Robert Allison brings his passion for saving lives, and his product, Life Belt, to Shark Tank episode 102. Allison has taken out a patent on his product, which is designed to stop drivers from operating their vehicle without first buckling their seat belt. When properly installed, the Life Belt system actually prevents the car from starting. He created the Life Belt after a loved one lost a sister to a car crash.
Allison owns a patent on his product, putting him in a strong position to bargain, but will he be able to ensnare a Shark deal for Life Belt?
Life Belt Shark Tank Recap
Allison comes before the Sharks asking for a $500,000 investment, in return for a 10% stake in the company. His vision is to put the Life Belt in as many cars as possible. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death in the country, and a properly worn shoulder harness can reduce the chances of fatality as much as 86%. Allison believes his product will save lives.
The Sharks are sympathetic, and Kevin Harrington loves the product and wants to know more about the cost and profit margin. Allison explains that he has a local shop installing them, at a cost of $229. Harrington feels the installed cost is a little high. He wants to know if the average person could install the unit themselves. Allison says yes, they could. Robert Herjavec loves the idea, but thinks taking one to a mechanic for installation is too much trouble.
Kevin O'Leary asks why Allison hasn't gone to the major car manufacturers and offered the patent to them. Allison says that at least one of the Big Three American auto makers is very interested, but he's concerned that it will take them five or more years to begin installing the Life Belt in new cars. He's not willing to wait that long. Barbara Corcoran says that she loves the product, but doesn't see him selling the product. She's out. Harrington follows on the basis of the valuation represented by his request. Daymond John goes out for the same reason.
Allison turns down the offer. Kevin O'Leary asks if there's any price. Allison says yes – he wants to make the company a national brand. He doesn't want the product to be purchased and sit on a shelf. Herjavec tells him that the last thing any of the Sharks would do is put the product on the shelf, that they want to get it out on the market so they can make money. He still refuses to sell.
Allison leaves the Shark Tank with full ownership of his Life Belt product, and no Shark deal.
Life Belt Shark Tank Update
Soon after the Shark Tank appearance, Allison signed a “multi-million dollar” deal with a Texas chain of auto dealerships. The dealerships were to offer the product to their customers on all the cars, new and used, that they sold.
Today, there's no sign of the Life Belt on the dealership's websites, and the only presence online is a website, but without the option to buy the product. It seems that, in spite of Allison's lofty ideals, the life-saving product was never brought to the market in a meaningful manner.