BearTek is a company that manufactures gloves which allow users to operate their cell-phones without having to take the gloves off. This means that users can communicate, click pictures or record audios, and listen to music, using these gloves.
The gloves contain microscopic sensors which enable it to respond to the different commands and finger motions. There are touch-pads located along the side of the glove-fingers, and placing your thumb on these pads will cause the sensor to activate.
The gloves and gadgets communicate through Bluetooth modules present in a tiny glove pocket close to the wrist. There are two different modules: one for camera, and the other for phones.
The target market for the business, naturally, consists of athletes, sportspeople, and people who regularly indulge in outdoor activities like cycling, snow sports, or motor sports.
BearTek was co-founded by the cousin duo of Tarik Rodgers and Willy Blount. Tarik operates as the CEO of the company, and resides in Texas – the location of the BearTek Headquarters. Willy, meanwhile, lives in Columbia.
Willie is a huge motorcycling enthusiast, and wanted a solution that would allow him to safely and conveniently listen to music on his phone, during his long bike rides. Tarik, meanwhile, loved to ski, and was looking for a pair of gloves that he would not have to take off when using his camera or phone.
In 2012, the co-founders launched a Kickstarter campaign for their idea, but the efforts bore little fruit. However, Tarik and Willy did manage to raise $90,000 from other sources and that, along with their partnership with the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, helped them lift their product off the ground.
Over the years, BearTek has managed to establish a large and loyal fan-base throughout the sporting, geek, and tech worlds.
Is BearTek Still an Active Business?
No, BearTek is not operational anymore; the company went out of business somewhere in the middle of 2019, and the company website has gone dark ever since. The gloves, however, are still being sold on Amazon.
How Did the Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Willy and Tarik made their Shark Tank appearance on episode ten of the seventh season of the show – the ‘Shark Tank Military Special’ episode.
The co-founders wanted to land a Shark who could help them with distribution and production. In exchange for that, and a $500,000 investment, Willy and Tarik were ready to offer a 5% stake in BearTek – a company valuation of $10 million.
They start their pitch, talking about how much they love outdoor sports and activities, but not being able to listen to music or click pictures without taking the gloves off was a major hassle. They explain that BearTek solves this problem by changing from a glove into a smart-phone, just at a tap of the user’s thumbs. They conduct the product demonstration and perform various finger motions which were mimicked by the Sharks. They explain that the module is compatible with any device. The co-founders tell the Shark that, even though BearTek sells a product, they see it more as a tech company.
The samples are then handed out, and Willy and Tarik explain how the gloves work. Essentially, the gloves have six touch-points, and each corresponds to a specific command. The module goes inside a small pocket behind the gloves, and the thumb is the primary control. At the time, the business was selling both the gloves and the modules. Willy and Tarik told the Sharks that they launched the gloves primarily to present the concept of modules to their target market; eventually, they want to fully make their way into the module market.
In a 15-month period, BearTek had sold 1500 units and generated a profit of $200,000. The owners feel that $10 million is a fair valuation of their company, because the military is constantly looking for products like theirs. Robert does not think that a $10 million valuation is justified unless the company is selling more than just gloves. He does not want to enter a $10 million business that only sells gloves – he is out.
Daymond, too, does not think that BearTek is a $10 million company; the co-owners countered that the company’s value could go as high as $32 million. Daymond, however, is not convinced, and decides to bow out of the offer.
Kevin claims that he has already seen helmets offering voice-activation features, to which Tarik replied that helmets are prone to errors but the BearTek gloves are not. Kevin thinks that the company is late to the party and that the market already has solutions to the problem that Tarik and Willy are trying to solve. Therefore, he is out as well.
Mark tells the cousins that the risk-reward ratio is just not tempting enough for him, which is why he would not be willing to invest in the company.
Lori expresses her admiration for the entrepreneurs, saying that they are smart and might be onto something. However, she also thinks that the business is still feeling its way around, she is not ready to invest at this stage.
BearTek, therefore, could not get any of the Sharks into a bear-hug, and had to walk off the stage without a deal.
Our Review of BearTek:
BearTek is representative of some of the highest workmanship quality. In addition to that, the consistency and simplicity of the Bluetooth technology – as well as the inclusion of the soft pouch – must also be commended. BearTek’s aim is to make outdoor activities more enjoyable and safer, and it is hard to say that the gloves do not achieve this purpose. Even though BearTek gloves are slightly more expensive compared to other smart gloves, one can argue that the above features still make it worth the price.
Pros of BearTek:
- Premium workmanship
- Simple and consistent Bluetooth technology
- Come with a 30-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee
Cons of BearTek:
- Slightly more expensive than other comparable gloves
Are There Any Alternatives?
‘Smart Glove’ can be seen as an alternative to BearTek.
Our Final Thoughts:
BearTek gloves were launched with the purpose of making outdoor activities safer and more enjoyable. Despite becoming a favorite for outdoor enthusiasts, the company struggled to survive and has been out of business since 2019.