Heavy interviewed CEO Yashar Behzadi and CMO Greg Moon, who worked together at a health-tech-wearables company before going into business together.
Here’s what they told us about…
How the Idea For the Company Came About
We had two key insights. The first was that the process of retrieving information from your Smartphone could be tons more efficient. The typical person unlocks their phone 150 times a day, then swipes and rummages around to find pieces of information buried in apps. We figured we could make this process a lot more streamlined by doing this work for the user instead. The second epiphany was that the back of the phone — massive, unclaimed real estate, carried around by everybody — offers zero value to the user. We combined these two insights and popSLATE was born.
How It Works
popSLATE puts the back of the phone to work to dramatically extend the smartphone experience. The platform consists of a shatter-proof e-ink screen embedded in a protective case, connected to apps and content on your phone. E-ink is what’s used in a Kindle, and this type of display is so low power, it can stay on 24/7. This is what opens up the ‘always-on’ use model, where you now have the information you need available at a glance, so, news and sports scores, a dashboard of you favorite info, your latest e-book, your daily schedule, a designer clock, without having to unlock your phone.
Experience With Indiegogo
Our March campaign for popSLATE 2 was our second time around on Indiegogo, so we obviously like the platform and the team behind it a lot. Indiegogo has been a consistently great experience for us. Most people think that you go there for the money or the global promotion — both great perks — but the real value is the opportunity to stay close to and learn from our users. Insights from backers are like gold, since they typically love and want to foster innovation, and they are also very invested in your success. The result is thoughtful and enthusiastic input that helps shape the product from an early stage, which is especially important when creating a new category of product.
Their Appearance on the ‘Tank”
We have always had a lot of respect for the Sharks, and being on the show is like the Holy Grail for an early-stage company. Thousands of companies apply each season, and we were very motivated to make it on the show. The innovative nature of our product evidently caught their eye. Once we made the initial cut, the Shark Tank producers were great at helping us walk through the process. We were thrilled to be selected for filming, and hitting the air this week is very exciting.
Plans for the Future
Since the show, we have grown the business tremendously. We just launched our second-gen product, popSLATE 2 and did over $1 million in pre-sales in March. The product expands the platform considerably, with a sleeker design, ability to charge the iPhone on the fly, and tons of new software features. Our business roadmap is ambitious, based upon all the things you can do if you ‘own’ the back of the phone. Effectively, we have created a 24/7 connection to the consumer, so you can imagine some very interesting things around content delivery, location-based services, and more. We are already executing on these opportunities, and the launch of popSLATE 2 has catalyzed a great pipeline of partnering opportunities.