Tag Archives: Computer

Proud To Be a 3D Printer Beta Tester

With the growing improvements in technology and the resultant resolution that is now coming from the desktop 3D printers, I decided I needed to start looking at purchasing one for use in rapid prototyping client projects.

For Odyssey Solutions, the most critical three factors I was using to select our printer were: reliability, print resolution and overall print build volume. The reliability and resolution seem obvious enough but, in order to be able to accommodate the largest possible parts I had to narrow down the list to just a few.

When you Google 3D Printers you will most likely come across Makerbot (recently merged with Stratasys), 3D Systems or a seemingly endless list of small start ups. Makerbot for example is probably the most notable name in the industry as they were one of the first to really perfect the consumer 3D Printer. The Replicator 2 and now 2x are sleek, eye-catching products that had some serious time spent in the aesthetics department. However, it seemed that there were far too many people complaining about reliability and print consistency.

Makerbot Replicator 2 3D Printer

Makerbot Replicator 2 3D Printer

So I then looked at the 3D systems Cube and Cube X systems. Both are rather pricey for what they deliver. The Cube X is a larger printer with a very sizable build volume, it also comes in an optional multi-extrusion head system.

3D Systems Cube 3D Printer

3D Systems Cube 3D Printer

3D Systems Cube X 3D Printer

3D Systems Cube X 3D Printer

Another thing that tends to differentiate the 3D printers is the print media that is used. Most commonly used is a extrusion filament process that draws a small diameter plastic thread from a spool through a heated extrusion head and out onto the printing surface. The two most widely used materials are ABS (plastic) and PLA (biodegrable plastic made from plants). There are many advantages and drawbacks to both materials but, most people would agree having the capability to print both is preferred. PLA is a fast, non-toxic material that can be recycled. ABS on the other hand tends to produce finer resolution prints and more suitable for parts where stress will be seen.  Both the 3D Systems and the Replicator 2x models can accommodate both printing materials but, the price tags were what turned me off.

I then came across a smaller start up company called Type A Machines, a San Fran-based tech company that is focused on the open-source side of things. From reviews I read, their first generation machine the Series 1 (a primarily wood-based skeleton) performed well for the mid-range of users. The price tag was almost half that of the aforementioned models. I then heard they were going to be rolling out a Pro model which would be constructed of high strength steel and glass making is more suitable for high volume, high resolution print users. I contacted them directly by email to find out more and see when the release date would be. The following day Sara from Type A invited me to become a Beta tester for this new system. Not only would I get the latest and greatest model from them before anyone else but, I would also be prioritized for any upgrades later on (heated build platform, wifi and modular wire management systems). The best part about this was the build volume was 12″x12″x12″, much more than any competitive product out there. This meant that I would be able to handle many of my clients prints in-house as opposed to using a third party. So I decided to take them up on the offer. The order is placed and being filled at the moment.

In about 4 weeks I will have the machine and I will then post a follow-up blog on the results.

Here is a quick glance at the new Series 1 Pro

Type A Machines - Series 1 Pro

Type A Machines – Series 1 Pro

As always, thanks for the read.

Sean

Odyssey Solutions 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 402 December 7th

Hey there fellow Shark Tank fans. This week was a double dose of Shark Tank as we saw the new episode air on Tuesday and a re-air episode air at the end of the week. Although this is an episode from back in September of this year, it was very entertaining and provided plenty of interesting learning points to take into account.

This weeks Shark: Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary

So lets get started with the review…

Inventor: Derek Pacque

Product: CoatChex (www.coatchex.com)

Requesting: $200k for 10% stake

The CoatChex Ticketless System

The CoatChex Ticketless System

The pitch here is for a unique ticketless coat check system that would eliminate the confusion of the dated ticket system. Essentially, you enter you phone number and name and the module then takes a snapshot of you for the system and you hand over the jacket. Then once you are ready you only need the phone number and name to claim the coat. Derek has zero sales to date and is heavily invested by his past professor from college. He would like to franchise the system and sell each for $1500 upfront. He has been in touch with some regional developers to get the word spread but this model was not very attractive to Mark Cuban. Each coat would check for between $2-5 each time. He would claim a 15% profit share on all business with the franchisees. Derek also mentioned that he has a patent on the system of ticketless exchange (this could be used in other venues and platforms such as concerts and valet, etc,…). Daymond, Kevin, Barbara and Robert all chose to go out. Mark is left and he offers $200k for 33% stake. Derek has to step out to discuss with his partner which advises him to turn it down. To everyones surprise he leaves without any funding.

Feedback: The main lesson here is that working with a partner can sometimes lead to disastrous business decisions. Mark would have added far more value than the relinquished equity. Stubborn Entrepreneurs take a lesson here. Aside from the results, the product is very good especially the non-coatcheck concepts. I looked over the website and they have spent some good money on the web developing and marketing but, without knowing whether they secured any funding outside of the Tank they may not have anything on the backend.

Inventor: Jay Kriner

Product: BevBuckle (www.bevbuckle.com)

Requesting: $50k for 10% stake

The BevBuckle

The BevBuckle

Jay entered the tank and begins to pitch his product idea the BevBuckle, a hands-free beverage holder / belt buckle. He said the product is patented and he spent the past 4 years traveling around to music concerts and venues resulting in 4000 units of sales worth $340k in revenue. The buckles cost $10 to make and they sell for between $35-110 (depending on the finishes). His pitch was going well and the Sharks all seemed interested. Jay then pulled out two envelopes (one with the list of retailers including Urban Outfitters and the second listing the major raceways in the country). He said that they all had shown interest in the product. The main problem now is that his last manufacturer delivered 26% defective products. Daymond drops out and so does Mark. Robert offers the $50k for 75% stake. Kevin says he would offer the $50k for no equity but with a 12% royalty off the top of each sale. Barbara then jumps in to offer the $50k for 51% operating stake. After a few moments, Jay choses to go with Barbara.

Feedback: This is one of these ideas that you see and say “why didn’t I think of that?”. From the looks of them, they appear to be pretty well made and included a magnetic closure to keep it shut when not in use. These would be great in college, concerts, sporting events, you name it. The manufactured cost of only $10 is really reasonable and this would allow him to sell them wholesale for between $18-60/unit. Not bad for profitability. I still don’t know if $50k is enough to make much of an impact as I think he really needs a couple hundred thousand to get orders rolling for retailers. This is considering the normal credit terms being 60-90 days. I hope he has found a reliable shop to work with to keep the defects down too. Jay, please send me a sample if you wouldn’t mind!!

Inventor: Todd Miller

Product: Bodywalking (www.bodywalking.com)

Requesting: $100k for 10% stake

BodyWalking Institute

BodyWalking Institute

Todd is a certified massage therapist that came up with his own take on the message. He decided that walking on the human back is far more beneficial to the body for the pressure points and relief of stress. His company developed a training program for other massage therapists called the BodyWalking Institute. He has performed 30 training sessions in 7 years and recorded revenue of $1500 per session. The pitch doesn’t impress any of the Sharks and they all opt to back out.

Feedback: I was confused here with what exactly Todd was pitching since body walking massage has been around for a long time. I have gotten one on a number of occasions. It didn’t sound like he manufactures or designed the walking frame which was using to supper his weight during the massage. I just don’t see the target market being that big. I can tell you that the walking massage is not for everyone as it can be far too much pressure and some people have a problem with feet as well. Todd if you are out there please provide a follow-up pitch here to the readers and hopefully you can help clarify some of the questions. Thanks

Inventors: Maria Curcio and Veronica Periongo

Product: Buggy Beds (www.buggybeds.com)

Requesting: $125k for 7% stake

The Buggy Beds Detection System

The Buggy Beds Detection System

Maria and Veronica came to the Tank prepared to talk about one of the biggest outbreaks in our country today, bed bugs. They developed a patented, trademarked system of early detection of the nuisance bugs. The product incorporates a non-toxic glue inside of a plastic housing that attracts and traps the bugs for verification that the presence exists. They launched the company roughly 6 months ago and have had numerous tests conducted to validate the product. They price from $6.99-8.99 but cost only $1.35 to make (not bad). They have already booked $150l in sales with $100k of that being profit. They had been selling exclusively on Home Depots website and Burlington Coat Factory but have been expanding over the past couple months. They said they once has an offer for $5 million for the buy-out of the patents and trademarks but they declined. All the Sharks are interested and asked the ladies to step out of the room so they could discuss an offer amongst themselves. Kevin started by offering $250k for 25% with Daymond joining. Barbara then wanted to fly solo and offered a single offer of $150k for 15% but after the women couldn’t decide, she pulled the offer. Then Mark proposed a full 5 Shark offer for $250k and 25% and the offer was accepted.

Feedback: This product is addressing a very large problem that is becoming more and more prevalent in hotels and homes across the country. I am amazed at how fast their company has grown in only 6 months and yielding very good profit margins. The fact that the patent and trademark is registered in so many countries (very thorough and expensive but worth it) they were not messing around on this project. These could really be sold in so many stores (Home Depot, Lowes, Bed Bath and Beyond, grocery, convenience stores, etc,…)  in addition they could partner with all of the major hotel chains which would be huge. I am interested in knowing how the Sharks have helped the company and what the year to date revenues would be. Reviews seem to be mixed on HomeDepot so I would be interested in hearing some user feedback.

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 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 302 (re-air) November 30th

So this week was another re-air before the December 4th new holiday themed episode but, as in the previous review we are actually able to provide better feedback since time has passed since the original airing.

This weeks Sharks are: Kevin (Mr. Wonderful), Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban.

Lets get started….

Inventor: Jared Joyce

Product:  Five-Minute Furniture (www.jaredjoyce.com)

Requesting: $250k for 25% stake

Jared Joyce and the Five-Minute Furniture

Jared Joyce and the Five-Minute Furniture

Jared approached the display table in front of the Sharks and began to ask how long it normally takes to put together a standard piece of furniture with the cumbersome instructions and parts. He then said his solution was a jointed furniture system that can be assembled in under 5 minutes. He follows by demonstrating the concept by assembling a cubic box of 4 sides with a back panel and locking ring. From the Sharks expressions they appear to be somewhat impressed. When asked about sales history for the product he said “none” but that it just launched and that he has around 80 other products in the product pipeline. When asked if he will be including other products into the investment Jared said no. This was a turn off to Daymond and he bows out. Mark also follows out as he feels that too many investors have been left high and dry with Jared. Robert bows out as he states that he doesn’t trust Jared to pay him back and that paying back an investor should be top priority always. Lori then offers an interesting option she and Kevin (assuming he agrees) would split the $250k for 100% transfer of ownership and Jared is no longer involved. Basically, they want nothing to do with Jared and only want the patent to do what they wish. Jared continues to beg for royalty or less stake but the Sharks don’t budge. The result is Jared leaves without any Sharks funding.

Feedback: This one was really hard to watch to be honest because you feel for Jared because you know he is a typical innovator which I like and this product is something that could take off if partnered with a large furniture builder (Ikea, Ethan Allen, etc,..) but, the fact he had too much going on behind the scenes with the other products was a turn off. Reality is that Jared looks like more of a idea person and not a business person and he should have taken the deal and put the $250k directly behind the next new big product in the pipeline. Instead he leaves empty-handed and has to explain to his other investors what happened.

Inventor: Raven Thomas

Product: The Painted Pretzel (www.thepaintedpretzel.com)

Requesting: $100k for 25% stake

The Painted Pretzel

The Painted Pretzel

The show does a background piece on Raven and shows her with her sister and mother making various chocolate covered pretzels and snack. She begins her pitch by telling the Sharks that she came up with the idea to create chocolate-covered pretzels and started to make them with all sorts of toppings which is pretty unique to what is on the market currently. She already has a good list of accounts including Neiman Marcus and sales last year totaled $75k, $64k in pending orders but, she had unfilled orders totaling $140k. She then passed out samples to the Sharks and they all agree that they are delicious. Kevin starts out the discussion by being a bit hard on her and asking what is so unique about the product and why he couldn’t just go and pay a company the same amount of money to duplicate the Painted Pretzel. Lori asks Raven what would make someone invest in her and her company. The response is one that is heart felt but not convincing enough. Kevin is out. She tries again and says that she walked away from a $2 million dollar order from Sams Club because she didn’t have enough capital to fill the order. Now that is a good answer! Mark being aggressive jumps right in and says he owns the Maverick and Landmark Theatres and could have the Painted Pretzel sold everywhere. He offers the full asking amount if she says yes then and there. She accepts.

Feedback: Raven is a great person and passionate about her product. This once again is an example of a valid business / product not having anything proprietary but having a strong leader. I normally will side with the patented or patent-pending (at least) as a strong basis for investment but, you can see with a solid sales history and demand out pacing capacity, anyone will be drooling at the potential. I spent some time browsing the website to try and gauge the progress since the show but could not find any major details. If anyone has more information please share (Mark Cuban or Raven would be great).

Inventor: Ryan Naylor

Product: Esso Watches (www.essowatches.com: not active any longer)

Requesting: $35k for 20%

ESSO Watches (a.k.a. TAGI Watches)

ESSO Watches (a.k.a. TAGI Watches)

Ryan is pitching a silicon negative ion laden wrist watch that will help offset the amount of positive ions our bodies are encountered everyday from electronic equipment. This concept will help restore balance and vitality…. He demonstrates the watches powers by first having Lori try to balance on one leg without the watch and then after putting the watch on she does the same but now she appears to be more stable. Now for the financials he has turned a $20k investment into $120k with a pretty strong $70k in profit. Mark jumps in and says is out after stating that the whole concept is a scam and has been disproven time and time again. Lori asks if he has any independent laboratory testing data to support the claims. He doesn’t. She is out. Daymond says he owns a watch brand that has the same designs and follows out. Robert and Kevin also decline.

Feedback: I am a huge sceptic of this technology or lack there of. People have been putting ions or magnets into wrist watches, bracelets and necklaces for years and never has anyone had substantiate evidence that it works. I am honestly surprised it made it through the show Executives considering the amount of questions. Also, I tried the website http://www.essowatches.com and it appears to be a dead site. After looking on Twitter it looks like Ryan is now pushing a new brand (or re-brand called TAGI Watches). This may have been after the show aired. Having said all of that, these can probably be made through a Chinese MFG for probably $1.50-2.00/pcs meaning that if he sells them for the right price in the right markets he will still make money. There are enough people out there that think it works. Any one wish to comment please do.

Inventor: Rick Hopper

Product: ReaderREST

Requesting: $150k for 15% stake

ReadeREST by Rick Hopper

ReadeREST by Rick Hopper

Rick entered the tank but, appeared to take a clumsy stumble before reaching the display table. As he gets up he says there has never been a good product out there to address holding glasses. That is until ReadeREST came along. He shows the two-piece super strength magnetic clip that retains his specs close by. The clip can be worn by simply attaching clips to the shirt and then sliding in the glasses. He says the initial concept came from bending paper clips to form a curved clip (he had the original prototype in his pocket). He has $65k sales to date but, the entire assembly has been in his workshop and the tedious procedure of gluing magnets to metal can only go so far. He purchased the original patent from the previous owner for $5k!! He also has the trademark registered as well. Daymond is out. Robert follows. Kevin doesn’t like the companies valuation and is also out. Lori counter offers Rick $150k for 65% of the company but, assures him that she will make him a Millionaire. Mark is out and Rick asks if she would consider 49% but, as expected, she holds steady with her offer. He finally accepts.

Feedback: I love this product for a number of reasons. First, it is one of those that could be marketed everywhere because not only targets prescription glass wearers but, also anyone wearing sunglasses. Second, I love magnets in fact one of my products is surprisingly similar but also uses Neodyium Magnets (super strength magnets). Finally, Rick is a good person and much like Raven he lives his product and passionately assembles each and everyone, I can relate. I do not watch QVC or HSN but would like to hear more about the sales history since the show and whether it has made any strides in mass production.

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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MacGyver Problem Solving – Episode 1

So I was thinking about something today that I had to post to you all out there. Historically, innovation has come out of necessity with the intention of making things easier. One thing that many people dont realize is that not only is that true but most of the time, the prototype or concept for something actual was derived from some household items. This reminded me of the classic television show MacGyver where the lead character always found himself in a strange predicament that he had to utilize what he had on his person to solve or get out of. So I have decided to start a post that will challenge the readers to come up with a solution to a problem with the list of things provided below.

Scenario: Imagine you are stuck alone in an elevator 80 floors up in a highrise skyscraper and the power has caused the elevator to stop in between floors.

Challenge: You will be required to exit the elevator and safely make it to one of the floors above or below.

Conditions: No cellpone signal, power has also tripped the emergency alarm and phone from functioning, elevator is a cable supported type, there is no light and you are without any food or water.

Tools: You have on you the following items; cellphone, digital wrist watch, metal ballpoint pen, notebook, backpack with nylon straps, laptop computer, Swiss Army knife.

I urge you all to be as creative as possible and please reply with your solutions.

Image

Thanks

Sean Yakeley

New Product Development

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RIP Steve Jobs

To say that the world has lost one it’s most inspirational and innovative minds in the history of mankind would be an understatement. I remember when Apple introduced the iMac 1998, it was so different from anything else on the market in terms of a PC. Then, in 2001 the iPod was released and revolutionize how we listen to music. It started the tech wave that made owning anything by Apple a lifestyle decision. Those who had the iPod were cool and it evoked an image of being up with the times. Year after year Steve Jobs led Apple to create industry leading innovations. Just think about the PC itself or the mouse, both were creations of Jobs.

When I decided to start my own company I was inspired by the words of Steve Jobs…

“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

– Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Address (2005)

I feel honored to have lived in the era of Steve Jobs and I will continue to pursue my dreams as he has. You will be sincerely missed. Rest in Peace.

Steve Job (1955-2011)

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