In the world of innovative technology, few products have made quite as much of a splash as QBall. Introduced on the entrepreneurial reality show Shark Tank, this throwable wireless microphone quickly caught the attention of viewers and investors alike. Designed by Shane Cox, QBall was conceived with the aim of fostering better communication in classrooms, meetings, conferences, and other group settings.
The product’s unique blend of technology and simplicity struck a chord with the Sharks and the audience at home. But what happened to QBall after its high-profile debut? Did it manage to capitalize on its initial success, or did it fade into obscurity like so many other promising ideas?
This article delves into the journey of QBall post-Shark Tank, exploring its triumphs, challenges, and evolution. We’ll examine how the product has fared in the market, the obstacles it faced, and how it overcame them. We’ll also take a look at the current status of the company and what the future holds for this innovative product. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an educator, a Shark Tank fan, or simply someone interested in new technology, join us as we explore the fascinating story of QBall.
What Is QBall?
The QBall was created with the intention of making sure everyone in a room is heard clearly and loudly, regardless of their position. This throwable, wireless microphone is designed to improve classroom learning, meetings, and presentations by encouraging active participation and ensuring clear audio.
One of the main advantages of the QBall is its interactive design. The concept of a throwable microphone makes communication more engaging and fun, especially in classroom or workshop settings. It encourages participation, as it physically involves the speaker in the process. The novelty of the product can also break the ice in more formal settings, making it easier for individuals to speak up.
The QBall operates on a 2.4 GHz frequency and has a range of up to 75 feet, according to customer reviews on Amazon . This is sufficient for most classrooms or conference rooms, allowing the ball to be thrown across the space without losing connection to the sound system.
Moreover, the foam casing of the QBall provides some protection to the microphone inside, allowing it to be tossed around without fear of damage. This is particularly useful in settings with children or where there’s a high chance of accidental drops.
Despite its innovative design, the QBall does have some drawbacks. Some users claim QBall has bad sound quality. The nature of the product, being tossed around, could potentially affect the clarity of the audio, especially if the speaker is moving or if the ball is caught awkwardly.
Furthermore, despite the foam casing, there are concerns about the durability of the product. The same review mentioned that the QBall is not as soft as expected, suggesting that it could potentially cause damage if dropped from a significant height or thrown with too much force.
Another potential downside is the target market for the QBall. As discussed in a Shark Tank review on YouTube, while the product has an innovative solution for shareable microphones, it may not be targeting the best market for its invention. There might be limited use in professional settings where a traditional handheld microphone is more appropriate.
Who Could Use QBall:
- Educators: Teachers can use the QBall to ensure all students are heard during class discussions. It can encourage shy students to participate and make the learning process more interactive and fun;
- Conference Speakers: During Q&A sessions, speakers can throw the QBall into the audience, making the process smoother and more engaging than passing around a traditional microphone;
- Corporate Trainers: In workshops or team-building exercises, trainers can use the QBall to facilitate communication and participation;
- Event Organizers: At large gatherings, like town halls or community meetings, organizers can use the QBall to easily field questions from the audience;
- Youth Group Leaders: The QBall can make meetings more interactive, helping to break the ice and engage members in discussion;
- Coaches: In team meetings, a coach can use the QBall to ensure all members get a chance to speak and be heard clearly ;
About the Founders Of QBall
In an effort to encourage students to vocalize their thoughts, some educators relied on the age-old talking stick, while others distributed delicate and unwieldy microphones. As a youngster who often chose to occupy the back row of the classroom, Cox himself grappled with the frustration of not being able to clearly hear and comprehend his peers.
The interactive marvel, QBall, was conceived as a playful and captivating solution to dismantle this communication barrier for students.
Taking the initial prototype created via a 3D printer to the mass-production stage was made possible through the generous support of benevolent IndieGoGo backers. In a successful IndieGoGo campaign launched in October 2015, Cox and two companions rallied a remarkable $ 46,895 to bring the QBall to life.
The Pitch Of QBall At Shark Tank
Shane Cox made a memorable entrance onto the stage, sporting a vibrant turquoise shirt paired with khaki shorts and knee-high socks. With a whistle hanging around his neck, he introduced himself to the Sharks and revealed that he hailed from Raleigh, North Carolina. His purpose on the Shark Tank was to secure a $ 200,000 investment in his company, QBall, in exchange for a 15% equity stake .
Displaying his brainchild, Shane showcased a soccer ball-sized blue sphere with a hole on top, but he emphasized that it was no ordinary ball. It was, in fact, a wireless microphone cleverly disguised as a playful tool. The Sharks appeared genuinely intrigued by this innovative concept.
Shane continued his pitch by explaining that the QBall provided a fun and interactive way to engage with others. It could be tossed, rolled, and even used for a dramatic mic drop. Shane stressed that the QBall was an invaluable addition to any classroom, making learning enjoyable and interactive while simplifying classroom discussions. Above all, it ensured that every student’s voice was heard loud and clear.
Highlighting its versatility, Shane mentioned that the QBall was not limited to classrooms alone; it could also be used at events where audience questions often went unheard. He assured the Sharks that it was user-friendly and compatible with both desktop speakers and full audio systems. To conclude his presentation, Shane invited the Sharks to join in the game and asked who among them was ready to jump on board with his invention.
As he wrapped up, Shane lifted the QBall as if preparing to throw it. Mark and Lori eagerly raised their hands, but Shane acknowledged Mark as the first to express interest. With a toss, the ball landed in Mark Cuban’s hands, who promptly tested its microphone function. Meanwhile, Rohan, the guest Shark of the day, inquired about the ball’s connectivity. Shane explained that a small receiver connected the ball to the audio, which then required speakers for sound projection.
Lori, renowned for her success on QVC, expressed interest in obtaining a sample. Shane regretfully informed her that Mark held the only operational unit, but he offered her a feel of the product by tossing her another one, which she deftly caught. Robert sought to understand the primary market for the QBall, and as he posed his question, the remaining Sharks on stage each received a sample.
Shane clarified that the main application was in the classroom, citing studies on classroom acoustics. Inadequate sound coverage could lead to students missing every third word, creating learning gaps.
Rohan inquired about the price, and Shane disclosed that it retailed at $ 179, with a production cost of $ 52 . Mark wanted to know about the sales figures to date, and Shane proudly revealed $ 177,000 in sales. This revelation left the Sharks visibly impressed. Robert sought clarification if all the sales were to schools, and Shane shared that 90% of his sales were to educational institutions, with the remaining customers being public speakers and research groups. Shane explained that he operated alone and attended trade shows personally.
Lori queried him about a patent, and Shane revealed a pending patent for the feature that allowed the ball to be thrown without triggering noise. Sensors within the ball detected when it was in motion and put it to sleep, a feature deemed clever by Mark. Robert expressed interest in the idea but questioned its viability and the challenge of selling to a broad market like California without individually approaching each school.
Shane explained that a significant portion of his market consisted of teachers who eagerly adopted the product as a classroom tool. Teachers liked being seen as tech-savvy educators and often purchased the QBall themselves. Once in one classroom, it tended to gain traction across the entire school. Mark acknowledged Shane’s efforts but pointed out the challenge of scaling the business in the coming years, expecting to hear Shane’s plans for growth. Shane projected sales of $ 650,000 by year-end.
The Sharks found this projection ambitious and asked for clarification on how Shane intended to achieve it, especially since he had sold $ 177,000 in the first half of the year. Shane explained that schools typically bought one or two units for testing and, if satisfied, made bulk orders. Barbara inquired about repeat orders, and Shane clarified that while teachers didn’t reorder, principals often contacted him for bulk purchases.
Robert, with his background in global cybersecurity, appreciated the difficulties of selling to government and educational institutions but expressed concerns about the extended timeline for returns on investment. He decided to opt-out. Mark inquired about the use of the investment, and Shane disclosed his plan to use it for inventory since he struggled to maintain consistent stock due to high demand.
Lori wondered if the QBall was compatible with Polycom, to which Shane confirmed it was compatible as it simply required an audio output . Lori expressed her frustration with conference calls where participants didn’t position themselves near the Polycom, seeing Shane’s product as a solution to this common issue. Mark inquired about corporate sales, but Shane admitted he hadn’t focused on that market, believing schools held more promise.
Amidst a chorus of voices, the Sharks collectively suggested that the corporate world could be a more accessible market. Shane acknowledged the multitude of potential applications but expressed concerns about spreading himself too thin. Lori, clearly impressed, wanted to make an offer and sought a partner among the other Sharks.
Both Mark and Rohan volunteered, creating an unprecedented partnership with three Sharks interested in the deal. They huddled to discuss their offer, ultimately proposing $ 300,000 in exchange for 30% equity.
Shane took a moment to contemplate the offer. Rohan reassured him of the value they could bring to scale his vision. Barbara asked if Shane was open to other offers, and he expressed his admiration for her but decided to accept the unique joint offer from Lori, Mark, and Rohan.
QBall After The Shark Tank
As Shane prepared to leave the stage, a wave of congratulations and enthusiasm from the Sharks followed. Hugs were exchanged, hands were shaken, and each Shark voiced their belief that the QBall was precisely what their businesses needed. Rohan expressed immediate interest in acquiring 30 QBalls, and Mark Cuban suggested branding them with his personal businesses.
Back in the Shark Tank, Robert playfully teased Rohan, suggesting that he knew exactly why Lori and Mark were so eager to get their hands on QBalls – to turn them into a drink! Rohan responded with a good-natured retort, implying that Robert’s early exit limited his perspective on the full potential of the business. He stressed that he saw a much larger and more diverse picture.
Meanwhile, viewers of the episode took to social media to share their real-time reactions to the QBall, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Teachers expressed their eagerness to use it with their students, and one individual even suggested that it could be a valuable play therapy tool for both children and adults.
The company continued to make its presence known at conferences and trade shows, capitalizing on the exposure gained from the Shark Tank appearance. In a bid to reach out to educators, they even ran a special promotion offering discounted QBalls to teachers following the episode’s broadcast.
The Net Worth Of QBall
Alternatives To QBall:
- Catchbox: Catchbox is a throwable microphone designed for audience engagement. It’s a soft, cube-shaped microphone that can be tossed from person to person to facilitate discussions and Q&A sessions;
- Wireless Lapel Microphones: Lapel microphones, also known as lavalier microphones, are small and discreet. They can be clipped onto clothing and offer hands-free operation, making them suitable for presentations and lectures;
- Handheld Wireless Microphones: Handheld microphones are a common choice for events and presentations. They provide a stable and clear audio source when held by a speaker;
- Tabletop Microphones: Tabletop microphones are designed to be placed on a table or podium. They pick up audio from multiple directions and are often used in conference rooms and meeting settings;
- Bluetooth Speakerphones: Bluetooth speakerphones are portable devices that combine a microphone and speaker. They are designed for conference calls and small meetings;
- Conference Room Audio Systems: If you need a more comprehensive solution for larger conference rooms, you can consider installing conference room audio systems that include multiple microphones, speakers, and audio processing capabilities;
- Interactive Whiteboard Systems: Some interactive whiteboard systems come with built-in microphones and speakers, making them suitable for both presentations and interactive lessons;
- Web Conferencing Solutions: Many web conferencing platforms, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, offer built-in audio features that allow participants to speak and interact without the need for additional microphones;
- Voice Amplifiers: Voice amplifiers are portable devices that can be worn by the speaker. They are ideal for teachers and tour guides who need to project their voice in noisy environments;
- DIY Solutions: In some cases, you can create DIY microphone alternatives using readily available materials, such as a smartphone with a recording app and a small external microphone;
- What is QBall used for?
QBall is a throwable wireless microphone designed to facilitate communication in group settings. It’s particularly useful in classrooms, meetings, and presentations to encourage active participation and ensure everyone is heard clearly. The QBall can also be used in morning meetings to build social-emotional skills and classroom community sources.
- Is QBall still in business?
In the two years following its debut on air, the company achieved an impressive milestone by generating $ 3.9 million in sales. As of December 2022, the company is not only still in business but also maintains a consistent annual revenue of $ 1 million .
- How does the QBall work?
The QBall works by integrating a wireless microphone into a foam ball. When you throw the QBall to someone, they can speak into the microphone and be heard clearly, even at a distance.
- Who can use the QBall?
The QBall is versatile and can be used by educators, conference speakers, corporate trainers, event organizers, youth group leaders, and coaches, among others.
- Is the QBall suitable for outdoor use?
The QBall is primarily designed for indoor use in relatively quiet environments. Its performance may be compromised in noisy or outdoor settings.
- How durable is the QBall?
The QBall is encased in a durable foam shell that protects the internal microphone from damage when thrown or dropped.
- How should I clean my QBall?
You can clean your QBall with a damp cloth and mild soap. Avoid getting the microphone wet or using harsh cleaning products.
- How far can the QBall be thrown?
The QBall is designed to cover a medium to large room such as a classroom or conference room. The operating range is up to 75 feet .
- How long does the QBall’s battery last?
The product boasts several noteworthy features:
- All-Day Battery Life: With a battery that lasts for over 12 hours, it ensures uninterrupted use throughout the day;
- Quiet-Toss Automatic Mute Technology: It incorporates a feature that automatically mutes the device when it’s in motion, ensuring that unintended noise is eliminated during tossing or movement;
- Hush Mode: Hush mode allows users to manually mute the device when needed, providing additional control over audio output;
- Where can I buy QBall products?
You can purchase a QBall through the company’s official website or authorized retailers.
- What is the size of QBall?
Here are the specifications for the device:
- Dimensions: 3.8 inches x 3.8 inches x 1.1 inches;
- Weight: 3.1 ounces;
- Operating Frequency: 2.4GHz ISM Band (2.400-2.485 GHz) ;
- Who designed the QBall from Shark Tank?
The QBall was designed by Shane Cox, as stated on the company’s website source.
- What are the features of QBall from Shark Tank?
The QBall is a wireless, throwable microphone wrapped in durable foam. It’s designed to facilitate communication in group settings and can be used in conjunction with platforms like Zoom source.
- Who is the richest “shark”?
The richest shark on Shark Tank is typically considered to be Mark Cuban, although the provided context does not include specific information about the sharks’ net worth.
Useful Video: The Sharks Play Catch With QBall