Atlanta’s Phoozy, a super protective gadget case, lands on ‘Shark Tank’

Phoozy is pitched by two entrepreneurs including Atlanta's Josh Inglis. It's a spacesuit-influenced protective gadget guard on “Shark Tank" airing April 2, 2021. (ABC)
Phoozy is pitched by two entrepreneurs including Atlanta's Josh Inglis. It's a spacesuit-influenced protective gadget guard on “Shark Tank" airing April 2, 2021. (ABC)

Credit: ABC

Credit: ABC

Josh Inglis, co-founder, will appear today.

Protective cases for gadgets are a dime a dozen, but Josh Inglis hopes he and his business partner can prove on ABC’s “Shark Tank” that their Phoozy company is worth investing in. Their segment is set to air today at 8 p.m.

Long-time Atlanta resident Inglis, 44, and his Charlotte buddy, Kevin Conway, have been selling the Phoozy for four years but hope one or more of the Shark Tank investors will help them expand distribution.

“This is the Super Bowl for small businesses,” said Conway. “I am excited and a bit nervous how they edit us.”

Conway, 42, was a professional race car driver including NASCAR and remains an avid surfer, snowboarder and cyclist. He came up with the Phoozy idea in 2016 after becoming frustrated when his phone would shut down when it either overheated or became too cold.

With consultation from actual rocket scientists, engineers and other specialists, he helped develop a proprietary material that enabled phones to handle extreme temperatures using comparable technology in spacesuits and race cars. The final result was the Phoozy, which allows gadgets to survive severe drops and float in water instead of sink to the bottom of a lake or ocean.

Depending on the device and type of Phoozy, prices range from $30 to $70. The company sells directly off its website as well as on Amazon and many REI stores. Locally, it’s available at Peter Glenn Ski & Sports.

Inglis, who spent 15 years at Home Depot in marketing technology, finance and analytics and has an MBA from Emory University, had his own share of issues with phones while on skiing and scuba diving trips. After months of prodding, Conway was able to convince Inglis to leave the comforts of Home Depot and become the chief operating officer and co-founder of Phoozy.

The Phoozy twosome taped their episode last year. It featured regular Sharks Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Daymond John, Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec.

Whether the Sharks even bite, “Shark Tank” itself is a great promotional tool for any entrepreneur.

Inglis wouldn’t provide financial details before the segment airs on TV but said business grew after the pandemic began, in part because people had more time to pick up outdoor sports where phone safety is a more pressing issue.

UPDATE: The pair asked for $500,000 for 10% stake in the company, which comes out to a $5 million self-assessed evaluation. They had John check the overheated and frozen phones vs. those placed in the Phoozy and had him drop another into water.

O’Leary said he’s seen many phone protective cases on “Shark Tank” over the years. He was skeptical there was no other product providing all this protection at once. Conway said they have an issued utility patent around the thermal technology as well as the drop and float components.

Herjavec wondered if there was even demand for this product. Conway said in the first 36 months, the company sold $1.9 million worth of product. He said revenue was $700,000 in 2019 and expected to sell $1.5 million in 2020. They hope to hit $4.5 million in 2021. Most of sales are direct to consumer.

“That’s impressive,” Cuban said. He was also impressed by the gross margin of 88%. “You guys are my heroes!” he exclaimed. “Oh my God!”

At this point, they said they had bootstrapped the entire company without outside investors and put in $85,000 between the two of them. Conway claimed they were profitable from the first quarter they started selling the Phoozy.

Cuban, despite his enthusiasm, bowed out because this isn’t his area of interest.

O’Leary asked why they needed his money. Conway said they need money to hire more key staff because it’s just him and Inglis. His first offer: 4% equity and $1 per product until he gets $1.5 million.

“I think you guys are fantastic operators,” O’Leary said.

When Conway said $1 million instead of $1.5 million, both Greiner and Herjavek offered to match. After a commercial break, Greiner and Herjavek teamed up with a combo investment while O’Leary sweetened his offer as well.

For anyone on “Shark Tank,” this is a dream scenario: options!

Conway and Inglis chose Greiner and Herajvek together.

In a follow-up interview Monday, April 5, Conway said Greiner provides great retail background to help them expand distribution while Herajvek knows how to build and scale a small company’s growing operations. He said they are already receiving great advice from the teams of both entrepreneurs.

They have more products set to launch this summer, not necessarily in the tech gadget protection world, Conway added.

Coming from a family of self-starting business owners, he said it’s a dream come true just to be on “Shark Tank,” which has been on air for 12 seasons.

“I’ve definitely seen every episode,” he said. He talked to other companies that had been on the show to glean advice, though he sensed he probably knew everything from just being an inveterate viewer.

“Make sure you have a good story,” Inglis said. “Know your numbers. All the usual stuff. It was just an out-of-body experience to be there in front of the Sharks.”

The company is prepping its warehouses and website for a bevy of orders Friday night into the weekend.

Kevin Conway and Atlanta's Josh Inglis try to get "Shark Tank" investors to place bets on their Phoozy gadget protector on tonight's episode of the popular show. ABC
Kevin Conway and Atlanta's Josh Inglis try to get "Shark Tank" investors to place bets on their Phoozy gadget protector on tonight's episode of the popular show. ABC

Credit: ABC

Credit: ABC

ON TELEVISION

“Shark Tank”

8 p.m. Fridays

ABC

Streams on Hulu the following day

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