Matt Alexander and his brother-in-law Michael Kannely pitch Illumibowl, a multi-colored toilet night light, in Shark Tank episode 727. Alexander invented IllumiBowl while still a student at BYU. After launching a Kickstarter that raised $95,399 on just a $20,000 goal, he brought in Kannely – known as “number two,” to help. To date they sold over $1 million worth of product – over 50,000 units.
The IllumiBowl is an LED light that lasts 100,000 hours that clips onto the side of the toilet and shines a soft light into the bowl, eliminating “bathroom blindness” caused by bright lights when going in the middle of the night. It's a motion sensitive light, so it turns on as soon as you enter the bathroom. The light gets set at one of eight colors or rotates through the spectrum. They claim it eliminates “night-time misses” while lighting the way during bathroom trips in the dark. There are plans in the works for a germicidal bulb that cleans the toilet when the light is on. It operates on batteries, which are not included.
At only $19.99, it fits just about anyone who has a toilet's budget. The product is available on Amazon, but Alexander wants to get it on store shelves. He also had some difficulties with his first production run: one in five products were defective. By being proactive about the defects, he was able to retain customers and now IllumiBowl comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Matt and Michael likely want a Shark's help with manufacturing and getting into retail stores to capture a mass market. Will a Shark light up over IllumiBowl?
IllumiBowl Shark Tank Recap
Matt and Michael enter seeking $100K for 15% of their company. They explain the dangers of “going it alone in the dark. They demonstrate how it works and the Sharks seem amused when the guys say their “main priorities are number one and number two.”
As they hand out samples, Daymond asks if the light stays on for the entire visit to the bathroom and they explain the motion activation. Robert wants to know why people won't use a night-light and they explain the benefits of having something to aim for. They've sold $100K on Kickstarter at $19.99 apiece and their cost is only $3.98 packaged and assembled. The Sharks LOVE the margins!
They explain they are approaching retailers, but they want the money to open their online store. They're also working on projecting images in the toilet bowl and they use a picture of Kevin to demonstrate that feature, which delights the other four sharks.
Daymond says they want money for inventory, but they don't need the Sharks if they take “affordable next steps.” He's out. Kevin says “I like it, it's kind of nuts.” He offers $100K for 25%. Mark sees it as a novelty item. He says it's a product, not a company. He's out. Robert thinks they can buy their own inventory and he wouldn't make a better offer than Kevin. He's out.
Lori touts her success with Squatty Potty and says she doesn't want to step on their toes. She asks what the guys think of Kevin's offer and the guys do the deal! Kevin says he's going to light America's toilets up!
RESULT: DEAL with Kevin for $100K for 25%
IllumiBowl Shark Tank Update
The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show.
After earning a Shark Deal with Kevin O'Leary, Matt and Micheal have followed their initial plan. They started by finding their way into smaller local stores and individual franchises like True Value, and are building toward getting shelf space in larger retailers.
Matt credits Kevin O'Leary with being “very involved” with the company, acting as a go-between with retailers and using his contacts to expand the product's market. The price has come down since Shark Tank, too. The IllumiBowl is now available on Amazon for $14.99, a $5 reduction from the original $19.99 price tag.
IllumiBowl is lighting up bathroom time everywhere, and the entrepreneurs and their Shark partner are flushed with success.
Illumibowl gets an update segment in episode 802 of season 8. We'll see what they're up to then!