Thirsty work: John-Paul Kelly has developed the Piscatore fishing rod, which allows users to safely store their beer while dropping a line. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.
You have launched a crowd-funding campaign via Kickstarter to raise $55,000 to fund the development of the Piscator fishing rod. How did it come about?
The idea came to me several years ago when I was beach fishing at Catherine Hill Bay. I was enjoying a beer when my rod hooked up. In the process of putting my beer on the sand and winding in the fish a wave came up and washed my beer over.
At that point I was resolved in finding a solution to avoid having to suffer that kind of tragedy again – especially because all I caught was a salmon.
What made you think your idea might fly?
I first made a crude version of the Piscator and every time I took it out fishing I’d get positive comments from passers-by and my mates.
After some desk top research I couldn’t find any professionally made products meeting this need. I figured this could be a nice little niche for a summer season or two.
Is the idea unique?
The design is unique in many ways. The Piscatore’s base, orspike, is in the shape of a star picket providing greater in-ground strength with a foot step to assist with driving into both sand and soil surfaces.
The beer holder fits a standard sized beer with a stubby cooler. It also has an imprinted ruler to measure your catch and finally it comes with a water resistant torch for fishing at night.
There is no other rod holder like it on the market.
After your initial idea, how long did it take to get it to launch on Kickstarter?
In total it has taken around 18 months.
My first step was to find an industrial designer who was willing to join me on the journey of a small start-up business. I was fortunate to come across David Powers from Greeneye Industrial Design who was a perfect fit. We worked through several design and testing stages, produced two prototypes and procured a high quality yet cost effective manufacturer.
Completing the business plan was the final step before testing the market.
You’ve raised just over $1000 and you’re chasing $55,000. Are you hopeful of getting it across the line (no pun intended) by your March 23 deadline?
The Crowd funding campaign has proven to be a challenge, mostly because the concept of ‘pre-purchasing’ products via crowd funding is still a relatively unfamiliar concept in Australia.
Otherwise the interest in the product via social media has been extremely positive not just in Australia but also the USA, Canada and NZ. As promotion ramps up I’m hopeful of landing the funds (no pun intended either).
What is your pitch to backers and are they “locked in” financially?
If fishing and having a beer goes hand in hand for you then you can’t go past the Piscator.
The design focus on quality and functionality makes it perfect for both the avid and recreational fisherperson.
A lot of people don’t realise that if you elect to pre-purchase the product via a crowd funding ‘pledge’ that you don’t get charged unless the target funding goal is reached – ensuring you get what you paid for.
Where do you see your biggest potential markets?
In 2007 over 5 million Aussies participated in recreational fishing. In 2012 the USA had over 30 million over the age of 21 participate in the sport. I’m targeting both countries but have a particularly strong desire to achieve success in Australia.
When not brainstorming and developing start-up concepts, you work at NIB. What’s your role?
I’m the Head of International Visitors at nib.
In this role, I run two business segments focused on providing visa compliant insurance to International Workers and International Students entering Australia.
It’s a position that has given me significant experience in managing businesses and participation in new and innovative business ideas
Who has influenced your entrepreneurial pursuits?
My Dad has definitely been a strong influence as a successful entrepreneur in the mining industry, andI’ve been fortunate to work and study with some very creative entrepreneurs in recent years.
My wife Sarah also encouragedme to just ‘have a crack’.
Have you got any other ideas on the boil?
I have several, with some related to the fishing and tackle industry and others in entirely different markets. These are much more complex ideas than the Piscator but the learnings on this one will be invaluable.
Piscatore is Latin for fisherman and the first syllable of Piscatore is a slight variation of a word that’s slang for beer. Was it hard to find a name?
Surprisingly, Dad had some of the best product name ideas.
I liked ‘The P#ss & Fish’ but I thought that might cause some marketing challenges.