Given the Shark Tank’s well-known reputation for introducing modern tech devices to thousands of viewers, the NoPhone, a low-tech device, is in a league of its own. Does this phone have no practical use? Or does this weird smartphone, which is about to become an approved Shark Tank product, genuinely tackle a large problem in the 21st century?
Company Overview in Shark Tank
|Episode||Season7, Episode 28|
|Product Offering||Fake Smartphone|
|Founder||Chris Sheldon, Van Gould, Ingmar Larsen and Ben Langeveldon.|
|Required Investment||$25,000 for 25%|
|Closing Deal||No Deal|
|Offered Sharks||No Shark|
|Current Business Status||Out of business|
What is NoPhone?
NoPhone aims to stop smartphone addiction. So, they advertise their product as the most outdated phone ever. This phone doesn’t have any key controls, lens, or other features. It’s just a plastic piece with the shape of a phone.
According to their website, the phone doesn’t come with any storage function with zero percentage of phone storage, and is washroom waterproof. One of their products is the NoPhone ZERO. It is a downgrade version compared to the NoPhone. It doesn’t offer anything much. Its shape is in a rectangle and has black color. Besides, they also invent a NoPhone SELFIE version that incorporates a mirror as an option.
How Does NoPhone Work?
In Shark Tank season 7 episode 28, Van Gould and Chris Sheldon present the NoPhone for people who spend a lot of time with their phones. In the fall of 2014 and again in 2015, this ironic product received the total funds of over $20,000 two times on Kickstarter.
The NoPhone, according to Van Gould and Christ Sheldon’s fundraising page, is a “tech-free solution to continuous phone addiction that helps you to stay engaged with the actual world.”
Although the device seems to be humorous, some people carry it along to accompany them on dates or to the movies. There is a CNET review that calls the NoPhone the most useless gift ever.
The company is dubbed the “largest fake phone company in the world,” and has supplied over 4000 devices. When Sean and Steven don’t work for an ad firm as art directors in New York, they pack and export out of a 400-square-foot flat in the city. They’re probably looking for a Shark to support them with a large distribution.
Who Founded NoPhone? Founder Backgrounds
Van Gould and Christ Sheldon are entrepreneurs who pitch the NoPhone on Shark Tank in 2016. In today’s market of high-tech smartphones that almost everyone possesses these days, the firm is creating a niche by offering the fewest number of smartphone possibilities.
This phone doesn’t come with a working camera, screen, music, WiFi, and other features of a phone. However, you can improve your selfie mirror (sticker), so that you can look at yourself while bringing around a fake smartphone.
NoPhone Business Before Shark Tank
Before the firm was introduced on Shark Tank, Van and Christ already sold 3100 amazingly. In 2014, they strongly led a fundraising campaign that earned triple the expected budget. Let’s find out more if the Sharks believe in the unique idea of the NoPhone on transforming the phone addiction.
NoPhone During Shark Tank Pitch
Chris Sheldon and Van Gould joined the Shark Tank. They were looking for $25,000 in exchange for a 15% equity worth of the business.
Chris mentions that “phone addiction” is a serious problem in our society nowadays. Van explained to the Shark Tank investors that he read a research study that said that most American teenagers use their phones every day at least for 22 hours.
Every day, people were using their phones while doing most of their daily tasks, according to Chris. Both businessmen aimed to come up with a solution to tackle the phone addiction problem. Then, Van introduced the NoPhone.
It’s a fake phone, Chris explains, for individuals who are addicted to actual phones. Van claims that it doesn’t have a screen, battery, and any apps.
Chris says that all you have to do is pick it up, carry it, and that’s it. He stated that it doesn’t come with any warranty or refunds and it is not produced for any purpose. It’s merely the millennial generation’s favourite rock.
Van and Chris began giving out product samples. Van handed Robert his invented phone with the selfie version which was just like a mirror. Lori questioned the founders about the number of phones they supplied.
Van informed her that since November of the previous year, they had supplied 3100 devices. He claimed that the majority of people who purchased them did so with the selfie upgrade.
Kevin was angry. He questioned if the two were only joking. So, Van confirmed that they seriously want to grow the business, and they had made revenues of approximately $42,000 as they began already. This claim makes Robert feel delighted.
Lori inquiries about the selling price in the market. Van told her that the regular NoPhone with no-frills costs $12, and the new phone with the selfie update costs $18. Again, the new phone with a selfie upgrade is just a mirror.
Kevin reminded them that while their idea was lovely, it ultimately had no worth. He felt like he was in a parallel world where items are not required to provide value to customers.
Van emphasized that with the shark’s contribution, the inventors could make so much impact on his firm.
Daymond asks if the new phone is protected by a patent. Van informed him that they had filed a provisional patent application. Van went on to say that he was serious.
Mark told them that the only thing he hated after people stared at their phones were useless patents. He walked out after saying that a patent on a block of plastic was ridiculous. He was praised for his time by the two entrepreneurs.
Lori laughed and said she was not going to put any more money into this idea, and she just walked away. On the contrary, there’s Robert who thought the concept was fantastic. He acknowledged that they had sold a lot of units. However, he expressed a concern that this amount of sales was the total market for this kind of phone.
Chris clarified that this was only available in their own website store. Then, Van encouraged Robert to consider what would happen if they pushed more sales and ran more marketing campaigns, so the products can be more famous.
Lori advised them to not put any money into these dreadful schemes. Robert left the house. Daymond said sorry, but he mentioned that investing in this NoPhone would be very foolish.
Kevin explained that the product wasn’t exactly nothing, but it was close. Kevin told the founders that the product was deplorable, and then he also left.
While Van and Christ left, Kevin looked at his hair in the mirror of the new phone. Van told the camera during his exit interview that the investors wasted a major investment opportunity. Van said it was their generation’s pet rock, not a worthless plastic piece. It would become a great movement, he said.
NoPhone Closing Deal in Shark Tank
Since NoPhone was firstly presented during Shark Tank, it was hopeless. The entrepreneurs came to ask for a fund of $25,000 in exchange for 25% equity, but most of the Shark Tank investors didn’t buy into the idea and walked away.
One shark believed that it could be very affordable, while another described it as “intelligent,” however it’s not worth earning a fund.
Although the sharks didn’t believe in NoPhone, the two inventors claim that his product is not useless anymore. The startup started a Kickstarter in 2014, claiming that it has the potential to break phone addiction.
Consequently, they raised $18,316 which is worth triple if compared to their financing goal. They’ve also given a TEDx Talk about how “The power of a plastic piece can make the world better”
NoPhone After Shark Tank
The NoPhone product was mentioned in a Forbes website article, and it was about a fake smartphone business debut on Shark Tank. Besides, the company is still growing strong, and the company’s homepage page features several great comments from major publications, one of them even calls it TechCrunch.
Time Magazine describes this phone as a simulation of your pleasure item, helping you to slowly leave it. The NoPhone Air, which is just a plastic box with nothing, is now available for $5 on the website! It can be a very wonderful Christmas present for your family members too.
All of the versions and the t-shirt of NoPhone are available on Amazon Prime. Check out their website today to overcome your cell phone dependency.
Current Update: Is NoPhone Still In Business?
As of December 2021, NoPhone products are still on the market. The users can download a TEDx talk to their phone. They now have a non-addictive phone and a waterproof version even without a battery.
Meanwhile, their Facebook page continues to make jokes about our technology-addicted era during the debut of their show. They’ve joked about not purchasing their stuff on Father’s Day, displayed an orange NoPhone, and also posted a 360º film of this phone which was nothing but a deep hole of emptiness.
“In an everyday world, NoPhone will not be needed,” but who knows what humans will be obsessed with within the next 10 years.” Whatever it might be, we’ll be around to offer you a free mimic of something you regularly use.” the company’s founders told The Memo in an interview.