Best of Shark Tank

Smartwheel Update

SEASON 4 EPISODE 16

PITCH

intelligent steering wheel that helps prevent distracted driving

ENTREPRENEUR

TJ Evarts, Jaiden Evarts, Bryeton Evarts, Paige Balcom, Emily Balcom, and Kate Balcom

ASKED FOR

$100,000 for 15%

GOT

$100,000 for 30%

SHARK

Robert Herjavec and Mark Cuban

STATUS

IN BUSINESS

Distracted driving remains an epidemic in many countries as drivers globally succumb to accidents and deaths caused by sidetracked driving. A group of teenagers and young entrepreneurs between the ages of twelve to eighteen combined their creative minds and invented Smart Wheel. Distraction is common among young teenagers, and the entrepreneurs were driven by a heavy yearning to make driving safe for teenagers. The teens anticipated seeing SmartWheel in all vehicles, globally, to save lives.

SmartWheel, which is ergonomically designed to suit the driver’s comfort, is quickly snapped on any steering wheel. Sensing technology alerts the driver on common distractions through lights and tones, thus reducing distracted driving accidents significantly. The device would further alert parents or guardians in cases of inattentive driving by teenage drivers.

SmartWheel before Shark Tank

The six entrepreneurs included three sisters, Paige, Emily, and Kate Balcom, and siblings TJ, Jaiden, and Breyton Evarts. Initially, the group by the name Inventioneers had united to take part in a Lego building competition. However, their innovative, creative, and dynamic minds led their paths to explore SmartWheel. They began with the development of a prototype that encouraged young drivers to remain steady on the wheel. Although they applied for a patent, the young techies required more funding to manufacture the product and transform it into a finished product.

They hoped to sell Smart Wheel online at the initial stages after production then retails the product through outlets such as Big Box Stores.

SmartWheel on Shark Tank

In February 2013, the teens made their presentation of SmartWheel on Shark Tank, requesting $100,000 in exchange for 15% of their company. Two Sharks Robert Herjavec and Mark Cuban closed the deal with the Inventioneers for $100,000 for 30%

SmartWheel After Shark Tank

Similar to other deals on Shark Tank, disagreements ensued between the Shark investors and the entrepreneurs. They failed to agree upon licensing of the SmartWheel exclusively to car manufacturers, and thus, the deal fell.

Despite the challenge, the Inventioneers believed in their dream and pursuit. In 2015, under the leadership of their 19-year-old CEO TJ Evarts, SmartWheel launched an Indiegogo campaign meant to initiate Smart Wheel production. The campaign was unsuccessful, earning them $2,000, which was way less than the $50,000. The 39 backers of the business were disappointed by the end of the campaign, and one of them felt ripped off having to wait for more than a year for SmartWheel, and their entrepreneurs went mute on the endless queries.

The product has since received publicity on NBC’s Today show, MSNBC, and other credible shows with many positive reviews from the audience. The teens got a chance to showcase their innovation at the White House, which the then U.S President Barrack Obama endorsed. Currently, SmartWheel does not have any products on the market but continues to maintain its social media pages and website while seeking appropriate partners for production and eventual sales. They believe in the power of the gadget to save lives and avoid unnecessary accidents and other fatalities.

Visit the Smartwheel website

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