"(The win) changed the game. Now, I have this free money so I don't need to give up any equity."
Due diligence was put on hold to accommodate AquaMobile’s busy season. Then, Goodwin won the Telus/Globe and Mail Small Business Challenge that came with $100,000. “That changed the game. Now, I have this free money so I don’t need to give up any equity,” she said. AquaMobile now has more than 800 instructors and is in the process of hiring for 2016, as it expands into British Columbia and several more states.The dragon’s point of view “The door is still wide open,” Treliving said. “She is very bright, has a great business model and limited overhead expenses.” One challenge he sees is in the company’s ability to recruit high-quality instructors that are as positive as she is. Treliving’s team also made her aware of the need to have good liability insurance. “The U.S. is far more litigious than Canada,” he said. “It’s not a big concern, she just has to be cautious.” An expert’s opinion John Cho, partner at KPMG Enterprise, agrees with Goodwin’s decision not to franchise. “If she can scale without franchising, it gives her more control over the areas that matter, such as talent management,” he said. He also liked her plan to expand into other verticals. “She has a model and user interface that can be applied to many instruction areas. The key going forward is the quality of instructors and mitigating risk, especially as the business gets larger, which increases the chances of an incident happening that could damage her reputation and business,” Cho said. His one piece of advice is for her to “focus on strengthening infrastructure before pushing significant growth.”