Peter Solimine is an entrepreneur who took his company Beulr to the sharks on “Shark Tank” to see if he could get one of the sharks to invest in his company during the November 5, 2021 episode of the hit ABC show.
The episode synopsis revealed, “a tech savvy entrepreneur from New Rochelle, New York, pitches his business idea which provides an unconventional way to avoid early morning meetings…”
The entrepreneur pitched his company to OG sharks Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec and Daymond John.
Here’s what you need to know about Beulr on “Shark Tank:”
1. Peter Solimine Started Beulr so He Could Go to His 8am Class Later
Peter Solimine realized something while he was a student at Tulane University. Those 8am classes are brutal — something generations of students have known for decades. Now, put that 8am class on Zoom because it is the pandemic and it seems even more futile. He knew there was little chance he’d be called on to participate in the class, he told Heavy in an interview.
If only he could record the class and watch it later in the day when he was fully awake and ready to take the information in. That’s when Beulr — named for “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off” was born. Solimine created a bot that would log into Zoom classes and/or meetings him. He could then watch his class later in the day at 2 times the speed to get through it faster. He was maximizing his time.
Solimine installed the bot on a few friends’ computers and shared it in a group chat. Two weeks later, Beulr had 11,000 users. So he built a public facing website to share Beulr with the world.
2. He Lost an Internship at Goldman Sachs Because of Beulr
Solimine was set to begin a summer internship at Goldman Sachs when the Wall Street Journal got in touch with him to interview him about Beulr. The WSJ wrote that Solimine “used it to sleep through his 8 and 9:30 a.m. computer science classes, large lectures where there was little risk his professors would call on him. He would watch the recorded sessions later in the day.”
Solimine told Goldman Sachs about the article and they rescinded his internship. Solimine quickly found another five-week internship at a bank and took Beulr’s website offline during the internship, he told Heavy in an interview.
He realized during his internship that he didn’t want to work in a bank, so he dropped out of Tulane to focus on Beulr. He maxed out his credit cards on server fees for Beulr and moved in with his parents. Eventually he took a software engineer job in San Francisco where he earned good money and learned about startups. He left that job after six months when he raised pre-seed money for Beulr.
3. People Try to Hack Beulr’s Tools
An interesting phenomena started happening when Beulr had a larger user base, Solimine revealed to Heavy. “People started hacking Beulr to create new uses for the bots. We shut that down quickly, but truthfully, it’s given us ideas of ways to grow Beulr,” he said.
According to Beulr’s website, the company will soon launch the option to have Beulr record and transcribe the user’s class or meeting. It will also introduce a looping video for classes and meetings that require your camera to be on.
Additionally, Beulr is introducing a feature where, if the class or meeting ends early, the bot will be trigged to leave when 80% of the attendees have exited the meeting. The idea behind that is that that will tell the bot the meeting is over even if the host hasn’t exited it yet.
4. Putting His Team Together Was a Challenge
One of the biggest challenges Solimine faced in building Beulr was putting together his team. He told Heavy, “I am by far the least qualified guy in the room so I try to focus on the team and attracting the best talent, that’s what I can contribute.”
He also said building Beulr’s team was both challenging and fascinating. He tends to go out and try and find people who have even better opportunities and then sets out to convince them that working on his project is better, more fun, more interesting and has more potential.
“My job is continually hiring people more qualified that I am, Solimine said. “I’ve definitely got a bit of imposter syndrome and am just making it up as I go along. Earlier, I didn’t understand the value of building a team.”
5. He Did Not Prepare a Pitch for ‘Shark Tank’
Each entrepreneur that enters the “Shark Tank” has a different approach to their pitch. Some practice their pitch endlessly until it is embedded in their minds. Others memorize an outline to make sure they hit key points but allow for a bit of improvisation.
Solimine did not prepare any sort of pitch for “Shark Tank.” He decided to just walk in and wing it. “I was curious to see the reactions to my product. I didn’t know which shark to target or what to expect from them,” he said. He also said the sharks seemed to love his lighthearted approach.
Solimine’s overall experience on “Shark Tank” was awesome. “I’ve been watching the show since I was 13 or 14 and thought it the only way to be successful in business was to appear on ‘Shark Tank,'” he said. He also said it was an out of body experience and he was grateful and soaked up every second of it. “I can’t believe this is happening. I feel like I’ll wake up any second and it will all have been a dream, Solimine said.