It’s hard to believe that over a year has passed since Ryan and I pitched the Sharks on ABC’s Shark Tank. After shaking on one of the highest valuations in the history of the show with Robert Herjavec and hosting a killer viewing party, I was feeling great about Keen Home’s prospects, but we had a lot of work left to do. To celebrate our second appearance on Shark Tank during tomorrow night’s “Where Are They Now” segment, I wanted to write about our growth since pitching the Sharks in February 2015 and what it has been like to work with Robert Herjavec.
After the Tank, the real work began
After our episode aired, we unveiled a new website and launched a pre-order campaign which allowed people across the U.S. and Canada reserve their Smart Vents at a 30% discount. Thousands of Smart Vents were pre-ordered. The entire Keen Home team spent the next nine months laser-focused on R&D, product design, software development, and manufacturing. Our initial estimate of summer 2015 delivery slipped to early winter as we juggled the complexity of simultaneous hardware and software development and testing. Our delays were met with the usual gamut of emotions that arise when tech early adopters do not get their products on time: empathy, encouragement, confusion, anger, fear. We took responsibility and tried our best to engage with our customers to explain why delivery was delayed. After countless all-nighters and tens of thousands of hours of labor across three continents, the first Smart Vent Systems shipped in November 2015.
I should point out that despite our delays, the Smart Vent is still the only product of its kind on the market. That speaks to the talent and tenacity on our team and also the complexity of designing a reliable wireless product that must perform while installed in a metal box. Since launch, we have proudly shipped more than 28,000 units to thousands of customers and hope to grow that number by 10X over the next 12 months.
As the team worked hard that spring/summer to launch the Smart Vent, we received guidance and support from Robert and his investment team at the Herjavec Group. This team specializes in PR, marketing, and business development support, and have been fantastic partners throughout the launch of the Smart Vent.
A Shark as a partner
People often ask, “so what is it like to work with a Shark after the show?” I was pleased to discover that Robert and his team are enthusiastic, down to earth, and well-connected. It is helpful as a CEO to have resources that you can tap when needed and the Herjavec Group has always delivered on their promises. Now that we have released the Smart Vent, Keen Home is working with the Herjavec Group on several marketing and PR campaigns. Building a brand involves generating awareness and loyalty, which can be expensive and time consuming. As a startup, we are always seeking an unfair advantage and working with Robert and the entire Shark Tank family has given Keen Home a leg-up against other would-be players in this space.
We are also grateful to have Robert on board as an advisor. Robert is an entrepreneur who has scaled his business successfully and his expertise with pure sales techniques helped drive us to focus on enabling repeat purchases, expanding distribution channels, and enhancing brand affinity by offering value-added services.
Finally, I'm excited to announce that our team is currently exploring a way to give our community the ability to purchase a stake in Keen Home while we are still small. Historically, U.S. law permitted only wealthy individuals and venture capitalists to invest in startups, but last summer the Jumpstart Our Business Act (JOBS) Act passed. Now, every American has the ability to invest in early-stage private companies to take advantage of potentially exponential growth.
Note that the above isn’t an offer to invest (yet), but we do want to understand if you would be interested in participating. If there is broad interest, and our board approves it, we may file official paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to pursue this new funding option that will let you own stock in Keen Home.
Keen Home Inc. (“Keen Home) is “testing the waters” to gauge market demand from potential investors for an Offering under Tier II of Regulation A. No money or other consideration is being solicited, and if sent in response, it will not be accepted. No sales of securities will be made or commitment to purchase accepted until qualification of the offering statement by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) and approval of any other required government or regulatory agency. An indication of interest made by a prospective investor is non-binding and involves no obligation or commitment of any kind. No offer to buy securities can be accepted and no part of the purchase price can be received without an offering statement that has been qualified by the Commission.