ZOMM, once touted as a revolutionary product for its innovative features, made a memorable appearance on Shark Tank, hoping to secure investment and scale their business. The company created a unique device that acted as an alarm for your phone, a hands-free calling tool, and an emergency dialer.
Despite the initial buzz, the journey after the pitch didn’t go as planned. This article delves into the story of ZOMM, exploring what happened to the company following their Shark Tank pitch, the challenges they faced, and the lessons entrepreneurs can learn from their experience.
What Is ZOMM?
Approximately the dimensions of a diminutive stack of poker chips and tipping the scales at a mere one-quarter of an ounce, the Zomm can conveniently and inconspicuously attach itself to a keychain.
Once it’s paired with your mobile phone, it emits a warning signal, initially vibrating, then flashing, and ultimately resounding loudly whenever it severs the Bluetooth connection (typically around a distance of 30 feet).
In practical terms, the Zomm ensures that you won’t leave your phone behind at home, the workplace, or any other location where you might inadvertently abandon it. You won’t take a dozen strides before encountering a reminder through your senses of touch, vision, and/or hearing.
The flip side, naturally, is that unless your keys accompany you and your phone everywhere, you might experience potentially unwelcome alerts. While not a dealbreaker, a single press of the Zomm’s sole function button can deactivate an alarm, but it could be vexing.
The Zomm’s speakerphone capabilities are roughly equivalent to those of an iPhone . The primary advantage lies in the ability to answer a call with a simple button press, eliminating the need to fumble around in pockets or purses to retrieve your phone. Another button press transfers the call to your handset, making it highly convenient.
The only drawback with these functions, and a few others, is the challenge of recalling how to activate them. Because the Zomm features only one control, its prominent “Z” button, you must commit to memory when to press it, how many times, when to hold it down, and even when to release it. It can be perplexing.
For instance, to utilize the emergency call feature, you must press and hold the button until the panic alarm initiates, and then maintain the hold until it ceases. This is in contrast to employing the panic alarm on its own, in which case you release the button after the alarm initiates. In the chaos of a genuine emergency, could you remember all these intricacies?
Zomm is an elegant, diminutive device that is guaranteed to aid those prone to forgetfulness in overcoming their propensity to misplace their phones. It might seem a bit pricey at $ 79.99, but it’s likely to be a more economical option than replacing a lost phone.
How Does It Work?
But there’s more to the ZOMM than meets the eye. It comes equipped with a speaker and a noise-canceling microphone, making it a practical hands-free device. You can answer incoming calls with a single press of the central Z button or send them to voicemail with a double press. During an active call, one press of the Z button shifts the call to your mobile phone, while two presses will end the call.
You have the flexibility to customize the emergency number and other settings like the “leash length” using the included software, which connects your ZOMM to a PC or Mac via the provided USB cable. The ZOMM’s battery is designed to last for approximately 3 days, and an AC adapter, which can be connected via USB, is also included in the package.
How To Set It Up?
Setting up the ZOMM Wireless Leash involves a series of steps, from creating an account to pairing the device with your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.
Here’s a breakdown of the setup process:
1) Create an Account at My.ZOMM.com:
- Go to My.ZOMM.com and create an account;
- During this process, you can name your ZOMM device, set the desired distance range for the alarm trigger (e.g., “short” for around 30 feet or “long” for 120 feet), customize alert tones and volume, and enter an emergency contact number (default is 911);
2) Pair the Leash with Your Mobile Device:
- To establish the Bluetooth connection between your ZOMM device and your iPhone, iPod, or iPad, you need to initiate the pairing process;
- Ensure that your mobile device’s Bluetooth is enabled;
3) Download the MyZOMM App:
Visit the App Store and download the free MyZOMM app, which serves as the primary control hub for your ZOMM device.
4) Configure Settings through the MyZOMM App:
- Using the MyZOMM app, you can access and customize various settings and features;
- You can sound the alarm through your app, useful if you’re using the device as a locator;
- You have the option to geotag specific locations or items (e.g., your car) to help you remember their whereabouts;
- The app also allows you to configure emergency call settings ;
During the setup process, it’s important to pay attention to the specific instructions provided for various functions. However, as you mentioned, some instructions may appear unclear or repetitive. For example, the instructions for sounding the emergency alarm can be a bit confusing. The device may register a command to pair another handset similarly to sounding the alarm.
In such cases, it’s essential to carefully follow the instructions and potentially contact ZOMM’s customer support for clarification if you encounter any difficulties. It’s also worth referring to the user manual or support documentation provided by ZOMM to ensure the proper operation of the device and app.
- Innovative Concept: ZOMM is built on a simple yet innovative concept. It’s a small, keychain-sized device that pairs with your phone via Bluetooth. When you move a certain distance away from your phone, ZOMM starts vibrating, flashing, and making an alarm sound. This feature is especially useful for people who often forget their phones in public places;
- Emergency Assistance: With its panic button, ZOMM can also serve as a personal safety device. By pressing the button, the device will dial for emergency assistance, potentially a lifesaver in dangerous situations;
- Hands-free Device: ZOMM also functions as a hands-free speakerphone. When you receive a call, ZOMM will vibrate and flash, allowing you to answer the call and speak directly into the device. This feature is particularly valuable for driving when hands-free operation is essential;
- Limited Range: One of the biggest drawbacks of ZOMM is its limited range. The device only works within a 30-120 feet radius (depending on the environment and phone model), which may not be enough for some users;
- Battery Life: Although ZOMM has a decent battery life, it still needs to be charged regularly. Some users have reported that the device tends to drain the phone’s battery more quickly when connected via Bluetooth;
- Compatibility Issues: Some users have reported compatibility issues with certain phone models. It’s recommended to check if your phone is compatible with ZOMM before purchasing;
Who May Benefit From Using Zomm (from Shark Tank)?
- People who frequently misplace their belongings: Zomm has GPS technology that allows users to track their connected device’s location in real time. This can be especially useful for locating lost items. It’s perfect for people who often leave behind their phones or keys;
- Individuals in need of an emergency contact device: Zomm can also be used in emergencies as it can be programmed with any phone number. This could be beneficial for elderly individuals or those with medical conditions who may need to quickly dial a pre-set emergency contact;
- Drivers: The Zomm can be used as a hands-free speakerphone while driving, offering a safer alternative to holding your phone;
- Entrepreneurs and investors: Studying pitches like Zomm’s on Shark Tank can provide valuable insights into what investors respond to, potentially benefiting entrepreneurs pitching to investors;
About the Founders Of ZOMM
The genesis of the Zomm concept can be traced back to Laurie’s recurring problem of misplacing her mobile phone. Her penchant for leaving her phone behind in places like restaurants and stores prompted the couple to devise a solution. Leveraging their combined technological and business expertise, Henry and Laurie Penix set out to develop Zomm, a device designed to help people keep tabs on their possessions, particularly their smartphones, to prevent misplacement or loss.
The couple diligently worked on the device’s concept and design, ultimately conceiving a wireless leash that harnessed Bluetooth technology to maintain a connection with users’ smartphones and notify them when their devices were inadvertently left behind.
In addition to its core purpose of aiding users in keeping track of their belongings, Zomm incorporated additional features, such as a panic button, speakerphone capability, and GPS tracking. These added functionalities enhanced the device’s appeal and utility.
Henry and Laurie Penix’s commitment to addressing a common problem and their innovative approach to creating Zomm contributed to the product’s success. Their appearance on the TV show Shark Tank significantly elevated the visibility of Zomm, resulting in increased interest and demand for the device.
Before venturing onto Shark Tank, Zomm had already made a name for itself in the market. The device garnered attention from various media outlets and received accolades for its innovative design and features.
Before its Shark Tank appearance, Zomm had been featured in numerous articles and reviews in tech magazines, blogs, and newspapers, further heightening consumer awareness of the product’s unique capabilities.
Zomm’s initial focus was on the wireless leash for smartphones, but the company later expanded its product line to include other valuable items, such as keys and wallets. This diversification allowed the company to cater to a broader audience and offer solutions for items frequently at risk of being misplaced or lost.
Despite its achievements, Zomm remained a relatively small company with limited marketing and distribution resources. The appearance on Shark Tank provided Zomm with significant exposure, broadened its reach to a wider audience, and opened the possibility of securing an investment from a Shark to facilitate the company’s expansion and growth.
The Pitch Of ZOMM At Shark Tank
Henry Penix confidently strode onto the stage of the Shark Tank to pitch his company, Zomm, introducing himself as the CEO of this innovative technology firm. He began by making a bold request, seeking a $ 2 million investment in exchange for a 10% equity stake in the company . Henry explained that Zomm specialized in creating products and services that aimed to transform how people interact with their cell phones.
He related to the Sharks by asking if they had ever experienced the distress of leaving their cell phone at home and spending the entire day fretting about it. Henry empathized with this common dilemma and unveiled Zomm’s solution—a keychain device designed to alert users when they stray too far from their phones. To demonstrate, he handed the device to Mark, instructing him to hold it while he walked away with the phone.
As Mark felt the vibrations and observed the flashing lights, Henry explained that if one didn’t return to retrieve their phone, the device would sound an increasingly louder alarm, which could be easily deactivated with a touch of the central button.
Henry went on to reveal that the Zomm also served as a key finder, passing the device to Daymond and asking him to transfer it to another Shark as he turned around. Using his phone, Henry effortlessly pinpointed the device’s location. But the device’s capabilities didn’t end there; it also functioned as an emergency dialer. Users could program it with any emergency number. Henry demonstrated by calling his wife, who was startled but relieved when she realized he wasn’t in trouble but instead “Swimming with Sharks”. Daymond drew a parallel to the iconic “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” concept, and Henry acknowledged the similarity, noting that it resonated with many customers.
However, Daymond questioned whether the combination of these features justified a $ 20 million valuation. Henry argued that it did, citing his three consecutive innovation awards and international patents as evidence of the product’s uniqueness. The Sharks wanted to delve into the financials, inquiring about sales, costs, and retail prices. Henry disclosed that they had generated $ 750,000 in revenue in their first year, a figure that soared to $ 5 million in the following year. The Sharks were impressed.
Robert pressed for projections for the year ahead, and Henry confidently stated $ 7.2 million, which prompted Daymond to inquire about the anticipated profit. Henry assured them that the company would net $ 2 million after all expenses and salaries.
Kevin probed further, seeking clarification that this was after all costs and employee compensation. Henry confirmed this. Daymond then questioned whether Henry intended to reinvest the requested $ 2 million back into the company. Henry explained that he had never taken a salary from the business and had reinvested his earnings. Robert sought clarification on how much he had reinvested, to which Henry revealed he had put in $ 4 million.
The Sharks were astounded, and Daymond inquired about the source of these funds. Henry disclosed that he had sold an early learning center business he started with his wife and that he currently held a 17% ownership in Zomm, with another investor contributing $ 5 million.
Mark inquired whether the company was operating at a loss. Henry was perplexed by the question, and Robert summarized that despite raising $ 9 million, the business seemed to be running out of cash. Lori inquired about the reasons for this financial shortfall, and Daymond voiced suspicions that something didn’t add up.
Henry clarified that they had another product in development, which led to a revelation by the Sharks. Henry stressed that this new product, different from the one presented, performed the same functions but also monitored health metrics, including heart rate.
Robert dug deeper, asking about research and development expenditures. Henry evaded the question, reiterating that all the money they had invested was reinvested. Daymond was persistent, seeking an estimate, to which Henry admitted that it was likely over a million dollars. Mark questioned whether Henry had sought expertise in marketing and business strategy, which Henry acknowledged, indicating they had hired sales and marketing experts.
Mark surmised that Henry’s dream was hampering the business due to unrealistic expectations. He opined that Henry should have aimed for a smaller, more achievable goal when starting Zomm, such as $ 250,000 for a 25% equity stake.
The other Sharks agreed, and Mark ultimately decided to pass on the opportunity. Robert echoed the sentiment, stating that Henry had managed to raise significant capital and achieve substantial sales but was seemingly unaware of the dire financial situation. He, too, declined to invest, expressing a lack of trust in Henry’s ability to manage his money.
Lori appreciated the product and Henry’s achievements but was concerned about the need for additional investment despite previous successes, and thus, she opted out. Kevin, intrigued by the sales, voiced his concerns about the potential risk to his investment. He declined to invest, emphasizing that he wanted his money to return with growth.
Henry implored Kevin to take control of the board, but Kevin declined, stating he didn’t want to subject Henry to “Darwinian ways” that would involve radical changes. He, too, chose not to invest.
As the remaining Sharks exited the deal, Henry expressed his gratitude and left the stage disheartened. Mark commented that Henry had aimed too high and should have sought a smaller investment when starting Zomm. Robert regretfully acknowledged that Zomm had a great product but had mismanaged its finances. Despite their critiques, it was evident that the Sharks respected Henry’s innovation and drive.
ZOMM After The Shark Tank
Undeterred by this setback, Zomm pressed on with its product marketing efforts and introduced new iterations that included added features like panic alarms and automated calls to emergency services.
However, their journey post-Shark Tank encountered challenges in a rapidly evolving tech market. Despite successfully securing patents for their technology, Zomm grappled with establishing a strong market presence. Fierce competition from established tech giants offering similar tracking features presented a formidable obstacle.
Zomm’s post-Shark Tank journey serves as a poignant reminder of the capricious and unpredictable nature of the tech industry. While Shark Tank provided invaluable exposure, it did not guarantee enduring success.
This experience underscores the critical importance of prudent financial management, strategic planning, and a profound understanding of the market for any startup to thrive in the fiercely competitive business landscape.
Despite its ultimate downfall, Zomm’s innovative approach to technology will continue to serve as a source of inspiration for other tech startups.
The Net Worth Of ZOMM
Alternatives To ZOMM:
- Tile: Tile is a popular brand of Bluetooth tracking devices. While primarily designed for tracking lost items like keys or wallets, it can also help you locate your phone. Just double-press the Tile button to make your phone ring, even if it’s on silent;
- TrackR: TrackR is another Bluetooth tracking device that helps you locate your misplaced phone and other belongings. It works similarly to Tile and also offers a community-based network to help you find lost items;
- Samsung SmartThings: If you’re in the Samsung ecosystem, the SmartThings Tracker can help you keep track of your phone, keys, or other items. It also offers geofencing capabilities and works seamlessly with other SmartThings devices;
- Apple AirTag: Designed for Apple users, AirTags can help you keep tabs on your phone and other items. It integrates with the Find My app and leverages the vast Apple user network for precise tracking;
- Bluetooth Key Finders: There are various Bluetooth key finders available in the market that can be used to locate your phone. These are simple and affordable devices that work within a short range;
- Smartwatches: Many smartwatches, like the Apple Watch, can serve as a way to ensure you don’t leave your phone behind. They can provide alerts when you move out of Bluetooth range;
- Phone Locator Apps: Various apps, such as Find My iPhone for Apple users and Find My Device for Android users, offer phone location features. You can use these apps to track your phone’s location and even remotely lock or erase it if it’s lost;
- Phone Wristbands and Cases: Some phone accessories, like wristbands and cases, have built-in tracking features. These are particularly useful if you tend to misplace your phone around your home;
- Bluetooth Headsets: Some Bluetooth headsets and earbuds, like those from Jabra or Bose, have a “Find My Earbuds” feature that can help you locate your phone if it’s nearby;
- Smart Home Systems: If you have a smart home system, you can set up automation rules to alert you if you leave your phone behind. This can be achieved using systems like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit;
- What Is Zomm’s net worth?
Zomm’s net worth was reportedly $ 20 million after airing the episode. This includes the revenue from their product sales and investments they received.
- How can you use Zomm?
Zomm is a device that can be attached to your keychain. It’s designed to alert you if you misplace your keys or phone. It operates as a “wireless leash” for your phone, making it especially useful for people who frequently misplace their phones.
- What are the benefits of using Zomm’s wireless leash?
The primary benefit of using Zomm’s wireless leash is that it helps prevent the loss of valuable items like your mobile phone or keys. By setting off an alarm, it immediately alerts you when the attached item is moved or misplaced, helping you keep track of your belongings. Additionally, it offers a personal concierge service, providing additional convenience and utility to its users.
- Can you use Zomm’s wireless leash for mobile phones?
Yes, Zomm’s wireless leash is particularly designed for mobile phones. It connects to your mobile phone via Bluetooth and alerts you if your phone is moved or misplaced. This makes it an effective tool for preventing the loss of your phone.
- What are wireless leashes for dogs?
Wireless leashes for dogs are different from Zomm’s device. They’re typically used as invisible fences or boundary training tools for pets. These systems work by transmitting a signal to a receiver on the dog’s collar. When the dog approaches the edge of the designated area, the collar emits a warning sound or vibration. If the dog continues to move towards the boundary, the collar may deliver a static correction to deter them.
Useful Video: ZOMM Wireless Leash