popSLATE from Shark Tank

popSLATE shark tank

If you have an iPhone, you’ll know what it is all about- class, luxury, and performance. These attributes set iPhones apart from other smartphones available in the market. Who knew that someone out of nowhere could devise an idea to maximize the performance of iPhones like never before, taking them to a whole new level.

Well, we are talking about popSLATE, founded by Yashar Behzadi. popSLATE is a case for phones that turns an iPhone’s backside into a functional hub with multiple features you can access without having to unlock your phone. These features include an e-reader, a clock, and an extra battery source.

With popSLATE, the iPhone’s backside will not remain useless. Users of popSLATE can enjoy added functionality and features without unlocking their phones multiple times a day.

The popSLATE e-reader borrows the functionality from the Kindle technology to provide a lit screen with low power. Moreover, users can also customize the features they want on their screens. It uses the charging portal of the iPhone to charge the device and simultaneously provides a solid exterior to the device that can withstand wear and tear.

Indeed, the added features and functionality at the backside of the iPhone make this popSLATE unique product like no other in the market, at least now.

However, before its launch, Yashar Behzadi needed funds to get popSLATE to the market. Hence, he started an IndieGoGo campaign through which he raised an impressive $1,091,204 in March 2016. It was good money for starters; however, he nonetheless decided to take his idea to the Shark Tank to raise more funds for the first batch of popSLATE’s production.

How Did the Shark Tank Pitch Go?

The pitch for popSLATE by Yashar Behzadi was intense and impressive simultaneously. He went to the show to seek a $500,000 investment by offering five percent equity in his company. His pitch focused on how the remarkable piece of real estate behind the iPhone was unclaimed and how he could transform it into a supremely functional space with his product popSLATE.

Yashar claimed that through his product, iPhone users would have easy access to everything they wanted at the back and without unlocking their phones, such as:

  1. Calendars
  2. Recipes
  3. Maps
  4. To-do list
  5. Text messages

popSLATE was designed to provide users with a 24/7 feed of information like no other. After his pitch, the Sharks bombarded him with questions for clarification and explanation about his idea.

Robert Herjavec wanted to know the value popSLATE offered customers, to which Yashar explained that popSLATE saved customers time by providing customized iPhone screens. Mark Cuban cornered Yashar and wanted to know the cost and price of his product. He exclaimed that the cost was $80 while selling it for $129. However, the cost could be reduced to $41 if he got large orders.

On the other hand, Lori Greiner questioned Yashar on how he would balance the cost of his product to provide casing to major phone brands. However, he mentioned that his primary focus was iPhone6 and iPhone6 Plus.

Though some of the Sharks like Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher thought that Yashar’s idea was a killer, they still did not make an offer because they were worried about popSLATE’s Apple dependency and pricing. Likewise, they also thought that as the phones were evolving at the speed of light, his idea would fall flat and become obsolete in no time. Hence, the Sharks rejected the idea, and Yashar had to walk out without a deal.

Are They Still An Active Company?

No, the company is not active anymore. Here’s what happened: Though the pitch made on the Shark Tank wasn’t a success, it did give Yashar’s product hype. Also known as the Shark Tank effect, popSLATE soon became the talk of the town. The product experienced a massive increase in sales after airing on the TV show.

However, when they announced popSLATE 2, things became messy. The company got $1.1 million in funds to manufacture it. But after investing a huge sum into preparing the device, they experienced several technical issues in prototype design. Also, popSLATE was prompted by Apple to redesign it to be compatible with iPhone 6 and 7.

The prototypes designed by popSLATE, unfortunately, failed to pass Apple’s rigorous certification testing. This was because the device diminished the ability of the phone to receive or send RF transmissions. Plus, it didn’t charge the phone reliably. Hence, they suspended operations, gave refunds, and eventually entered the legal process of dissolving the company.

Our Review of popSLATE

After trying the product, we think it is a good addition, but there is so much more the product can offer. popSLATE works using the Pop application. This app is available on Apple’s App Store. You can use the app to create an account and view or display images on the e-ink screen. Besides this, popSLATE can be used for functions like viewing your agendas on the daily calendar, viewing your to-do list, and digital boarding passes.

However, as the display is not intuitive and touch-sensitive, users can’t interact. This limits the performance of popSLATE.

Pros of popSLATE

  1. Attractive Design
  2. Impressive features and functions
  3. Customization option

Cons of popSLATE

  1. Pricey
  2. Limited functionality
  3. Non-interactive interface

Who Is popSLATE for?

It is perfect for those iPhone users who want added performance on the backside of their phones. Plus, it’s also useful for users who want quick access to features they’d use on the go without unlocking the phone every single time.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There is no competitor of popSLATE in the market yet. However, YotaPhone’s e-ink display can be viewed as a similar product for Android users.

Our Final Thoughts

In conclusion, we believe Yashar’s popSLATE had the potential to go big and maximize sales if he continued to innovate and improve the functionality of his offering and had more funds.

The new addition of popSLATE 2 seemed promising with the feature to charge the phone and case simultaneously. However, to become a major success, the company needed more time to spend on testing and modification tools which they didn’t. Not only did the company fail to raise funds, but it also didn’t fulfill the backers’ orders. Hence, the company eventually had to shut down. However, this did not stop Yashar. He is now the founder and CEO of Synthesis AI.