Cuddletunes is a bear with an MP3 player that can play any music. The website has an easy cloud recording, which allows the parents and grandparents to record loving messages, prayers, or songs, and download them on the bear. The children can listen to these any time on the cuddly bear.
Michael Robinson is the technology entrepreneur behind Cuddletunes. He felt the need to have a toy that would allow his kids to listen to his voice when he was not there for them. It was because he was a business traveler and traveled a lot.
He designed the product as a means of improving relationship between families and children through songs, stories and human voice.
What Do They Make?
The bears have built-in MP3 players and speakers, which produce a high-quality sound. They have easy buttons and have a free personalization option on their website.
What Makes Them Unique?
The user needs to create an account on their website and record a story, or lullaby that they want to send to their child’s teddy bear. The sound can then be played for free from the website, or bought as an MP3 soundtrack.
Since the soundtrack gets preloaded into the built-in music player of the Cuddletunes teddy bear, there is also an option of customizing your bear.
Are They Still an Active Company?
Michael did not score a deal with any of the Sharks. He later revealed that half of his sales were contributed to families of deployed soldiers and grandparents.
The Shark Tank effect gave his business a good boost shortly after its appearance on the show, but it was short-lived and the business was closed in 2016.
How Did the Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Michael Robinson began his pitch by introducing the Cuddletunes bears. He said that the bear will help millions of families stay closer and change their bedtime forever.
He explained that inside the bear there is a web-connected audio system, which allows the user to send their recordings to their children anytime and from anywhere. The bears also have an MP3 player which plays music personalized to the child’s name.
He stressed that the sound quality is top-notch. He explained how Cuddletunes was simple to operate, and how the customers could record anything they wanted through their easy-to-use website. They could upload audiobooks onto the website and the child could listen to them through their own Cuddletunes bears.
Michael came to the Shark Tank show asking for $400K for 20% equity in his business. He explained that he designed the toy as a means to be close to his kids. Michael was holding a Cuddletunes teddy bear in his hand. He also demonstrated how it worked; by pressing play and letting the Sharks hear his own voice coming out of the teddy bear.
Michael explained that he needed the investment from Sharks to scale up his business, as his product was already developed.
He said that he invested about $1 million in the business over the course of 3 years, and that some of his investment money is the actual value of his time. This puts off the Sharks.
Barbara asked him to clear his point, and he said that he has actually invested $500,000 in the business production. Robert also commented that it is his biggest pet peeve when people regard their time as money while starting a new business.
The Sharks asked him about his sales figures and he dodged their question. This made them edgy and irritated.
Michael elaborated that out of 33,000 people who visited his website, he sold the bears to about 9% of them. This impressed the Sharks until Michael revealed that the traffic landed on his website through social coupon ads that he has been running, offering the bears at a 50% discount.
It was inevitable that the Sharks would swim away quickly after that.
Barbara told him that when her dad used to record songs on a tape player and she listened to them when he wasn’t with her, it made her sad instead of comforting her. She was the first Shark out.
Mark felt that there was nothing special about the product and the business; he didn’t make an investment either. He also told Michael that it was only the discount that was driving traffic to his website.
Daymond and Robert were the next Sharks to go out.
Kevin also thought that there was nothing in the business worth his investment, hence he was out as well. He bluntly told Michael that he wouldn’t hand him $400,000 because Michael did not have an actual customer acquisition and he had never done real marketing for his product.
Our Review of Cuddletunes
The bears are plushy and much safer than televisions or computers that can have a harmful effect on a child’s health. They are great toys for parents and grandparents who cannot be with their children. It makes it easier for them to reach out to their loved ones.
Pros of Cuddletunes
- Multiple people can record their voice and play them through a single teddy bear.
- The USB can be neatly tucked in the back of the bear’s body so that there are no messy cords lying around.
Cons of Cuddletunes
- Many people think that the idea of an MP3 player in a teddy player is useless and expensive. Recording your voice and playing it on a recorder gives the same comfort to children.
Who is Cuddletunes For?
Cuddletunes is beneficial for parents who travel a lot or are working in another country, and cannot be present every night by their child’s side. It also makes a lovely gift for kids by their grandparents who want the children to hear their voice and songs through the teddy bear.
Parents of sick kids can use these bears to help them fall asleep at night, while listening to bedtime prayers or lullabies.
Are There Any Alternatives?
- PERSONAL Recordable Plush 15″ Talking Teddy Bear. Brand: Bear Factory
- WowWee Pinkfong Baby Shark Official Song Cube
- Disney Frozen Find My Nose 14-inch Olaf Plush, by Just Play
Our Final Thoughts
The reason why Michael never secured a deal from the Sharks was that he did not provide them actual facts and that is the reason most of them did not trust him and his business.
The Cuddletunes received positive reviews along with some negative ones as well, but the bears are no longer available on Amazon and their website.