By CASEY NEILL
MELANIE Ah-Yu and Yannick Cerdor swam with the sharks and survived – and thrived.
Their Officer business L8 Studio won the Shark Tank contest at the Tech-Innovation and Entrepreneurship Expo at the Chisholm Institute Berwick Campus on Saturday 15 August.
Ms Ah-Yu and Mr Cerdor started the home-based business about two years ago.
“We saw this as a good opportunity to get some brand awareness,” Ms Ah-Yu said.
“We want to start to showcase what we can do and what we can bring to the region.
“Basically, we produce 3D architectural images of off-the-plan projects.”
She said the images were not only marketing tools but helped town planners and councils to visualise projects.
She said other companies producing similar images were graphic designers.
“They don’t have the architectural background we have,” she said.
“We can pick up mistakes graphic designers wouldn’t be able to because they don’t have that background.”
L8 Studio took home $300 in cash and $700 worth of marketing and mentoring for its winning pitch.
“We did invest some time in producing our pitch and our material,” Ms Ah-Yu said.
“It’s a great opportunity.
“The $300 will go back into the business.
“Our plan is to keep growing and secure more contracts.
“Saturday was a good start. We got a few contacts.”
They’re also looking to increase their product offering in the future with animations and 3D printing.
Event organiser Simon Maselli from Pakenham business MetamorphCG was “really taken aback” by the presentations.
“Some of the pitches were really professional,” he said.
“They spent a lot of time putting their pitches together and obviously had done their homework.”
Second prize was $500 for coaching from Ian Ash at OrgMent Business Solutions and went to Zain Digital in Narre Warren for an IT system.
“It was all a cloud-based piece of software,” Mr Maselli said.
“They had a plan of how they were going to design and build it over five years and implement it gradually.”
Third prize went to a drone system being developed at Swinburne University and was $250 in aerial photography or 3D printing.
The ‘sharks’ also shared their stories.
“The audience got really engaged and asked a lot of questions,” Mr Maselli said.
“Lots of people after the event were coming up to the panel with different ideas.
“There’s plenty of ideas out there.
“This event really set a lot of people up to understand what they need to do and the steps involved.
“Based on the feedback from most people who had some level of involvement in set up or exhibiting, they would like to see us run a similar thing next year.”