Gadgetry specialist Lee Ranchod founded technology company Dog & Bone Cases in 2012 and looked for a niche in the market his company could fill.
The start-up produced the world’s first direct touch waterproof mobile phone case and then went on to creating keyless smart padlocks that could be operated by Bluetooth.
Their range went from heavy-duty padlocks for sheds or gates, to lighter padlocks for school lockers, and ones designed for travellers to use on suitcases or backpacks.
“We now export to 86 countries, including countries in Europe and Australia, Canada, and the US,” Lee said.
To help break into overseas markets, Dog & Bone Cases invested time and effort into building relationships with other businesses.
“At Las Vegas trade shows, I’d chat to CEOs or product development teams from likeminded companies, looking at where we could create synergies and build relationships. It all comes to down to your approach – everyone wants to make money, work with good people and get into market quicker by leveraging other’s strengths,” explained Lee.
Lee said Dog & Bone Cases has faced its share of daunting challenges. One of these is the shift that’s currently happening in consumer behaviour, from buying at retail stores to purchasing mostly online.
‘Our bank couldn’t help us’
“We started by distributing through retail partners, and managing online channels through our website. But now, we don’t do much retail. We’ve split our company in two: one part sells our own brand online, and the other half focuses on design and development for multinationals. It’s tough now, but it’s the right way forward.”
One of Dog & Bone Cases’ big breaks was scoring a A$800,000 deal with a large US wholesaler. For the deal to go through, the high-growth business needed $250,000 so they could pay their suppliers while they were waiting for payment from their client.
“As a high-growth business, our balance sheet doesn’t look fantastic, so our bank couldn’t help us – but they told us about Efic,” Lee explains. “We met with the team at Efic and they provided us the funding we needed to push that deal through. They were fantastic – it went through really smoothly.”
Efic is a government backed specialist financier that delivers simple and creative solutions for Australian companies – to enable them to win business, grow internationally and achieve export success.
Efic provided Dog & Bone Cases with a $250,000 loan to help with the delivery of their large export order.
“Efic’s the best port of call for Australian businesses trying to grow and export their product overseas,” says Lee. “I think it’s a fantastic government initiative.”
Visit www.efic.gov.au/help for more information on how Efic can help grow your business.