Young Inventor In The Zone

This article originally appeared in Peninsula Essence Magazine 2016

by Melissa Walsh

Terry Scott has always marched to the beat of his own drum. As a kid at school he thought differently from the other kids, and knew it. Along with his brother David, the pair grew up on acreage in Devon Meadows and spent hours tinkering with their bikes in the shed. They played outdoors from sunrise to dusk while young Terry’s mind was always ticking over about new things to create.

“As an adult, whether I was working in WA as a shotcreter, landscaping, or floor sanding, I always looked for a better way to do things to make the jobs more productive and safe,” said Terry.

Now in his thirties, Terry can proudly call himself an entrepreneur with his award winning invention, Neato”, which is a breakthrough organiser that puts all the tools you’re working with right at your fingertips. And for this young inventor, everything is falling into place with his creation winning an award in the 2016 Smart 100, the largest awards program dedicated to innovation in Australia.

“It’s been a long time coming but when we won the award this year it was proof that the Neato’ was something special,” said Terry of his innovative design that starts with three flexible arms that connect with interchangeable attachments from a magnetised board and tray for smaller items, to a mobile phone holder, funnel and high powered light. “Neato” started in 2009 when I was in my garage working on the car and becoming repeatedly frustrated at not having enough hands to do the job efficiently. I realised there had to be a way to work more effectively and it was then the light bulb moment occurred for tool organisation.”

With the reality that creativity is an ebb and flow process, it wasn’t long before the peninsula inventor came to a standstill with his idea and longed for further inspiration. Always following his heart and intuition, Terry soon travelled overseas to the US in 2010 to do some research for the business and watch the US Open Pro at Huntington Beach. In a serendipitous turn of events, Terry found the inspiration he was searching for through an unexpected meeting with the great surfer Mick Fanning.

“I was sitting in the street at Huntington Beach literally at a crossroads at my life, looking to the future and where I was going. I knew I wanted to invent this thing and do something special but I felt a bit lost. I wandered across the road to go to the bathroom and saw Mick Fanning walking out. We chatted and I told him I had come from Australia to watch him surf. Because I was by myself he told his staff to give me a wrist band and come and meet the boys. The next nine hours changed my life forever. I figured if someone with such a high profile as Mick Fanning was so nice and bent over backwards to help me, then there was more to the world and what it offered,” said Terry, who came home with a new perspective.

“I was re-invigorated and I didn’t know what it would take, but I suddenly had the confidence to know I could do it,” said Terry who had developed a relaxed philosophical outlook from a young age.

The next two years, armed with a new found motivation, and a philosophical belief in destiny, Terry worked on bringing his invention to fruition.

”I was like anyone with an idea and knew then that I had to spend the next few years working out the mechanisms of the product, and how to make it mobile which was the most complex issue.

I collaborated with a product designer, Daniel, and found Brian Goldberg who introduced me to IP Protection and trademarks. The first prototype had 109 components that all needed to talk to each other. The final product has 179.”

Now NEATO® is gaining national attention by motor vehicle enthusiasts, professional mechanics, shed warriors, hobbyists and office workers alike — anyone with two hands looking for a third.

And while Terry has been offered some serious cash for his invention, he knows that he wants to keep the personal control over his baby and is offering crowd funding opportunities on his world-first tool management system.

To find out about the opportunity to get in early on this inspirational product go to