Last Friday night on the ABC hit show Shark Tank CJ Isakow, a fellow Shapie pitched the sharks on his idea called Eyebloc. CJ pitched to investors Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Robert Herjavec and Kevin O'Leary. Eyebloc is a custom webcam cover for your laptop or tablet webcam. The advantage of Eyebloc is to protect your webcam from hackers when it's not in use. First prototypes of the Eyebloc was created using Shapeways 3D printing services.
For those who weren't able to tune in you can watch it here.
How did you come up with your idea?
A few years ago my brother mentioned to me he was worried people could see him through his built in camera, and then I heard about high school students being spied on by their teachers through their laptop! So I invented the idea for Eyebloc, but my friends just made fun of me. Duct tape is the major competitor. Then the Snowden revelations broke early this year that the government might be spying on us, and I decided to take action. I set up a landing page saying "you're being watched" and ran ads on conservative blogs. I got hundreds of clicks the first day! So I went on Elance and found these great designers from Cambridge Mass, Kat and Andrew from Plus Fabrication. http://www.plusfabrication.com/ They came up with the awesome shield shape and design.
How did you find Shapeways?
Andrew and Kat recommended Shapeways.
What role did we play in your product development cycle?
We had a few different models made before deciding on the final product. Then actually sold 3D printed versions of the product through Amazon. I went from idea to real sales in less than 30 days!
How many prototypes before you were ready for market?
The guy renovating my bathroom told me I should apply to shark tank, he is a big viewer. I applied with a video I did in 3 takes in my basement. They loved the idea and it was really timely.I applied less than a month after launching.
What was the process like and when were you accepted?
Because my topic was so timely and my product a unique solution, the process went really quickly. A producer saw my video and within a week he had shown it to ABC execs and they invited me to tape.I taped in September. Once they tape you, you are not guaranteed to be shown, so I only found out in December that I will air on Jan 10th at 9 PM EST on ABC.
What is the future look like for you?
This has been a wild ride, what started out as a side project may blossom into a real business. This was all possible because I was able to use 3D printing to get a product to market and test the market without needing to spend $1000's of dollars on an injection mold. Shapeways got me my product for under $10!
Now I have my second product on Shapeways, a cover for the Xbox 360 Kinect. I'm starting to test the market for that product, there are over 20 million Kinects in the market, they are a gateway into peoples living rooms!