BearTek entered the Shark Tank in Season 7 debuting their gloves that can wirelessly control your smartphone and GoPro.
The product is available on Amazon and retailers like Cabela’s and Eastern Mountain Sports. They hope to one day be found in such stores as L.L. Bean, Brookstone and Hammacher Schlemmer. In conjunction with their Tank appearance, they launched an Indiegogo campaign which has already raised over $40,000.
We interviewed creator Willie Blount and CEO Tarik Rodgers who spoke about the beginnings of the company, their reality show appearance and future plans. Here’s what they told us about…
How the Idea For the Company Came About
Willie: The idea of gloves which control remote devices came in the summer of 2009 when I, while riding my motorcycle, realized the difficulty and danger of trying to control the music from my smartphone while riding. Existing problems solved the problem, but I felt they weren’t the best possible solution, so I defined that solution and developed BearTek Gloves.
Creating the 1st Prototype
Willie: There were several versions of the prototype before we arrived at any with even the least visual appeal. That process took several months to build the very first somewhat workable prototype which used speaker wire, an old glove, glue, customized programming on a development board, and various other odds and ends. It took longest to digest the thick manual and learn the programming for the custom software I had to utilize. The research included finding out of such a product existed, a million Google searches, several types of software evaluations and market research to see if this product might even be viable.
Sales So Far
Tarik: Our sales have been about 2000 units to date. Limited marketing budget to explain the product and benefits has been a challenge, but even more is the fact that our operations are based in Dallas, Texas, where there isn’t much need for gloves. Now that those in the Rockies, Midwest, and the Northeast will see a 10-to-15 minute commercial about BearTek, the real proof of large scale sales viability will be huge.
Deciding to Try Out for the ‘Tank’
Tarik: After having hundreds of thousands of people say this product should be on Shark Tank and us constantly ignoring it as a fantasy opportunity, we finally thought we had built up a company and traction worth pitching on national television. Two of our team members and two interns decided to drive from Dallas down to an open call at Rice University in Houston. After we got the call back, we realized that the best story would be to have the two cousins that invented the product and the other that helped get the company off the ground do the pitch to the Sharks, so the presenting team did change a bit. It really couldn’t have come at a better time as creeping along was starting to feel like death by a 1,000 paper cuts. Getting in front of the millions of viewers is going to give us an amazing injection at BearTek.