Plano-based startup iLumi hit the big time on ABC’s Shark Tank this past Friday night.
Founders Corey Egan and Swapnil Bora squared off against the sharks as they pitched their bluetooth-enabled smart lightbulbs, initially asking for $350,000 in exchange for 15% equity in the company.
The iLumi bulb can do some pretty cool stuff like adjust colors/hues, sync to the rhythm of music, and turn of/off as you move to different rooms of your house. It makes for a neat demo and it certainly got the sharks’ attention.
Robert Herjavec was the first to make an offer, extending the full $350k but in exchange for 35% equity. Cuban countered quickly with the full amount asked but at 25% equity.
In typical Shark Tank style, the Cuban offer was on the clock and iLumi didn’t pull the trigger fast enough, resulting in Cuban withdrawing the offer.
Uncle Kevin threw everyone for a loop when offered all the money for NO equity, but rather a 15% royalty on any licensing deals. This led to Herjavec backing out, and Cuban coming back in at his original offer.
Egan and Bora didn’t seem to really consider O’Leary’s offer and asked Cuban to come down to 20%. After Cuban held strong at 25% the founders didn’t want to risk losing the deal a 2nd time and accepted Cuban’s offer.
The company has already raised over $200,000 via crowdfunding campaigns and is set to start shipping its first units out soon. The new infusion of cash will help the company grow and continue to deliver its product to consumers.
We caught up with Corey to get some additional details on the experience:
What was the experience like? What surprised you the most?
The experience was surreal. We are pretty comfortable speaking about ilumi, but being ‘INSIDE’ one of my favorite TV shows was a bit surreal. The biggest surprise was how fast and scattered the interaction with the Sharks was. It was definitely a firing squad. I can see why so many entrepreneurs look distracted and frazzled, and am glad we played it cool – at least on the outside.
How do you plan on using the investment?
We’ve already started putting the funds to work. We’ve already made 3 hires with the funds to help accelerate us forward. It will also help to cover some expenses in standing up manufacturing.
Any advice for other DFW founders looking to do Shark Tank?
It’s a wild card so treat it as such. Understand the risk and the potential gain. It does take time and can be a distraction from your real goals of building a business if you let it. Ultimately as it is for us, it can be a huge help to attract an amazing partner, aka Mark Cuban, and gain exposure. If you make it to the filming stage, be prepared and then go prepare some more. Regardless of the investment outcome, you don’t want yourself or your company to look like a idiot on national TV.
Here is the full espisode:
* image courtesy of ABC