ZOMM Bluetooth Personal Concierge Laurie & Henry Penix

ZOMM Personal concierge

A Personal Concierge is something some of the Sharks may have in their lives, but entrepreneurs Laurie and Henry Penix hope their company, Zomm, will bring that level of service to the masses. Tech-related businesses have fared well in the Shark Tank; perhaps a blue-tooth enabled device that acts as a wireless leash for a cell phone, a blue tooth speaker phone, a personal safety device, and a personal concierge can get the sharks circling for some made-for-TV, venture capital prey.

The birth of ZOMM

Neccessity is the mother of invention and Laurie Penix had an epiphany one day when a friend called looking to borrow a cell phone; it seems her husband had misplaced his and couldn’t find it (who hasn’t had that happen). In a great “AHA moment,” Laurie and her husband, Henry, believed they were on to something. What if your cell phone had a leash? (We have six phones in our house- I need a cargo net!) They set out to explore Bluetooth technology, assembled a formidable technical team, and took their concept from an idea in their home to “to a functional, mass-producible, high-end consumer product in less than a year.” ZOMM also won a CES Innovation award in 2010. The company is cleverly named after Laurie: ZOMM stands for Zac, Olivia and Madison’s Mom!

What does ZOMM Personal Concierge do?

ZOMM is, first and foremost, a “wireless leash” for your mobile phone; it alerts you when you are more than 30 feet from your phone. It’s kind of like a “reverse clapper” for mobile phones. It’s also a fully functioning speakerphone that attaches to a mobile phone via bluetooth. ZOMM is also a personal safety device that lets out a shrieking alarm if you are faced with a dangerous situation. It can also dial 911 with the touch of a button and even play a recorded “send help” message if you are unable to speak.

This personal concierge feature is what makes ZOMM more than just another gadget. The safety alarm is only one feature of this device/service. Remember the old “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials? ZOMM takes that level of monitoring and technology and enables it with a mobile phone. The service also sends out emails and texts to people on a designated list, keeping them up to date on developments during an emergency situation. A new application of the personal concierge feature provides “tags,” quarter sized discs which can be placed in a purse, luggage or anything else you don’t want to lose. Just like the cell phone, if you move 30 feet away from one of the tags, an alert signal will sound letting you know you’ve left something important behind. This little device, which is all enclosed on a key ring fob, does quite a bit, just don’t lose those keys!

Will the Sharks Nom on ZOMM?

The Shark Tank is all about valuation and a proper valuation is going to be very important in this pitch. This is one of those companies that comes on to the show, but doesn’t necessarily need the money, at least not from the Sharks. The business is already global, with offices in the UK, Germany, and Oklahoma. They are selling ZOMM in the USA, Canada, Europe, most of Africa, Australia, and China. With the addition of new services, like the personal concierge, they could piggy back on many of the sales they have already made. The gadget has been out for a few years now and, like any new technology, has received mixed reviews. Some folks love the ZOMM, others find it conflicting with other bluetooth functionality in cars or headsets. There will also be concerns about global scalability for the personal concierge services. The sharks, always eager to draw some blood in the Shark Tank, will undoubtedly fire a slew of objections at the entrepreneurs before they even think of making an offer.

As we have seen before on Shark Tank, “sales cures all,” and if the company is moving units and can demonstrate the ability to up-sell the personal concierge and other services to existing customers, they’ll spark an offer. Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec would be likely suitors as they all have some high tech expertise. I think they’ll all make offers, the question is will Laurie and Henry Penix take them. Earlier this year, we saw BuggyBeds cut a deal with all five sharks. They didn’t “need” to do a deal, but they made one to accelerate the growth of their business via access to the Sharks’ various networks. ZOMM could be in a similar place and may be willing to part with 20-25% of the business to explode growth and grow new services like the personal concierge. Laurie and Henry Penix didn’t just jump off the turnip truck, they are smart and savvy business people who will likely be able to field a shark attack. It will all come down to valuation.

 

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

Comments

  1. The downside is the – once again with small devices – battery life. This unit when recharging also loses bluetooth connection – sorry pass

  2. Frank Dambra says

    The invention that Henry and Laurie Penix claim was an idea I submitted to Davison Invention Comapny in 2009 – This is the same premise but my invention is a Magic Beeper. They went
    forward with this idea after my submission which I saved and kept. I will now look into a
    possible lawsuit against Zomm

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