Entertainment

App-Controlled Lightbulbs Enter the ‘Shark Tank’: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Shark Tank welcomed Corey Egan and Swapnil Bora to the program on April 18. The Dallas classmates-turned-business-partners shed light on their progressive bulb invention and their company, ilumi.

They asked for $350,000 from the sharks for 15 percent ownership. “Your money gets our products into customers’ hands,” Egan told the judges, explaining that they are now in the “final stages of development.”

The investors were taken aback when they heard the cost- $289 for a 3 pack. “I’m concerned with some of your competition out there,” added Lori Greiner.

Mark Cuban offered $350,00 for 25 percent. He then backed out after seeing Egan’s hesitation, but then gave the boys a second chance. “Mark would be willing to meet in the middle at 20 percent..?” Egan asked.

“I’m gonna stick to the 25 guys, because you know I can bring a huge amount of value,” Cuban answered.
In the end, the young entrepreneurs were convinced and took Cuban up on his offer.

We interviewed Egan, the CEO, in anticipation of their appearance on the reality show. Here’s what you need to know.


1. They Were Classmates at UT Dallas

The co-creators met at the Texas university in their Naveen Jindal School of Management as they were earning their master’s degrees.

Egan earned his MBA in marketing with a focus on product development, and Bora is studying finance and strategy.

Their alma mater proudly tweeted this:

Egan said of their initial business idea:

You could say it was a light bulb moment, but it was really just an understanding of where both LED lighting and mobility were going.

He added, “We realized that lighting is everywhere yet really basic and underutilized in terms of what it could do.”


2. Egan Was Last in Line at the ‘Shark Tank’ Audition

MARK CUBAN, ilumi shark tank, shark tank lightbulbs, BARBARA CORCORAN, KEVIN O'LEARY, LORI GRENIER, ROBERT HERJAVEC

MARK CUBAN, BARBARA CORCORAN, KEVIN O’LEARY, LORI GRENIER, ROBERT HERJAVEC. (ABC/Michael Ansell)

The reality star hopeful went to the show’s open auditions in April of 2013. As fate would have it, he was the last on the line of potential contestants. It didn’t seem to hurt his chances.

“I was one of the last in line and brought a couple of ilumi with me and right away you could tell the producer just got what we were doing,” he said of his instant success.

When he taped the show, Egan admitted that he was excited, but also a bit nervous. He said, “We are used to talking about ilumi as much as we can, but doing it though in front of 5 very successful individuals with cameras watching was a bit different.”

3. You Can Control Their Bulbs Through a Free App

Ilumi is like a regular light bulb since it screws into a normal socket.

However, through the Ilumi app, you can control your lights remotely and tune the color and brightness.

Egan explained how it works:

Every ilumi has Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) built inside, so the app works directly with your mobile device to send out commands via BLE to ilumi. The ilumi themselves also talk to each other creating a mesh network that extends the range.

According to the company’s press release, their bulb is seven times more energy efficient than a regular light bulb and will endure for 20 years.

What makes it simple is the fact that its eliminates the need for a hub or router. “It’s plug and play so very easy to use,” he continued.


4. They Raised Money on Kickstarter

They launched the campaign to garner funds in September of 2013. After only two days, they raised $16,134 of their overall $25,000 goal.

On their Kickstarter page, it details that they already have 1,013 backers pledging $145,000.


5. Their Goal Is to ‘Make Simple Things Smart’

iLumi, ilumi on tv, shark tank contestants april 18, april 18 shark tank

(ilumi)

It is an exciting time for the growing company. Next week, they’ll begin to ship out the bulbs to their first backers.

Showcasing their invention on national television will only help them expand.

Egan said, “We are already anticipating a lot of growth as Ilumi begins to get on the market. Shark Tank is just going to help fuel that.”

As for their future plans, Egan said, “We see opportunity all around us to make simple things smart. Light is just the beginning.”

It was literally the beginning for Egan as well, as it says on his bio that his first word was “light.”

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