Charles Michael Yim took a very deep breath after scoring big time on the ABC TV show Shark Tank this past week to pitch his latest invention. And while he might have exhaled a whiff of champagne with that sigh of exhaltation, we're sure he drove off under the legal alcohol limit. Why? Because Yim is the creator and developer of the first breathalyzer that interfaces with a smartphone.
On September 27, 2013 Yim achieved an unprecedented accomplishment. He unearthed a million dollar investment from the five sharks, a major coup for him and a first-time milestone for the four-year old series.
The Breathometer™ can transform your smartphone into a breathalyzer helping users monitor their alcohol consumption, providing the opportunity to make smarter decisions when drinking and whether-or-not to drive. A combination of a sleek and portable device that connects to your smartphone and an easy-to-use app estimates your blood alcohol level within seconds - and even lets you call a cab with the push a button if you tipped the scales beyond the legal limits.
When first presented, Mark Cuban was hesitant to work with the other Sharks and offered Yim $500K with a 20% stake in his company (which doubled Yim's initial ask). Since infighting and contentious sniping are more the norm on this reality series, it was an interesting turn of events when the five sharks reached agreement to collaborate on a collective deal.
Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Lori Greiner negotiated with Mark Cuban to include the other Sharks in on a financial arrangement, amenable to all parties.
Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner & Robert Herjavec
Finally convinced his compatriots were willing to band together and that a bidding war would be far more expensive, Cuban conceded to a deal where he would put down $500,000 for 15% equity, and the other Sharks, the remaining $500,000 for another 15%.
Earlier this year, prior to the Shark Tank pitch, Yim raised some early capital using Indiegogo as his preferred crowdfunding platform. He set a reasonable goal at $25k which was easily achieved way a head of schedule By the time the campaign ended, the Breathometer raised $138,000 from over 3800 contributors.
According to Yim's website, consumers can pre-order a Breathometer for $49 with an expected arrival date sometime in October. And apparently there are other features on the foreseeable horizon for this app. When jokingly asked by one of the Sharks if his device could also detect "halitosis," Yim was quick to respond that his developers were working on that, in addition to a diabetes functionality that would possibly replace the current "stick finger" method of monitoring blood sugar levels.