Ink Flip: Cartridge Refill Service

SEASON 1 EPISODE 11
Pitch printer ink cartridge refill service
EntrepreneurAndy Sperry
Asked For$150,000 for 20%
DealNo Deal
SharkNo Shark
StatusOut of Business

Coming up with a really great idea feels so empowering, but how good your business idea is doesn’t always hold that much weight. If you have an excellent idea but you don’t market it properly, your business will come to a grinding halt and you’ll never know what could have been.

However, with the right guidance, your business can take off rapidly, and that can make even the least flashy product appear blindingly bright.

What is InkFlip?

Ink Flip is the conceptual child of Andy Sperry, and so practical, it may leave you wondering why this isn’t the way it has always been done.

It aims to save money while saving the environment, with very minimal personal effort. And it does so as your toner provider, using reusable, refillable toner cartridges.

Imagine your toner runs out. With Ink Flip, you would install the extra cartridge that you have on hand, while you send the empty one back using the Ink Flip box, which has been paid for and pre-filled with the required information. This system comes with several benefits:

  • consistent supply of toner
  • much more environmentally friendly
  • save up to 70% on toner
  • free shipping
  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed

Founder’s Story

One day, when Andy was at work, he found himself in a situation that many people can relate to. He was finishing up the last touches on his presentation when the printer suddenly ran out of toner.

This unfortunate situation could have been prevented with the right foresight or preparation, and Andy wants the solution to be as easy and straightforward as Ink Flip.

InkFlip on Shark Tank

Andy went in front of the judges and told them he wants $150,000 in exchange for 20% of his company and then proceeds to fill the Sharks in on how it works.

The Sharks have a number of questions for him, like what his sales are and if there is a financially viable future in this business. Andy assures the Sharks that the cartridge refill business is huge and even though he has only been in this business for about six months, he has $10,000 in revenue.

After many more probing questions, the general consensus between the Sharks is that Andy should’ve worked out all of the figures before coming on the show and that’s why he walked away without an offer.

What Happened to Ink Flip After Shark Tank

While Ink Flip was a good idea, in theory, it all boils down to the fact that Andy didn’t do as many calculations as he would need to assure the sharks that it’s a safe investment. He was unprepared and was unable to grow his business without the finances and expertise of the Sharks.

On his personal blog, Andy goes into detail about the many opportunities he’s had to speak to investors – angel investors, institutional investors, and some ‘tire- kickers’.

Unfortunately, it appears that none of these opportunities panned out. InkFlip shut down its operations in April 2010. The website is no longer operational and social media pages haven’t been updated since 2011.

Andy went on to found another startup, Branditty, a web-based coupon program that helps small business market themselves to their local communities through digital marketing tools. He managed to secure venture capital funding for the company before shutting down a year later.

Since 2012, Andy has worked as Chief Marketing Officer with Renew Co., a company that builds ecommerce stores with subscription options at their core.

Today, he remains with Renew Co., now as the Chief Operating Officer since September 2020.

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