when you have something that really solves a pain point and if you solve it, your revenue and if you capture that market your revenue is going to scale to however much that markets can support. If it’s a $10 million market or $100 million, a Billion dollar market that’s how you’re going to scale and so just listening.
Zach Smith: (32:52) And you have to rebuilt into, I love when you solve a pain point like you said Thomas you have that story, Rob has the perfect story that he gets to tell too, he got his stuff stolen while he was at a wedding I mean that’s a great story that makes everybody understand the significance and the need for this product and it’s personal and it’s relatable, and everybody can think about that, now sadly Rob every time I go to a wedding I’m going to be wondering why I don’t have an AquaVault.
Rob Peck: (33:14) Yes, that sounds an easy problem to solve.
Zach Smith: (33:15) So.
Thomas Alvord: (33:17) And what’s interesting to right another thought I have with what Rob has created is typically speaking it is hard to sell prevention right? It’s hard to sell something that says “hey take this and you’re not going to get sick right” it’s much easier to sell something that says “hey when you’re sick take this” and so in a way what Rob is selling is prevention but it’s something that enough people have experienced and that can be painful enough that can repeat itself I just love the whole idea, it’s brilliant. And I see products like this and I think man “why has nobody thought of this before” so I think Rob has just done a fantastic job.
Zach Smith: (33:59) Well Rob, anything that you want to leave as parting wisdom to Funded Today Nation, anything else you want to talk about that maybe we didn’t hit on in today’s episode or just anything else you want to share though the floor is yours.
Rob Peck: (34:09) Yes just kind of a spitting off what Thomas was just saying I mean it’s hard to sell prevention I mean in reality our product is like insurance right its insurance to, yes make sure your stuff is protected while you are vacation, and insurance is boring right? Insurance is like it’s no fun nobody wants to like pretty think about what possibly could happen to them or that there are $1,000 smartphones going to disappear while they are at the pool, we had to find a way to kind of make it somewhat fun and somewhat of a cool product to try to get away from that like negativity stigma that’s kind of like on the market itself so not only we are trying to create that market for the portable safe and some personal security travel accessories which we are going to try to come out with a few more new really cool ones this year but it’s trying to tune in a way that’s modern it’s young, and it’s fun rather than on the defense words, insurance and boring and preventative.
Zach Smith: (35:09) It feels like you kind of struck that perfect balance to take advantage of insurance while avoiding the idea of prevention obviously the results speak for themselves. Speaking of your next product Rob I know you can’t talk too much about it yet but just for our listeners when is it coming, what can you say, where can they expect it I would imagine the Crowdfunding pain is going to happen, give me what you can on that?
Rob Peck: (35:32) This summer we are going to be releasing two new products that are go along with our travel security line they’re both going be verbal locking mechanisms, so one is going to be more of a book bag style anti-theft product that (audio disturbance 00:35:45 ~ 00:35:49) it can really cool and have some the hi-tech aspects too but it’s going to revolutionize the market and it’s currently out there so keep an eye out for them Summer 2019 to Kickstarter hopefully through yes through your guys in this platform.
Zach Smith: (36:01) The Kickstarter excellent love it. Alright well Rob, before we close out the episode we have a special little segment that we call products of the week, Thomas and I are going to talk about a product of the week but then we want you to talk about “AquaVault or FlexVault” and you’ll see how we do it and we’ll just go from there, so my product of the week Funded Today Nation is “Intake Breathing” this is a revolutionary breathing system and it’s really simple, picture a nose strip but the Web 2.0 version of this custom molded, with couple of magnets attached to the sides of your nose and then it spreads out your nose so that you breathe better so if you are snorer, my wife tells me that sometimes I’m pretty bad at that that will solve this issue it also helps with enhancing the way that you run or perform and whatever you’re trying to do, and it also helps with improving deeper REM-like sleep, this is Intake Breathing just a little rubber strip that has magnets that attach to your side of your nose, spreads out your nose more and turn you from a mouth breather into a nose breather it’s doing really well on Kickstarter already 811 backers still 24 days to go, pretty exciting product and you can get it for about $20 bucks so check it out “Intake Breathing” live on Kickstarter right now. Thomas what you got for us?
Thomas Alvord: (37:20) My product of the week is probably the coolest travel adapter that I’ve ever seen. It basically is a travel adapter right so if I’m here in the States and I travel to Asia or to Europe, or South America the outlets are different, and if you haven’t travelled sometimes it’s kind of a route awakening when you travel for those who travel frequently they’ll know that when you travel somewhere you have to have a converter to convert your plug and even for your cellphone right, if you’re plugged it in so this converter basically has kind of this sliding device that allows you to switch things up, all of the outlets that you’ll ever run into anywhere in the world and then in addition to that it also has a USB C Power Adapter like an Apple Power Adapter, and it also has four USB Charging Ports, so it basically combines like three different products into one product it’s only $34 and it’s called “Passport GO” and it’s on Kickstarter right there is 26 days left as of the recording and it’s already raised $100,000 not sure what it will end out but I think I’m going to get one of these for myself because when I do travel I always don’t enough adapters and this adapter basically will work in about 200 countries. So check it out that’s “Passport GO”.
Zach Smith: (38:51) Alright Rob how can Funded Today Nation purchase AquaVault, why should they or FlexVault tell our listeners one more time why you love your mention where can our listeners learn more for your product of the week AquaVault or FlexVault or both?
Rob Peck: (39:02) FlexSafe provides the ultimate piece of mind while you’re travelling, it’s a portable safe that it attaches to your lounge share pit stop jet seeking, stick your phone in your wallet, your keys, your jewelry inside then go for a worry free swim. Made with five layers including a level five sash resistant material, it’s very durable and also makes a quick gift for the traveler on your list for any holiday and it’s a product that once you use it, it will be the first thing you pack in your bag for the next vacation.
Zach Smith: (39:32) Alright thanks. Once again we wanted to give a special shout out to Rob Peck for being on Get Funded Today with is such an inspiring story, and I think he is on the something even bigger with his newest couple of inventions they’re just getting started. So Rob, we’ll have to have you on the show again next year to see how your story continues to develop. Funded Today Nation, what did you like about this episode? What do you want us to ask our next guest we’d love to hear from you. Please email us, leave us a comment on our website at fundedtoday.com/podcast, well give us a review, we read every one of them and they really help keep us motivated to keep coming up with some amazing episodes for you. Now next time we’ll get into something you probably never heard much about or your probably very confused about “The Legal Side of Business” crowdfunding, contracts and so forth, what do you need to know, Thomas is not only an Attorney with Utah Bar he is also our own in-house legal counsel in addition to cofounder of Funded Today, and we’re going to have a really detailed episode for your on “All Things Legal” if you ever wanted to make sure you know how to dot every “I” and cross every “T” and what you need to do and what’s overkill I promise you’re not going to want to miss that episode. So, until next Wednesday put today’s takeaways from robin your new business or idea and watch as things blossom right before your eyes, and remember don’t wait until tomorrow get Funded Today.
Announcer: (40:46) Funded Today is the worldwide leader in Rewards Based Crowdfunding on Kickstarter and Indiegogo combined they have raised over $200 million and counting for thousands of new ideas and inventions worldwide. If you got an idea for a new product or invention visits fundedtoday.com to speak with one of their experts.
References and Resources
- Kickstarter: AquaVault FlexSafe+
- LinkedIn: Rob Peck
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