|SEASON 5 EPISODE 2|
|Pitch||personal breathalyzer attachment for smartphones|
|Asked For||$250,000 for 10%|
|Deal||$1,000,000 for 30%|
|Shark||Robert Herjavec, Kevin O’Leary, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Daymond John|
|Status||Out of Business|
What is Breathometer?
While most of us can’t imagine life without our cellphones (even though sometimes we crave a break), does the term “There’s an app for that” ring true for every situation?
Well, Breathometer would have you believe so. In a nutshell, you purchase a keychain size Breathometer device, plug it into the audio jack on your mobile device, download the app, and after a boozy night out on the town, blow into the machine. Your cellphone will tell you your blood alcohol level in mere seconds.
If you’re over 0.08% (legally over the limit), it’ll even call you a cab, notify friends and family and make suggestions for a nearby hotel.
Who is the Breathometer Founder?
Founder and CEO Charles Yim started Breathometer in 2013. A graduate of the University of California with a Bachelor of Science in Business Economics and a lifelong entrepreneur who’d already founded two companies prior.
Charles is now a venture capitalist based in San Francisco who owns his own company, Sync VC.
In addition, he makes angel investments, and according to his LinkedIn profile, has raised over $1 billion to invest in start-ups, many of which he sits on the Board of Advisors.
He has also written a book on entrepreneurship, published in May 2021, and does guest speaking and business mentoring.
The idea for the business came about when Charles noticed there wasn’t a breathalyzer that links with the smartphone market and is portable—noting all current models were either big and bulky or very expensive.
So after raising close to $140,000 on the crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo to kickstart production, beta trials were handed out to people at the SXSW music festival in Austin, TX, later the same year.
After the feedback and further tests, Charles then took the product to market, mainly selling online and in retail stores.
Forever looking for ways to scale and increase his audience, he began looking for high-value investors in the public eye.
What Happened to Breathometer After Shark Tank Update
Is Breathometer Still in Business?
Between 2013 to 2015, Breathometer was on the market, but the company pivoted around 2015 to Mint, a similar device measuring oral health and hydration levels.
Production seized for Breathometer in 2015, as complaints rose and the FTC started to investigate.
For all intents and purposes, the company has been shut down since 2017.
The Fair Trade Commission came to a settlement with Charles, and the app was disabled.
According to the deal with the FTC, Charles would have to contact everyone who purchased the Breathometer device and offer them a full refund, amounting to over $5 million in total.
Legal Issues for Breathometer
In 2017, the Fair Trade Commission started looking into the company, feeling they endangered lives as people believed their blood alcohol readings were legit and driving over the limit, based off false information.
They alleged that Breathometer knew their user’s blood and alcohol levels were inaccurately reported using faulty equipment and made false claims in their marketing about its accuracy.
They also claimed to have conducted rigorous government lab-grade tests in compliance with all regulations, labelling themselves as law enforcement grade devices, which was also proven to be false.
Where is Breathometer Now (2021)?
Since moving on from Breathometer, under a cloud of questions, Charles has founded and been the CEO of numerous other start-up companies.
In addition to his numerous startups, he is now a venture capitalist with his business set up in Silicon Valley and West Hollywood.