Vegepod: Beyond Shark Tank
I always have a great time working with the companies from Shark Tank Australia… and one of my most successful investments to date has been in Vegepod. Here’s the story from then to now…
I remember sitting on set listening to Matt from Vegepod pitch us his capsule. He told us that his invention would ensure that anyone could produce a ‘crop’ of their own goodness for their family — even if they lived in an apartment…
As I sat there wondering if the other Sharks were going to steal this absolute gem from me, what Matt didn’t know was that my husband and I have our own little vege patch. In fact, we were just about to harvest our spinach and I had been outside that very morning to pick some when I discovered that a four legged furry creature had beaten me to my breakfast… I was so upset. I had watched it grow, proudly sent pictures on social media to family and friends and I was thwarted in my delight. I thought to myself, if I’d had a Vegepod then all would have been okay and my spinach would have been saved (and a possum less rotund).
Even thought they’ve had great success thus far, as I like to say, there are no overnight success stories. No business is ever set and forget — there is always much more to be done.
Consumer Exposure and Distribution
I reflect on what we’ve achieved in just twelve months…
Firstly, Matt scaled up the team. His brother joined the business full time and Paul was brought on board to ensure everything was commercially successful and operationally sound. This upscale allowed Matt and his Vegepod partner, Simon, to focus on business growth.
The evening that the show aired on Shark Tank we had enough stock (and a robust enough website) to take more than $100k in orders… and from there, the phone began ringing from retailers too.
I introduced Vegepod to my good friends at shopping network channel TVSN. People absolutely loved the product. The first time the product appeared on TVSN they sold out of stock in 15 minutes…
Andrew Banks kindly introduced me to the CEO of Bunnings and he referred me down the line to the appropriate buyer. We were so excited when Bunnings placed an order with us for a ‘promotional allotment’. This stretched our resources somewhat as we desperately tried to get around this vast country making sure the product looked ‘right’ and was well presented. Some stores sold out in a few weeks… others never got the stock off the top shelf. It was incredibly frustrating as a small supplier trying to ensure consistency of brand presence in store.
At the same time, online sales were growing consistently and the New Zealand distributor was knocking it out of the park with sales. She was attending trade shows and was going from nursery to nursery in her Vegepod branded truck — a true believer in turning others into ‘true believers’.
Jamie Durie and I had met on a number of occasions and at one such event I cornered the man and told him all about what we were up to with Vegepod. He adored what it could do to teach children how to grow their own food and he was also excited at the concept of having a Vegepod on balconies of apartment buildings. Jamie (and his team) came on board to help us grow, opening doors we could not open alone and to assisted in the evolution of the product.
All the time… whilst using a Vegepod, I was growing and harvesting my own spinach without a possum (or slug) in sight.
Big plans and big commitments
Matt, in a commitment made during the filming of Shark Tank, has now moved his family to the USA and is doing the same as their New Zealand distributor. He is travelling from nursery to nursery, as well as attending numerous trade shows — momentum is building, but it will take time.
At present, Vegepod have containers that are being shipped around the planet. The Vegepod capsule has now taken up residence in many countries abroad which makes us all very happy.
What I love most about this GROWTH story (I am so funny) is that these three men, with a bit of guidance from me, have created a movement; people who believe in what they believe in. The financial results have been rewarding, but we are still very much at the beginning of our journey.
I’m really proud of the effort, energy and sheer single mindedness of the team and our extended family. This will be a story to watch, or one you can share in too…
From a woman who is all red… when it comes to the Vegepod I am completely green.
This blog first appeared on LinkedIN. Photo: Vegepod.