Edwina Sharrock, founder of the start-up Birth Beat and HCF Catalyst program participant, secured a life-changing offer on the season finale of Shark Tank. She shook hands on a $200,000 deal with entrepreneur and business owner Janine Allis, who is committed to securing the future of Birth Beat.
HCF Catalyst helps healthcare start-ups and scale-ups develop their ideas into investment-ready businesses in 12 weeks. Ten budding entrepreneurs are selected each year to receive mentoring, marketing and infrastructure support from HCF and venture fund Slingshot.
Birth Beat provides parents with the option of taking childbirth education classes outside of the hospital setting. Sharrock is a mother of two and an experienced midwife based in rural NSW. She started teaching childbirth classes after her local maternity unit closed in 2013. Last year, she launched the program online to provide classes to more families across Australia.
She believes HCF Catalyst helped her expand the business and put her on the path to her Shark Tank success.
Dynamic Business had a chat to Sharrock about to find out more about Birth Beat, her time on Shark Tank and top tips for those wanting to follow in her footsteps.
Birth Beat began when Sharrock, a Tamworth local, was pregnant with her daughter Polly. The local maternity unit closed its doors when she was 36 weeks pregnant. She then discovered 41% of maternity units in Australia had closed in the last 15 years.
“This to me was simply not good enough. With the closure of the hospital also came the closure of the antenatal classes. So really it was because of a community need. I taught the classes, face to face for 5 years then the demand began to overwhelm me,” she said.
“Couples where travelling from as far as Cobar and Sydney to Tamworth to come to Birth Beat. I then decided to take the classes online as well, so ALL Australians could have access.
“Initially, I bootstrapped everything, before joining the HCF Catalyst Accelerator powered by Slingshot. I joined the program and received pre-seed funding for 10% of my company for Artesian Investments. I am super to say that on Tuesday night we also secured a $200,000 deal with Janine Allis from Shark Tank.”
The Shark Tank contestant said she has personally struggled with making money at the same time as doing social good.
“When I first started Birth Beat it was me just wanting to deliver a service that was needed in my local community. I spent 5 years teaching the classes and never paid myself a cent!,” she said.
“Not terribly smart but I love what I do and was not really thinking of it as a business, more a side hustle. When I moved to online and took note of the time and commitment that was required I soon realised I needed to start paying myself a wage for this to be a sustainable model.
“Once I had that clear in my mind it has been much easier. I have to remind myself that what I am doing is bettering the birth experience for all Australians through empowerment and easy to access education. However, I also need to be able to do this profitably so that the business can continue to grow, improve and thrive.”
The entrepreneur says that for anyone who is wanting to go on Shark Tank preparation and knowing your numbers is key.
“Be prepared, know your numbers. Know every possible metric and watch plenty of previous episodes prior to pitching,” she said.
“I had actually never seen a full episode as my husband and I don’t even own a TV. The day prior to the pitch I locked myself in a hotel room and went over every little detail.”