Krystal Persaud created GroupHug to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Krystal observed that the renewable energy trend was becoming increasingly popular worldwide. However, people living in city apartments faced difficulty accessing solar panels. This was Krystal’s inspiration that led to the creation of GroupHug.
A Graduate of Georgia Tech in Industrial Design, Persaud worked at LittleBits for six years. This was an electrical education-based toy maker company based in New York. She always had a passion for starting her own business. Persaud felt strongly about sustainable energy and wanted to develop a product that would give city dwellers access to solar power. Quitting her job designing toys, she decided to pursue a career in sustainability and ultimately began her own company.
After conversing with people, she realized apartment living made access to solar energy quite difficult. People living in apartments did not have enough space to install solar panels. This inspired her to create GroupHug. GroupHug products are solar panels that look like picture frames. They can be hung by a sunny window and charge electronic devices with USB ports. These include phones, tablets, etc. When the sun hits the solar panel, it generates energy. This energy is stored within an internal battery of the solar panel. Thus, you can charge a device anytime, day or night. Multiple users can also charge their devices.
GroupHug devices are designed to create value for consumers and also help them fulfill their social and environmental responsibility.
Persaud’s concept of GroupHug was to create solar panels that resemble toys. She wanted to create solar panels that could provide essential energy for daily use, which also look beautiful and could be hung in an apartment.
Persaud believes GroupHug products can change the way people perceive renewable energy. She believes these products are effective, look good, and offer baby steps towards completely adopting renewable energy. GroupHug’s flagship product is a window solar charger the size of a piece of paper. It consists of solar panels and a battery built into a bamboo frame. The battery takes eight hours to charge. Once charged, it has enough power to charge an iPhone twice.
Persaud launched GroupHug in June 2019. She started a Kickstarter campaign and generated $80,000 in sales.
How Did the Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Krystal Persaud walked into the Shark Tank, hoping for $150,000 in return for 10% equity of her company. During the episode, she passed out samples and explained the product to the sharks. Persaud had not completely fulfilled her Kickstarter orders when the show was taped. She informed the Sharks that she needed the investment to boost production and reduce manufacturing costs.
After Persaud’s presentation, the Sharks felt it was too early to invest in GroupHug. They were also slightly unsure of the product as deliveries to customers had not yet been fully made.
Lori Greiner appreciated Persaud’s efforts but wasn’t sure how the product would turn out in the market. She was skeptical about how people would regard it. Therefore she backed out from making an offer.
Shark Corcoran stated that he loved Persaud’s presentation, but Persaud still had a long way to go. He backed out as well.
Mark Cuban was interested in the product and told Persaud she was impressive. He thought there was an upside to the GroupHug concept, but it still needed a lot of work. He offered $150,000 for a 25% equity in the company. Persaud accepted Mark Cuban’s offer.
Is GroupHug an Active Company?
GroupHug is still an active company. Mark and Persaud closed their deal and kept in touch through weekly emails.
Pros of GroupHug
- GroupHug products provide an alternative energy source and a step towards a more sustainable future.
- Apartments can utilize solar energy through solar panels without space being an issue.
- GroupHug devices can charge your phones and tablets easily.
- The devices are small in size and high in functionality.
Cons of GroupHug
- The GroupHug devices only charge other devices that have a USB port, as yet.
Who Is GroupHug for?
GroupHug products are for anyone passionate about renewable energy and creating a sustainable future. These days solar panels require a lot of space and have high installation costs. With GroupHug, you can use solar panels to charge your devices and become a user of renewable energy. The primary concept of GroupHug is to provide people with solar panels that are affordable and small in size. GroupHug makes solar panels easily accessible and easy to fit in your homes. This company urges people to take baby steps in transitioning towards a sustainable world that utilizes renewable energy and eliminates dependency on fossil fuels.
GroupHug also creates customized solar panels in the shape of company logos or mascots.
GroupHug products can be useful for both homeowners and businesses. They can be installed at home or in public spaces without consuming too much space or the hassle of handling large batteries.
Are There Any Alternatives?
There aren’t many alternatives to GroupHug at the moment. GroupHug products can be customized to the needs of business owners and homeowners and can be used by multiple users. These small-sized products can be placed by windows or any other well-lit location. This unique product is priced moderately, thus working in consumers’ favor.
The Jackery SolarSaga can count as an alternative to GroupHug products. It was founded in 2012 and specialized in green power solutions, especially for explorers. It can be used to power smartphones, tablets, and digital cameras.
Our Final Thoughts
People living in urban settings are sometimes deprived of the convenience of solar panels due to a lack of space. GroupHug products provide the perfect solution to this. With their line of portable, small solar panels, city dwellers and apartment dwellers can now use solar panels.
These products can be placed on windows or other well-lit areas and provide energy for electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and cameras. With her partnership with Mark Cuban, Krystal Persaud has a myriad of possibilities before her.