Edwina Sharrock is a registered midwife and mum of two from Tamworth in New South Wales who is building an empire helping women give birth. On this week’s episode of Shark Tank Sharrock successfully attracted a $200,000 investment from Boost Juice founder Janine Allis for a 10% stake in her business.
Given how few female founders attract venture capital, it’s something she’s proud of.
“It is super exciting,” she says.
“Only 2.2% of VC funding last year went to female founders which is nuts.”
— #SharkTankAU (@sharktankau) 7 August 2018
Driven by the closure of 41% of Australian maternity units in the past 15 years — primarily in rural, regional and remote Australia — Sharrock wanted to give more women access to the best information possible.
She created, Birth Beat, an online platform that combines convenience with the latest in childbirth education. Within six months she had been selected by HCF Catalyst, a 12 week intensive Slingshot accelerator program, at the end of which HCF invested.
“The closure of nearly half the country’s maternity wards has drastically reduced Australians access to quality childbirth classes,” Sharrock says.
“Birth Beat provides a solution to that problem through an accessible, fun and comprehensive online course with all the information expectant mothers and their partners need.”
The Birth Beat childbirth courses are run by midwives, endorsed by obstetricians and have been developed and tested in conjunction with lactation consultants, physiotherapists, exercise physiologists and clinicians to provide the most up-to-date, understandable and evidenced-based information possible.
The course modules are delivered through simple, easy to follow and engaging videos. Aside from benefiting new parents it is good news for health and taxpayers.
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“Recent research makes it clear that quality childbirth education significantly lowers levels of birth interventions like caesarean sections, which in turn reduces the length and cost of hospital stays and frees up more beds,” she says.
Sharrock believes Birth Beat has the capacity to change how Australian parents prepare for childbirth.
“I love that Edwina is a country girl who has turned her passion it into a business and is sharing her knowledge using this one stop shop for all birthing and pregnancy information,” Janine Allis says.
“I was very interested in the fact that Edwina has created this business with the goal of supporting parents to be in regional areas, as the information is important but even more so is the connection to community and the feeling that you are not alone when something out of the ordinary occurs.”
Sharrock is confident that with Janine’s guidance and support the business will be able to scale up and advertise to develop a national audience.
This is an edited version of an article that was first published by Women’s Agenda.
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