Whether they are on vacation in the mountains or brave winter weather at home – people with mobility impairments want to take precautions to arrive safely at their destination. Patrick Mayer is personally affected by disability and developed two products that enable wheelchair and walking aid users to master these situations: Wheelblades and the SafetyFoot.
Although he was able to wow the panel of investors during VOX’s "Die Höhle der Löwen"(Germany’s version of "Shark Tank") in early September, he was unable to land a deal. But that doesn’t deter the young entrepreneur from moving ahead. REHACARE.com asked him about the conclusions he draws from this experience and found out about his connection to REHACARE.
Mr. Mayer, what makes your Wheelblades and SafetyFoot so unique – in reference to how you took them from the design concept to the finished product?
Patrick Mayer: Both the Wheelblades and the SafetyFoot were originally created to meet my own needs. I have been walking impaired since April 2000 and know the problems people are faced with in this setting first-hand. When it comes to my products, I pay special attention to four key aspects:
Functionality: My products must be versatile and easy to use.
Quality: I provide high quality products that meet my own high expectations.
Design: I emphasize a modern and sporty design for auxiliary aids.
Price: Despite these high expectations, it is very important to me that my products are priced fairly for customers. Mobility should not depend on the size of your wallet.
I exclusively collaborate with reputable companies in Germany and Switzerland to achieve these goals. Production in the Far East would not be an option for me. Sales and distribution start once all development steps have been successfully completed.
At the beginning of September, Patrick Mayer tried to inspire the investors in "Shark Tank" with his products Wheelbades and SafetyFoot. Even if they liked his idea, it wasn't enough for a deal in the TV show. But he became quite well known anyway.
Unfortunately, you did not land a deal on VOX’s "Die Höhle der Löwen" in September. What lessons did you learn from this experience in terms of your own mindset and your business?
Mayer: Initially, not getting a deal made me feel defeated. It wasn’t until after the show aired that I realized that the broadcast itself offers a big chance and ultimately matters more than landing an on-the-spot deal. First off, you never know who watches the show. But then it is also a wonderful platform to pitch your product to an audience of nearly three million viewers. The day of shooting in the studio and everything that goes with it was an amazing and motivating experience for me. I spent weeks preparing for this moment and managed to tune out all the stress and worries from the past few years and simply focused on doing my best.
You also visited this year’s REHACARE trade fair. Were you able to network and build meaningful connections with exhibitors or your potential target market?
Mayer: REHACARE is always one of the most important appointments of the year for me. It gives me the chance to meet exhibitors and companies that already distribute my products. Yet it’s also an opportunity to learn about the latest industry developments. And last but not least, I have been actively involved in this community for nearly 20 years and it’s simply fun to be around so many people who are in the same boat.
What does inclusion mean to you?
Mayer: To me, inclusion means being a full and equal member of society. I believe that equality should permeate all areas of life and should not depend on the condition of the underground.