The entrepreneurial spirit in America is through the roof right now thanks to Shark Tank which inspired more people to make products no one has seen yet. A major problem with that, however, is the tendency to rush products to the market without properly beta-testing them, so that it does not lead to embarrassing recalls later.
A few products the sharks invested in ended up having some problems with this arena, but one really stands out now. If you remember back to Season 5, you'll remember a man named Charles Michael Yim who made up a breathable product that you could link to your smartphone.
It was designed to hail a cab by pressing a button if you had too much alcohol.
At that time, it looked new and useful. While the sharks are biting on it, the product has since seen problems through the FTC.
Were the sharks deep in the first lane?
Go back in time to 2013 when Shark Tank was in his fifth season. You will probably remember the infamous path of Yim to the shark team about this breathing band called BreathOmeter.
Yim's pitch seemed convincing at the time, not including the immediate attention of the famous investors.
They were immediately sold on it and ended up making a group investment as a show first. Whatever the reason, they did not stop to question whether the technology would really make the breathing apparatus give truly accurate results.
Not that the product was merely intended to test one's alcohol level. There was also technical effort to determine if a person's breathing has too many volatile sulfur compounds.
Originally, the company made $ 5 million, but the FTC requested a recall in 2017, including asking the company to offer a refund to someone who purchased the device.
All this was the result of a settlement the company was working with the FTC. While Mark Cuban led the company, he has since looked back in disdain on the pitch and the execution behind getting it out to consumers.
How much regret do the sharks have for taking on the product?
Not long ago Shark Tank shot a video looking back at their favorite tracks over the past decade. Many of the sites they remembered ended up earning a lot of money from the sharks and company owners.
BreathOmeter somehow ended up on their most memorable list. It seems that the hain reminder video was made after the FTC failure, without anyone mentioning the reimbursements ordered.
Many fans of the show today wonder why the sharks jumped on the product so quickly without further testing. Even the FTC issued warnings to all entrepreneurs posting similar products.
Adequate testing was never done, plus the company did not immediately take action on the product after being called out.
However, the company is not dead. Since it still has the support of the famous sharks, it will focus on the poor oral hygiene aspect, which they call Mint.
Do sharks play more risk by taking on tech products?
Mark Cuban and his fellow sharks have scoped out the BreathOmeter as having poor performance. In any case, Cubans know a lot about technology and how to make similar products successful.
In this case, there was a slight bump in the road the company is now likely to smooth over. What about future products that apparently can't miss potential?
When a product could literally save lives, it is easy to get wrapped up in a compelling pitch, thus perhaps investing a little too soon.
The sharks are usually very observant to the market and any problems that arise in line. There is always a chance that they may be fooled again and end up wearing a product that proves dangerous to the public when it is supposed to be helpful.
As sharp as the sharks are what consumers need in the way of products, the excitement of something big has already proven to bring a blind eye to potential overlooked pitfalls.