Chessup Review from Shark Tank: An In-Depth Look at the Smart Chessboard Craze

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ChessUp entered the entrepreneurial spotlight with its innovative approach to teaching and enhancing the game of chess through advanced technology. As featured on Shark Tank, this smart chess board is not merely a piece of elegant hardware; it’s a gateway to a sophisticated learning experience facilitated by AI. ChessUp has the goal of making chess accessible and engaging for players of all skill levels, combining the tradition of the historic mind sport with the cutting edge of modern tech.

On Shark Tank, the ChessUp team presented their vision for how their AI-powered chess board could revolutionize the way people learn and play chess. Their pitch highlighted the product’s features, including real-time move suggestions and analysis, designed to help players understand the game better and improve their strategy. Enthusiasts can play against the AI or connect with others, offering a juxtaposition of solitary refinement of skill and global competitive play.

Key Takeaways

  • ChessUp integrates AI technology to enhance the chess playing experience.
  • The product received significant attention after its appearance on Shark Tank.
  • It offers innovative features that help players learn and improve their game.

Overview of ChessUp

ChessUp is an intelligent chess board that emerged from the collaboration of savvy co-founders with a vision to revolutionize the way chess is learned and played.

The Concept and Vision

ChessUp is a smart chess board powered by AI technology. It distinguishes itself with the ability to light up possible moves in various colors: red for bad moves, blue for good ones, and green for the best moves, substantially aiding the learning process for players. The aim is to make chess more accessible and provide a high-level training tool that can cater to both beginners and advanced players. This innovation combines gaming with educational tech, offering a unique learning experience.

Bryght Labs Co-Founders

The brains behind ChessUp are co-founders Jeff Wigh, the co-founder and CEO with an MBA, and Adam Roush, the product architect. Alongside them is Justin Farrell, the chief design officer. They form the core team of Bryght Labs, the startup responsible for ChessUp. Together, these co-founders share a vision to create a brand that leverages technology to enhance traditional gaming experiences. Jeff Wigh’s leadership and Adam Roush’s product architecture expertise, combined with Justin Farrell’s design acumen, represent the driving force of the company’s innovative approach to modernizing chess.

Chessup’s Journey on Shark Tank

In an engaging episode of Shark Tank Season 14, ChessUp presented its innovative chess technology, capturing the interest of the Sharks, particularly Lori Greiner.

Pitch and Presentation

ChessUp founders Adam Roush and Jeff Wigh stepped into the Shark Tank on Friday, December 9, at 8 PM ET, seeking an investment to scale their AI-based smart chess board. They confidently demonstrated ChessUp, detailing its functionality and market potential. The founders asked the Sharks for $300K for a 5% equity, setting their company’s valuation at $6 million.

Sharks’ Reception and Deal

The Sharks scrutinized the ChessUp pitch, with Lori Greiner showing significant interest. Despite this, negotiations were tough, considering the valuation and the figures presented. Sales figures and the brand’s trajectory were examined, and the founders’ net worth played a role in the discussions. After a series of counteroffers, ChessUp struck a deal with Lori, who offered the $300K but for a revised equity stake and included a royalty deal condition to the agreement. The partnership aimed to leverage Lori’s retail connections to expand ChessUp’s market presence.

Product Features and Experience

ChessUp is not just any chess board; it’s an innovative step forward in the realm of chess, merging technology with classic strategy. It provides an enriching experience for players of all skill levels, from the beginner eager to learn to the experienced player challenging themselves against advanced AI.

AI-powered Chess Board

The AI-powered chess board serves both as an opponent and as a chess instructor, adjusting to the user’s current skill level to provide a custom learning experience. With artificial intelligence at its core, this smart chess board delivers real-time feedback on potential moves, enhancing the player’s tactical understanding. Light indicators on the board illuminate possible moves, guiding beginners and offering insightful options to seasoned players.

Smartboard Technology and App

ChessUp’s smartboard technology is paired with a companion app that further enriches the learning experience. The app is integral for online play, connecting users to the lichess community for a wider range of opponents. Weighted pieces with light indicators provide a tactile experience, while the app records moves and offers instructions. The ChessUp Academy within the app is designed by world-class chess talent, providing lessons and strategies for continuous improvement. An internet connection opens up possibilities for regular updates and access to new features, ensuring users stay at the forefront of chess technology.

Commercial Aspects of Chessup

ChessUp’s journey in the commercial world is marked by strategic sales approaches and solidifying its market presence through customer engagement. The brand leverages various platforms to reach chess enthusiasts, ensuring a blend of educational and technological advancement in the timeless chess game.

Sales and Marketing Strategies

ChessUp, powered by Bryght Labs, has adopted a multi-channel approach to drive sales. Initially, the Kickstarter campaign served as a significant crowdfunding springboard, introducing ChessUp to potential backers and early adopters. Indiegogo also played a role in pre-market hype, leading to a successful campaign.

The sale strategy doesn’t end with crowdfunding. ChessUp ensures its availability on popular online retail platforms like Amazon, making it accessible to a broader audience. The brand has also put together a bundle, often including a carry bag and phone stand, enhancing the value proposition to customers, especially beginners who may need extra support.

Bryght Labs has set a competitive price point for ChessUp. This smart board is positioned to offer more than a traditional chess game; it incorporates lessons and strategies for players to improve their experience. ChessUp’s advanced technology recommends possible moves, elevating the experience for players at all levels.

Customer Feedback and Market Presence

Customer feedback plays a pivotal role in ChessUp’s market stance. The company often celebrates positive testimonials with virtual garage celebrations. Negative reviews are equally important, as they provide insights into cons the company might need to address, ensuring continuous product improvement.

ChessUp has established a remarkable market presence. The company’s official website,, not only serves as a storefront but also provides detailed product information and aids in brand visibility. ChessUp is not just for chess; it has ventured into checkers as well, appealing to enthusiasts of both games. Through these efforts, ChessUp has created a brand synonymous with an enhanced gaming experience and educational value.