Category Archives: Tutorials

The Importance of Performing Patent Research

Probably the most important step in invention validation is the patent research. The purpose of performing such study will not only bring to light some of the competitive products and what specifically they claim as innovative but, it also will determine if you can pursue your idea without infringing on an existing patent.

The entire patent system is incredibly cumbersome and intimidating to most people and frankly, the search tool is very difficult to understand so I wanted to help shed some light on how a patent search is normally performed.

Step One: Gather a detailed summary of what specifically your idea does and more importantly how it works (or the planned mechanism to the best of your ability).
This sometimes is easier said than done. I often have clients that will come to me with an invention idea but, they have not fully envisioned how it will work (meaning mechanically). They know what consumer problem or need it addresses but, as far as the detailed workings are concerned they have not gotten that far. In order to perform a good patent search you will need to have done some upfront work in conceptualization or at least a good sketch to show how your product will function.

Step Two: Start with a basic keyword search.
This is sometimes the easiest step to help narrow the search down. What I recommend is starting with an online search tool such as Google Patents (www.google.com/patents) and type in a 3-8 word phrase that best describes your product such as “Adjustable Hair Dryer”. Normally, this is will yield a long list of results based on the most accurate matches. You will normally only need the first couple of listings to see how the similar “prior art” or previously filed patents are categorized within the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Google Patents Search Tool

Google Patents Search Tool

Step Three: Identify the best fit Class and Sub-Class categories.
After finding some relevant matches you now can see how they have been categorized within the USPTO database. All patents are stored in a Class/Sub-Class style of organization. This means the classification for the product type and the below more detailed category. If you look at a patent you will see the “Current U.S. Classification” listed as shown below. The first number is the Class and the second is the Sub-Class. Using tools like Google Patents you can also click these numbers and you will be directed to a definition listing at the USPTO.gov website. Once you have made it to the definition page, there will be a red letter P that signifies all patents filled under this Class/SubClass. Click the P and you will then see all patents.

Google Patent Selection with Highlighted Areas of Interest

Google Patent Selection with Highlighted Areas of Interest

Finding the USPTO Patent Classification

Displaying all Categorized Patents

Displaying all Categorized Patents

After looking through a number of matching patents I will normally save the PDF versions to my computer to more thoroughly review them later on.

Step Four: Dig deep to find flush out any overlapping prior art.
This is the part that is often best to have an expert assist you because the standard patent language is often very “lawyer-friendly”. However, once you have your set of patents to look through there is really only two areas of interest that need to be reviewed; Drawings and Claims. The drawings are a graphical representation of an embodiment of the invention and can help you in understanding the language that is written in the claims. The claims are the set of specific characteristics of the invention that are thought to be unique and therefore patentable. You should start with claim 1 and read through it slowly to see if your invention at all covers the same details. If not, proceed to the second claim. Claims can be written as independent or dependent (based on a previous claim). For this reason, if the primary claim appears to be different from yours then under most cases, the subsequent dependent claims can be skipped. You would continue this process with all relevant prior art until you have clearly identified all concerning claims. The other thing to note is that while there may a patent in the system, it doesn’t mean it is still valid. The Inventor must stay current with the required maintenance fees to keep the patent active in the system.

NOTE: while a patent search is important, there are still no guarantees that a Patent Examiner will approve your patent. The proposed invention must be truly novel and non-obvious through the eyes of the reviewer.

Step Five: Proceed on or back to the drawing board.
Don’t be discouraged if at first you find some existing patents that appear to be blocking you in your pursuit of product development. This just means you need to further refine the product design or add some unique functionality that is not already covered by the existing products. This would be a good time to consult a seasoned Industrial Designer or Product Development Consultant to help you get back on track.

I hope this has been informative to my readers and if you have any further questions, please submit a question in the comment section below and I will respond.

Best of luck to all you Innovators and Entrepreneurs.

Make sure you follow this blog, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

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Shark Tank Weekly Review – Episode 412 January 4th 2013

Happy New Year to all the loyal Shark Tank viewers and Odyssey Solutions followers!

Before I go into this weeks episode, I wanted to first start out with a brief word of advice for anyone looking to develop a product. While sales history is certainly good, market analysis is far better. What I mean is that to understand how big the potential is for a product you must first know the ins and outs of the market you are trying to attack (including the competition). Now this may seem like a no-brainer but, in addition to knowing the sales of the cumulative competition you really should look at that the intended target market. Sometimes this is not always clear, as you are hopefully creating a new market through gaps in the competitions offerings. Whether you are pitching the Sharks in the Tank or meeting with some potential Investors, knowledge is key. This episode showed us that a good product will attract the right Investors.

Now on to the review…

Inventor: Doug Marshall

Product: Gameface (http://www.thegamefacecompany.com/)

Requesting: $400k for 25% stake

The GameFace Company by Doug Marshall

The GameFace Company by Doug Marshall

Have you ever gone to a sporting event and wanted to express yourself with your favorite team logo? Wouldn’t you want to celebrate Halloween with a mess-free costume? Well Doug Marshall has come up with a very novel idea to address both. The GameFace non-toxic face masks are a simple, clean and easy way to show your pride. Doug started the business a number of years ago and is now expecting to gross revenues of $100k+ this year alone on his company. The company is fully independent and operates as a side job with his wife. Margins appear to be pretty solid even in the wholesale realm. Daymond is out. Robert is also out and expresses his disinterest in doing business with Doug on such poor sales. Kevin offers a mixed offer of cash, loan and royalties. Finally Mark and Lori jump in with an offer of $1 MILLION for the entire company and an $80k/year salary for 5 years. After some talking with his wife, Doug then settles on a $450k for 35% with 80K/year salary and he still retains ownership.

Feedback: It is so easy to be wowed by a $1 MILLION buy-out offer for your product. However, getting paid is not always the best solution. I especially loved to hear Roberts’ story about how it took him so long as an Entrepreneur to earn a $100k salary and that he always held out for to see the project through. I admire Doug here. He didn’t succumb to the temptation of a big upfront check instead he stuck it out to see his project on to success. Mark and Lori once again showed they are the choice partners for consumer products (especially sports-related ones).

Inventors: Dan Grimm and Brant Myers

Product: Arkeg (http://www.drinkngame.com)

Requesting: $100k for 33% stake

The Arkeg Drink n Game Console

The Arkeg Drink n Game Console

Ok so this is a new one for me. I like beer and gaming so why not combine the two? That is what these two guys decided to do with the Arkeg. Dan and Brant both spoke so highly about the ability to sell one to any man cave or game room but the price point may be the limiting factor. The price tag of $4k with 20 units sold to date. The Sharks don’t buy into the deal and they guys leave empty-handed.

Feedback: I just don’t think the product attracts a wide enough audience to begin with to be on Shark Tank. Sure I would love to have one but at $4k! No thanks. My entire home brewing setup along with my XBOX 360 was far less.

Inventor: Dan Rothwell

Product: Dura-tent (http://www.duratent.com)

Requesting: $50k for 30% stake

The Dura Tent

The Dura Tent

Tired of pesky flies getting into your picnic or barbecue? The Dura Tent is an innovative approach to keeping the flies and their harmful germs off of your food. The combination tent and mosquito netting works to protect the food you spent so much time preparing. He sold 50k units at the time and has 3 patents total on the product. As he kept going on about the sales figures and costs the numbers weren’t adding up to what he said. Robert and Mark were out. The rest of the Sharks followed. No deal.

Feedback: The product is fairly good but as Lori said, the name just doesn’t translate to function. First rule of naming “phonetically communicate what the product does or what problem it solves”. So many people purchase on impulse and marketing is what drives this. He said that a Marketing consultant recommended he not focus on the act of what the product does. I find that odd. Anyway, the best way to name your product is to get out a white board and write all words associated with the problem on one side then on the other side the words associated with the solution and see if you can combine any two. At least it is a start.

Inventor: Megan Gage

Product: Hot Tot (www.hottot.com)

Requesting: $50k for 15% stake

Hot Tot Child-safe Haircare

Hot Tot Child-safe Haircare

If you have a child then you can see where Megan is coming from. To put just anything in the hair of your young child is so dangerous considering you don’t know what is in the haircare products. She sought out a solution to this problem with Hot Tot. While initially focusing on the kids boutiques shops she now is working towards the high end salons as most of the buyers are women. Her sales are $20k so far but she has $7k in purchase orders waiting to be filled. The margins are very good. All of the Sharks are out except Mark. He offers $75k for 40% stake and she takes it.

Feedback: I really liked seeing Megan speak about her passion in child haircare. I thought of myself when I started working on products. Define-Solve-Sell. While she is still very new and maybe the biggest need is Marketing, Mark will surely help her.

Thanks everyone for reading this weeks post. Stay tuned for weekly reviews of Shark Tank. Make sure you follow this blog, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

 

 

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Shark Tank Review Episode 303 – January 1st 2013 (re-air)

First and foremost, Happy Holidays and especially a Happy New Year to all of my loyal readers. The start of a new year should be a sign for other entrepreneurs to take the step towards independence. I wish you all a prosperous 2013 with you endeavors and / or inventions.

So this episode was a re-air from the third season but considering it was airing on New Years Day, it gave us another dose of the show prior to the all new episode this Friday. This show gave us a little of everything; seasoned successful business owners looking to partner with someone with global exposure, Inventors with a great product in a fantastic market segment and even a product that might need to go back to the drawing board before it makes it big. Without further ado, lets see how it all panned out….

Inventor: Kevin and Melissa Kiernan

Product: The Last Lid (www.lastlid.com)

Requesting: $40k for 20% stake

The Last Garbage Lid you Might Ever Need

The Last Garbage Lid you Might Ever Need

Melissa and Kevin entered the tank to discuss the product that was developed to address a need to keep raccoons from opening and knocking over their trash cans every night. Additionally, they would often lose the lids for their trash cans and apparently you cannot buy just replacement lids for trash cans. After some testing of materials and finding which design was most effective they settled on the elastic banded, polyurethane cover that would replace the need the for the hard plastic covers. They just launched the product, with no sales to date or IP. One by one the Sharks bail out of the pitch until only Daymond is left and he asks the two if they would take a minute to propose a final offer. Kevin said “$40k for 60% stake!”. Daymond agreed.

Feedback: While I love the fact they the Kiernans took a problem and created and tested a solution, I don’t like the resulting product for a number of reasons. First, the sagging fabric will get filed with rain water and make a mess. Second, the fabric regardless of whether it is water proof /resistant will leak the odors which I hate (ultimately promoting more Racoons to come by and check it out). Finally, I am not sure on what basis Daymond thought this idea had a valuation of roughly $67k with no sales and nothing protected in intellectual property in the way of a patent. The concept is a good one but, I think a better and more cost effective solution would involve an elastic domed disk that can be attached to any type of trash can.

Inventor: Amanda Schlechter

Product: The Ledge Pillow (www.ledgepillow.com)

Requesting: $30k for 25% stake

The Only Pillow that Doesn't Get in the Way...

The Only Pillow that Doesn’t Get in the Way…

Amanda entered the tank with a beautiful model by her side to demo the Ledge Pillow, a contour designed pillow for stomach sleepers with large breasts or augmentation. The idea is that many women now have breast implants and as a result cannot not sleep on their stomach comfortably. The company was formed in 2008 and has 83 pillows sold to date. Mr. Wonderful started by telling Amanda that the sales history and the small niche market was not enough to keep him interested. The other Sharks followed by not partnering with the Ledge Pillow.

Feedback:  This pitch to me was very tough to watch because Amanda appears to be very passionate of the product yet she has not taking the risk personally to see if the product would sell. During the 3-4 years that the product was out (with a patent as well), she didn’t spend a lot of time or money to perform a market analysis that may have helped to better understand who are the intended buyers. In reality, had she been able to invest more of her own money into advertising to boost sales over the 83 unit mark the pitch may have gone better. I wish her the best of luck and recommend that she take the risk to fully “live” her product 24/7, meaning cold calling store owners, retail buyers in her local market to setup a case study of sales history.

Inventors: Steve Nakisher and Shane Talbott

Product: Talbott Teas (www.talbottteas.com)

Requesting: $250k for 20% stake

Designer Teas by Talbott Teas

Designer Teas by Talbott Teas

The company Talbott Teas was created by the two partners to serve the designer tea market. The products are whole leaf tea blend created by Shane Talbott with a total of 23 different flavors available. The two were fortunate enough to be chosen as one of Oprahs favorite things in 2009 which led to an instant boost in sales. In addition they have appeared on QVC on numerous occasions. Sales history: $100k in 2009, $350k in 2010 and $500k through Q3-2011. They are enjoying a 50% gross profit margin at the moment. Daymond jumps in a regretfully bows out due to a conflict of interest with another investment he is in. Mark is also out. Kevin offers the $250k for 40%. Robert and Lori both drop out and it is left to the Talbott Tea owners on whether to accept. They counter twice and settle on a $250k for 35% stake to Kevin.

Feedback: These two owners are an example of found fundamental Entrepreneurs. Not only do they have great trending sales history but, they are very knowledgable of the business side of things too. I am amazed that there are not more competition out there in this segment aside from Teavana. Not only is tea shown to have health benefits but it easier on the stomach. I think this is a gold mine and I imagine more me-too companies will enter the ring soon. I wonder if the two are full-time working for Talbott or not because the intro video had them talking about their professional background. In any event this is a success for sure, Lucky for Kevin to have gotten such a big piece of the pie for only $250k (or roughly 4 months of sales).

Inventors: Maddie, Margot and Diane Bradshaw

Product: M3 Jewelry (www.m3girldesigns.com)

Requesting: $300k for 15% stake

M3 Girl Designs Jewelry

M3 Girl Designs Jewelry

Maddie, Margot and mom are M3 Designs a unique interchangeable jewelry company out of Dallas Texas. The company was formed back in 2006 when then 10years old Maddie began creating bottle cap magnets which led to the interchangeable bottle cap necklaces. Since the formation of the company, the product has grown to be representing in over 1000 retail stores nationwide! During this time the company has grossed over $5 million in sales revenue and growing. They Bradshaw’s are now looking to grow the business and lower the unit cost to help target the international markets. With the exception of Daymond, the Sharks are all wanting a piece of the M3 business but it comes down to equity and dollars. Various offers get put in front of the girls involving: Kevin+Lori for 40%, Lori+Mark for 30% then finally Lori+Robert+Mark for 30%. The girls talk it over and decide to take the deal if they can get season tickets to the Mavericks. Mark concedes a better deal, Owners box anytime with friends. The deal is done!

Feedback: It is hard to believe but these two young girls are both millionaires! I love how they are talking about college coming up soon. If this business gets any bigger school is going to be a waste of time. At first I didn’t understand the product but after they showed how the bottle caps can be removed and reattached to the necklace charm, I saw how this would appeal to the younger generation. They mentioned that all of the assembly is taking place in their Dallas facility but, does that mean these are all hand made or are they integrating any automation? I think this could be streamlined overseas for very cheap but I kind of think “Made in the USA” may be worth the incremental cost to be honest. Truly inspiring story and I am eager to see how the company grows in the coming years.

Thanks everyone for reading this weeks post. Stay tuned for weekly reviews of Shark Tank. Make sure you follow this blog, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

 

 

 

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Shark Tank Weekly Review – Episode 409 December 4th Holiday Episode

Happy Holidays Shark Tank fans. The much anticipated holiday episode of The Shark Tank aired this evening and as expected, the show was very entertaining. We saw some great product pitches with solid sales, some niche business models that need more time and some hard headed Entrepreneurs that didn’t want to listen to the Sharks had to say. As always read through and make comments with your takes on the products and whether you would purchase any on your own.

Lets get started…..

Inventor: Lucinda Lent and Juliet Boydstun

Pitch: The Coop (www.thecoop-la.com)

Requesting: $150k for 15% stake

The Coop LA

The Coop LA

The pitch began with the two ladies describing how they met and how once they became Mothers, the options for social locations for their children and themselves was limited. Most of the play areas were dirty, outdated and with no focus on the Mothers. They came up with the idea for The Coop, a modern play spot for kids with a coffee bar and deserts for the parents. They opened the first location after securing a $125k loan from a bank. They cater to high end clientele and movie stars but want to roll out the idea to all budgets. The typical cost for a 2 hour party rental is $595-4000 and weekend sales are typically around $5k currently. They recorded $350k in revenue and booked between $125-150k in profit after taking in a salary (pretty nice!). They would ideally like to franchise the concept and the money would help fund another location. Kevin said he was very impressed with the numbers but he would be out. Daymond added that he wouldn’t be able to add anything to the business and for that he would have to be out. Robert followed out. Mark thinks the business is god but it needs more time and he worries about the price and the amount of competition, he was out. Last was Barbara who offered an iterating counter-offer. She would give the $150k for 15% with a personal guarantee to be paid back in 2 years. After some discussion between the two ladies, they took the offer. Congrats!

Feedback: Well I can tell you as a father of a 3 year old daughter, this business is one that parents (Mothers especially) will pay for. Take a look at Gymboree or the Little Gym, while they are competition they do not offer a parent friendly aspect which is unique. I do agree with Kevin in the idea that they need to test a few more locations (outside of LA because LA is not a good representation of the rest of the country because of the amount of affluent citizens). I already have noticed Barbara doing a good job of promotion of The Coop on Twitter and Facebook which will have an immediate impact. The reality of the loan terms are pretty harsh with the fact they need to pay in full the loan in 24 months for relinquishing 15% stake in the company but, the marketing they will get from Barbara is worth it. Look forward to seeing The Coop come to Texas!!

Inventor: Donna McCue

Product: Fat Ass Fudge (www.fat-assfudge.com)

Requesting: $250k for 5% stake

Fat Ass Fudge

Fat Ass Fudge

The flamboyantly energetic Donna McCue entered the Tank to pitch her unique fudge company to the Sharks. What makes the product so unique is that it is Lactose Free, Gluten Free and made with goats milk. She began to make chocolate many years ago and the name came from a family nickname. she has been selling mostly locally and has 2 Whole Foods stores she is working with at the moment but has yet to break into their nationwide reach. They recorded $60k in sales over the past 12 months. Kevin offered her $250k for 1000% stake, she is confused then he says he is out. The rest of the Sharks do the same. Donna leaves without a deal.

Feedback: Energy, passion, enthusiasm would be some very accurate adjectives for Donna McCue. She undoubtable has a good product that tastes good and touches on the Gluten, Lactose-Free segments which are growing. The problem once again is her valuation of her company. Valuation can only be accurate when it references either sales history or pending / accounts receivable. Having said that, unless she has an enormous amount of non-cash assets such as equipment her valuation of $5 million dollars is just silly.

Inventor: Scott Martin (a.k.a., Scotty Clause)

Pitch: The Living Christmas (www.livingchristmas.com)

Requesting: $150k for 30% stake

The Living Christmas Company

The Living Christmas Company

The Tank was full of Christmas trees as a jolly Entrepreneur approached with a long Santa cap and a handlebar mustache. Scott talks about the issue of the annual tradition of cutting down a tree then only weeks later after the holidays have passed it is thrown out. He created a sustainable solution to the problem of deforestation by delivering a living tree with a pot that is only temporarily brought into the home. After the holidays, his company picks up the tree and returns it to the farm where it is fed throughout the remainder of the year until the following Christmas whereby the process repeats. The average cost of the tree rental is $100-200. He had $150k in sales last year with a profit of $33k (no salary taken). He is in need of money for further infrastructure growth to take on more business. Kevin doesn’t like the business because it is seasonal. He is out. Daymond owns a tree farm (yes apparently he does) but thinks the business model has too many unknowns. Robert and Barbara are also out. Mark then asks about how many jobs could be created with the money and offers the $150k for 40%. Scott takes the deal.

Feedback: I really like this concept but, i think he needs to diversify into other non-seasonal products / services. Since I don’t know the first thing about the costs to operate a standard tree farm I would be out of place to provide too much insight here but, I see from the website that Scott has garnered the support of various corporate sponsors and partners which is a good sign. The other thing that concerned me with the finances was the amount of profit (~20% without his salary taken). I think with Mark Cubans support they will be able to find a lean solution to the cash problems. Updates on this one will be greatly appreciated since it is that time of year…

Inventors: Julian Jaccard and Connor Pastoor

Product: Partie Poche (http://96.0.165.69/partiepoche/)

Requesting: $100k for 20% stake

Party Poche

Party Poche

Julian and Connor (two MBA students) are pitching a fashionable, discrete holder for a woman’s cellphone, money, etc,.. The Partie Poche is worn on the leg of the user and virtually out of sight to others. They sold 200 units with prices ranging from $17-36/unit (pricing was incrementally increasing towards the end of the 200 units). A Provisional Patent is in-place. Every time the Sharks began to talk to them about valuation and finances they became very argumentative and arrogant. Julian said she had a meeting with a Nordstrom VP but, didn’t receive a PO because she didn’t have any product. They said the initial product inventory was sold and designed by a freelancer and they didn’t have any more product to sell. A late investment of $50k from some college colleagues which was enough to retain 40% stake of the company (leaving Julian and Connor with a 60% net stake). Kevin was furious and said he was out and forbid the other Sharks to do business with the two. Daymond told them that they were hard headed and he was out. Robert said the two were arrogant and stubborn and he was out. Barbara doesn’t think it will sell and bows out. Mark was left and asked the two to stop talking as he requested them to explain the infrastructure and after the same type of responses as before he says he is out.

Feedback: So many things rub me the wrong way about these two. The first is the attitude of they know it all because they are studying for their MBAs (this was evident when Julian started throwing out financial buzz words). While I am a strong believer in higher education, street knowledge and learning from your failures is far more valuable. The other issue here is that this project does not appear to be a full time venture and the lack of focus on getting additional product manufactured with the $50k investment is perplexing. If I had $50k from an Investor I would find the fastest way to pay them back and that would be through product inventory and sales generation which they appear to have none. This pitch should be an example to other aspiring Inventors to listen to those with knowledge and experience in the business world and don’t talk over them. The final thing, with the airing of the show in the works for some time now, their website is still in Beta mode. Ridiculous! Even bad publicity is publicity and if they couldn’t turn the Shark Tank publicity into money they shouldn’t be on the show.

Thanks everyone for reading this weeks post. Stay tuned for weekly reviews of Shark Tank.

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

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Shark Tank Weekly Review – Episode 312 November 24th

Ok so with Thanksgiving week upon us we were forced to watch a re-aired episode from last season. All is not lost since this episode was in fact a good one and I can provide a little bit of an update to each company / Inventor.

The sharks in the tank this week included: Kevin (Mr. Wonderful), Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, Barbara Corcoran and Daymond John.

Without further ado, lets get on with the review. Oh and as always, please leave comments if you have any more updates or comments with regards to the products and services on the show.

Inventor: Ryan Custer

Product: Cougar Unlimited (www.drinkcougar.com)

Requesting: $150k for 30% stake

Cougar Unlimited Lifestyle Drink for Women

So considering time has past since the original recording of this episode, there are a number of developments that I will mention at the end. So Ryan entered the tank with a beautiful blond women by his side. He started to pitch the Cougar Unlimited brand by saying that the term Cougar (as it refers to a woman between the ages of 30-55) has become a bit of a pop couture term and that more and more men are seeking the accompaniment of an older women. The product is a energy drink (ok it is actually a lifestyle shot) specifically designed for women with ingredients that benefit women. Ryan also said that the shots can be mixed with alcohol to create mixed drinks. He has recorded $60k in sales over 3 year period. Daymond immediate bows out as he doesn’t want to waste any time. Barbara thinks the drink tastes like chalk and asked what was causing the taste, Ryan responded with “Niacin” she was out. Kevin then talked about how he already trimmed the market too much by excluding men and women above and below the target age group. Kevin is out. Mark follows. Robert is last and after some hard push from Ryan he also bows out leaving Ryan empty handed.

Feedback: First, this market is so flooded with competition and I honestly think it will all dissolve as more and more scrutiny comes down from the FDA. Having said that, Ryan has a unique pitch with the female market but, in reality he should also offer a male-only shot to cover the remaining market. We recently saw a pitch by a military gentlemen for www.ruckpack.com for a energy drink without the caffeine designed for the military and civilians. This is to me a much more well-rounded concept.

Inventor: Gary Gagnon

Product: Remyxx 100% Recyclable Shoes (www.rekixx.com)

Requesting: $50k for 10% stake

Rekixx (aka Remyxx) Recyclable Shoes

Gary enters the tank to pitch his company of Remyxx which is a fully recyclable shoe idea that takes into account the materials used to ensure that the shoe can be recycled with zero waste. He has some prototypes that he passed out to the Sharks and they appeared to be pretty fashionable to me. He does not yet have any sales as this is in the start-up phase and has invested about $30k to date. He is asking for the money to purchase the individual molds for each shoe size. Robert, Kevin, Barbara and Mark all bow out but, each seemed to like the idea. Daymond is last to speak and he says “you may not like what I have to offer” then says $50k for 80% stake (ouch!). After some emotional discussion, he takes the deal but, requests that Mark Cuban wear a pair court side at the Mavericks game.

Feedback: The product is not only unique but a trendy topic so I think it will ultimately do very well in the long run. The deal of relinquishing 80% of the company is painful but, he really just got a licensing deal for 20% return with one of the more successful fashion brains in the industry. The $50k was not nearly enough to get the product off the ground and I will elaborate. First individual molds for each  size shoe sole for the injection molding of the rubber would probably cost about $3000 per size (made in China) and if we figure sizes form 6-14 (half sizes included for mens only) that means that it would cost $51,000. This does not account for sample runs, shipping and testing of all samples as well as the cost to cut and assemble the upper portion of the shoe. So lets say for a shoe retailing for $65 as it is on the website the non-domestic cost is probably going to be around $18-20 per pair. If you can imagine a box box retailer such as Foot Locker, they will likely order a sample run of 2 pair per size per store which may be in the neighborhood of 5-10k units. That means Gary needs to be able to handle the order, front the inventory cost since the retailer is not going to pay for probably 90 days. He would need $150k conservatively to take on that order. I can tell you from experience that selling online is easy but, moving to the big retailers is a gigantic step that needs capital. Don’t let that discourage you because I do think Daymond will help it off the ground. By the way it appears that Daymond decided to change the company name to Rekixx from Remyxx (good call).

Inventors: Frank Campitelli and Debrae Barensfeld

Product: Nitroforce Titan 1000 (www.thenitroforce.com)

Requesting: $250k for 10% stake

Nitroforce Titan 1000 All-in-one Gym

Both Inventors enter the shark and approach the Titan 1000 all in one gym. The most unique part of the product is the usage of gas shocks for resistance instead of weights which makes it far lighter and more versatile. Frank mentioned intellectual property in the pitch but it was not clear if they actually own the patents to the concepts or what? Anybody want to clarify? The 1000 in the product name comes from the amount of total resistance that the system can simulate much higher that the competitive products (Bowflex, Bioforce, etc,…). They have 90 machines in their warehouse, sold 26 for $1299 and invested about $200k so far between the two. Unfortunately all of the sharks chose to bow out and they leave empty handed.

Feedback: After looking at the website in great detail, I don’t know if they have any further sales to date since the episode but I would be interested in hearing more if anyone can provide more info. I also noticed another product in their pipeline (golf training system). Also, the product is retailing on the site for $899 plus $399 shipping!! This to me is typical of an eCommerce company, low price with an inflated S&H which ultimately goes into their pockets. I can verify this because actual ground shipping would only be $100 at most. Not a big deal but, consumers are not easily fooled. Best of luck Inventors!

Inventor: Phil Dumas

Product: Unikey Technologies (www.unikeytech.com)

Requesting: $500k for 33% stake

Unikey Wireless Locking Systems

Phil entered the tank to present his company Unikey Technologies which is a wireless, keyless locking system for the home. The technology utilizes a Bluetooth signal from the cellphone or key fob to verify the homeowner is in range to unlock the door. A simple touch to the top of the lock will unlock the mechanism. He already has a provisional agent filed for the invention. The system is fully refit table to the existing door holes 2 bolts out 2 bolts on. The expected retail will be $149-199 each. He is currently in licensing discussions with Black and Decker and seeking a 7.5% royalty. Money will go towards patent protection and bluetooth application package. Kevin starts out by offering $100k for 10% if he can get another shark to fund the rest. Barbara offers $250k for 25% but, needs Mark to finish the deal. Daymond says $500k for 40% and Robert offers a staggering $1 million for 75% stake. Finally Mark Cuban turns down Barbara because the technology is not “in her wheel house”. He finally agrees to deal with Mark and Kevin for $500k and 40% stake with two seats on the board.

Feedback: Phil not only brought a very good technology to the table but his back ground is perfect for a start up company as he spent time in the start up business. This product is one that I scratched my head to ask why has nobody done this before? I wonder what the patent looks like and as soon as it publishes I will provide more details. From looking at the website, the product is still not available but is pre-ordering. He also updated the site to say he has partnered with a legal counsel and filed the non-provisional patent. I also did not see anything about Black and Decker which makes me wonder if the deal fizzled. Any updates anybody? I am sure this product will do very well assuming the cost is below $150.

Thanks everyone for reading this weeks post. Stay tuned for weekly reviews of Shark Tank.

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

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Creating HD Video Using Avid Studio

So I wanted to create a couple of YouTube videos for products we manufacture; WrisTRAINER, TempoTRAINER and BanditGrip. I definitely wanted the videos to be in 1080p HD format and I didn’t want to have any issues with the format conversions. The camera I am using is the Panasonic HDC-TM900 which is a very good quality prosumer HD camera. The standard video format it records (and most cameras nowadays for that matter) is the AVCHD. The computer I am running is a 2011 Power Mac with partitioned Windows environment using Parallels 7 for Mac. This allowed me the option of finding a program for video editing on either the Windows or Mac platform. My first choice would have been the cheap option of using iMovie. The issue with i Movie is that it will not allow direct uploading of AVCHD without first being converted into MPEG-4 or other format that is compatible. This was the same problem with the more pricey Final Cut Pro (which by the way is not sold in stores anymore, only on iTunes). The Mac options were pretty much limited so I then sought out the Windows options. After much research and hundreds of reviews, it appeared that Avid Studio would be the best possible software for my case and at $179 it was a fraction of the cost of Final Cut Pro.

So, once the video was all shot in various clips, I now needed to upload to the computer and begin with the editing process. Avid is a very easy to use software and with the various forums and YouTube tutorials, getting started took me just a few minutes. The following will hopefully help you in getting your HD videos to YouTube, Vimeo, etc,…

Loading the Video Files to Your Computer Through Avid Studio

How to Load the Video Files to Avid

Find the drive where the files are located (Camera or removable media)…

Selecting the Correct Video Clips in Avid Studio

Unselect all… then select the specific clips you would like to load then click Start Upload button at the bottom

Creating Your HD Video Using Selected Clips

HD Video Clips in Import Library in Avid Studio

You will notice then selected clips are now located in the Latest Import section…

Creating the Movie in Avid Studio

Now, click the Movie tab at the top and you will see the multi-track timeline shown here with the files you uploaded before

Selecting Your First HD Video Clip to the Timeline

Click the first clip you would like to add to the timeline and drag while holding the mouse button until you place it in the A/V track at the beginning of the movie 00:00:00….

Customizing Your Video Using Titles and Music

Creating Title Slides Using Avid Studio

To create a title slide simply click the T symbol in the lower half of the screen to the left side as shown above

Selecting Your Title Slide Using Avid Studio

Once the title slide is created, it will be stored in the Title Library as shown above. Note, I have create a number of slides for various phases in the movie including; introduction, name and position titles, speaking points and contact information…

Adding Songs or Sound Effects to Your Movie is Easy

To add songs to your movie simply select the music symbol on the lower half of the screen next to the Title button. Here you can add stock music, sounds and custom songs in standard formats (Mp3 among others)…

Selecting Your Favorite Music

You will notice the pre-installed songs that come with the software. You can also load any songs of your choice and even audio tracks of voices or sound effects too…

Clearly, I have left out a lot here about trimming your clips and making transitions between scenes but, if you would like me to send you more information please send me comment and I would be glad to help.

Finalizing the Video and Loading to YouTube

Exporting the Video to YouTube is Very Easy

To export the finished product, go to the top of the screen and select Export… as shown above

Selecting the File Format and Where it Will be Loaded

Here you can select to export to a file, disc or to the web. For this case, we will select the web option and this will default to YouTube. Clearly you will need to have setup ahead of time the YouTube account before. You can also select the file format and resolution. For this project I went with 1080p HD

Exporting the Video File

Once you are ready to export, select the Start Export button at the bottom of the screen.

Prior to hitting the Start Export button you can see the expected amount time and memory the conversion will take. Usually for a 5 minute video it might take about 20 minutes to fully load to YouTube. In a matter of minutes, your newly created project will be loaded into YouTube and viewed by the masses. I wish you all the best of luck in your video ventures and if you are interested in the final products of my videos click below…

YouTube Videos for Odyssey Solutions

WrisTRAINER Video http://youtu.be/oP8liW2W9Vw

TempoTRAINER Video http://youtu.be/iCbiFEh25kg

BanditGrip Video http://youtu.be/vhR4ExC9glQ

Thank you for reading my blog.

Sean Yakeley

President

Odyssey Solutions

www.odyssey-solutions.net

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