In this episode of YS Up Governance and Boards Podcast, 3YS Owls Governance Consultants, Ainslie Cunningham and Deb Anderson interview Shannon Gilleland. Shannon is CEO of Form-i-Baby and founder of the Pronto Bottle: a self-sanitising baby bottle, making it faster and lighter for parents to travel with a bottle-fed baby. We explore with Shannon her journey of a start-up from developing a product from concept to design, capital raising and investment opportunities (private equity, venture capital, IPO, debt/equity), go-to-market strategy, establishing a board setting up governance and other challenges faced by entrepreneurs.
There's actually been a number of options we've looked at and also completed ourselves. So, the initial one that I mentioned there was the friends and family round. We didn't actually take that as a portion of equity, that was actually we took on as loans. So we said to people that we would pay them back within a set period of time and we were lucky enough to have friends and family that said they were happy without having to have some sort of increase by year one of payment, which is great. And then the next thing for us was we actually got into that acceleration program, the Med Tech one, which is actually backed by VC [venture capital] firms. So Artesian was one of the firms backing that program. So through that we actually raised three separate rounds of funding and those all required the same sort of process you would for any other type of investment in terms of you had to pitch, you had all your documentation requirements, your legal requirements around that as well.
It's also reporting requirements too. So, every three months you've got to report to the VCs on what did you say you were going to do? Where are you right now and where do you think you're going to be in X amount of time as well just to make sure that you are kind of being transparent as to what you're doing? And then the next thing now is we did two separate rounds of one was a non-equity based fundraising round. That was last year through crowdfunding actually, so I'm not sure on, most people are aware what crowdfunding is about, but this was a product for price crowd funding. So, the idea was that people would purchase or pre-purchase a bottle and then at some stage in nine months’ time, once we completed our manufacturing, they get that product and return.
Shannon is a serial entrepreneur, founder of Pronto Bottle and CEO of Form-i-Baby. Having founded, and co-founded, three previous businesses in mobile game development and e-commerce, and has worked as project manager for one of the world’s most recognisable game development studios (Electronic Arts). Her skills range from business development, product development, marketing, branding, project management, logistics, distribution, e-commerce, customer service and management of small to large globally distributed teams. Along with a Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship & Innovation from Swinburne University of Technology, and a bottle feeding parent herself, she's had first-hand experience with the current pain points of her target demographic and been able to apply the last 10 years of experience to developing a product and company to solve the biggest problem for bottle feeding parents.
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