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Busy Box

busy boxSteve Skillin and Conor Smith seek an investor for Busy Box, their digital do not disturb sign, in Shark Tank episode 1321. Skillin invented the product in March, 2020 at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic induced lockdowns. He was working from home and kept getting interrupted, so he printed a prototype with his 3D printer, then he contacted a friend to make it digital.

Busy Box is basically an illuminated box with the word “busy” displayed on it. There are two versions: The “S’ and the “D.” The “S” version has six slide in signs with messages like “busy” or “recording.” The “D ” version is digital and you can type custom messages on its screen with the accompanying app. There’s also a button (purchased separately) that can turn the box on or off remotely. The “D” costs $299, the “S” costs $129 and the button is $39.

They got the business going with a successful IndieGoGo campaign that raised $332,202 back in September, 2020. Unfortunately, the global supply chain issues and the global chip shortage made fulfilling the orders a quagmire. The problem  continues to the present day. A day before the original air date, this message appeared on the company’s website:

Hello BusyBox fan. Due to the Global Chip Shortage we are experiencing ups and downs in production. As we get chips, we build product, but it is incredibly hard to forecast supply. We ship first-ordered, first-delivered, so please feel free to place your order knowing we will get it out just as soon as we can. Thank you for supporting small business through this crazy time!

While the global chip shortage is unpredictable, they’re hoping am Shark will chip in and help them.

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BusyBox – Smart Do Not Disturb Sign

Busy Box Shark Tank Recap

Steve enters the Shark Tank seeking $200,000 for 15% of their company. As he starts his pitch, Conor comes through a door onstage and interrupts him. Steve talks about the constant interruptions while four people were working at his home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Conor interrupts again and the Sharks chuckle. Conor interrupts yet again by knocking on the now “locked” door.

They explain how the box works. Next the Sharks examine their samples and Steve encourages them to dive in and play. When Steve says the product costs $299, the Sharks are dumbfounded. Sales for 2020 were $299,999 and they are at $129,000 mid way through 2021. Mark says he’s seen something similar and Steve says there are people making similar devices, but they don’t mount on the door. Steve talks about the inspiration for the product. When he went to find an old “on air” sign, he couldn’t find one. Steve’s vision is to build productivity products that bring wellness into the fold as well.

Mark thinks they’re all over the place; he’s out. Lori thinks the price is too high; she’s out. Robert thinks they hit a trend but he’s out too. Kevin wishes them the best and he goes out. Daymond doesn’t like the price either; he’s out.

Busy Box Shark Tank Update

The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show. On show night, fans on social media mocked the company saying they’d rather post a note on the door. People said the price was too high too. The company introduced the Busy Box Remote which has minimal functionality and changes preset messages with a remote control; the cost is $59. They also introduced the Busy Box Pixel in response to the global chip shortage. The Pixel displays in 8-bit style and costs $199. When the company appeared on Shark Tank, they were valued at $1.3 million. As of December, 2022, reliable revenue figures are unavailable.

The Shark Tank Blog will follow-up on Busy Box & Steve Skillin and Conor Smith as more details become available.

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