Lions' Den Episode 3: No Sign of Intellectual Property Savvy
For the third week in a row, none of the entrepreneurs in the Lions’ Den has made any mention of intellectual property (IP) protection in their respective pitches. In Episode 3, the businesses represented were an online storytelling platform, a cooking gas delivery service, a local chocolate manufacturing company and a computer program development software business.
First up, the Machogu sisters who aim to build a juice bar franchise called Pink Guava Beverage Bar. Pink Guava plans to produce great tasting, fresh and healthy drinks with star product being milkshakes made with an array of confectioneries. Their ask was Kshs 2,700,000 for 35% equity stake in the business. Although the offer was rejected by all the Lions, the founders have a chance to go back to the drawing board and strategise on how best to grow their business into a franchise brand. This requires protection of both the company name and the brand names of their various products as trade marks. Once they have built their brand, franchising would entail the granting of a licence to other traders in other locations, which entitles these traders to own and operate their own business under the Pink Guava brand, systems and business model.
Next up, DreamAfrica an online platform that distributes African storybooks, audiobooks, animations and films for children at home, in the classroom, and on the go. In its quest to be Africa’s Disney, Dream Africa asked the Lions for Kshs 7,000,000 in exchange for 15% equity share in the business. This funding will go towards content development which will be monetised through its existing platform. As readers may know, copyright protection is key for content-based businesses as it covers all forms of literary, musical, artistic and audio-visual works as well as sound recordings. For ventures such as DreamAfrica, the use of technological protection measures and digital rights management is protected under copyright law against circumvention by third parties including would-be infringers.