Riding on a moment –How Guard Llama swam with the Sharks.
Ever wonder what it would be like to be on a show like Shark Tank? We were curious too, so we caught up with one of our customers Joe Parisi, Co-founder of Guard Llama. Joe will be featured on Shark Tank April 14th. See what he had to say about the experience.
Give us an intro into Guard Llama? How did you come up with the idea? How did you start?
We came up with the idea while in college. A woman was murdered on campus and she had her cell phone. Even though she had her cell phone, she wasn’t able to get help. It was a problem we wanted to help solve.
As we started looking into the problem, we learned that when you dial into 911 you need to give an address to the dispatcher while you on the phone. During an attack, you probably don’t have that kind of time – you need to find your phone, unlock it, dial help, and give your address – is a lot to handle when being attacked. And even if you have something you protect yourself, like pepper spray, you sink to the highest level of training. Most of us are not trained in using pepper spray. You might be able to slow the attacker down, but stopping someone dead in their tracks is a tall order.
Guard Llama is designed to make the process of getting help easier. All you need to do is press the button on the device twice and your GPS location, photo, and medical information are sent to the Emergency Dispatch Center. Friends and family in your contact list are also alerted.
What made you decide to audition for Shark Tank?
We felt like Shark Tank was a great opportunity. Anytime you can do anything to increase market awareness you should do it. Also, Shark Tank offers credibility better than if we paid for a commercial. We felt that Shark Tank was an amazing exposure opportunity if it worked out. The application process is long. They really limit who they allow on the show. The odds are not in your favor, but if it hits it’s worth the risk.
What was your favorite part of the experience? What was the most challenging?
It was cool to feel a part of Hollywood – they buy your ticket, take care of your accommodations, pick you up at the airport…you even get your own trailer with the company name on it. You feel like a star. You’re on Sony studios, where so many great shows are filmed. They were filming Wheel of Fortune at the time. It was really cool.
It is challenging in that there is a lot pressure on a single moment. You know you only have one chance. They don’t reshoot. Any misstep could cause you to be sent home. You get to the point where you over practice and hope you aren’t working backwards at some point.
You need to make sure that everything is done perfectly. There is no second shot. You have to be comfortable with you and your presentation skills. The comes a point where you will start to doubt yourself no matter how well you prepare.
How do you anticipate your internal business processes changing due to the exposure you received on Shark Tank?
The entire company has to change. When you go from selling 500-1,000 units in a month to 25,000 in a weekend your processes don’t work anymore. We literally had to take apart every operation that we had in place and redo them. We had to check with every vendor to make sure everything is in place to handle the increased demand – from chip manufacturers to the website.
We even had to change our processes with ShipBob. We needed a WooCommerce integration to handle the demand. We were forced to automate faster than we anticipated. We were large enough where we knew we needed to streamline our processes, but we could put them off because they weren’t in the critical path. Now they are in the critical path.
Learn more about Guard Llama.