The handheld HD video innovation Ring Cam was named the winner of JCK Las Vegas’ 2015 Shark Tank competition on Thursday.
The event, in its second year, is based on the hit TV show where inventors pitch their products to high-profile investors (aka “sharks”) in the hopes of procuring backing. In JCK’s version, five finalists pre-chosen by a JCK committee gave seven-minute presentations to a packed house of attendees who voted for their favorite. The prize: promotion at JCK Las Vegas, a trophy, and, of course, bragging rights.
This year’s contenders represented a wide variety of industry innovations, from a ring stabilizer to strides in 3-D printing. Last year’s winner, TracTech, was honored for its RFID-based inventory-tracking technology.
Ring Cam—a small, simple-looking black ring box equipped to capture high-definition video footage and audio recording of a proposal—won with 33 percent of the votes. Founder Sam Tzou’s presentation included a (faux) proposal to JCK editor-in-chief and moderator Victoria Gomelsky, plus clips from some of the 2,000 proposal videos couples have shared in the eight months since Ring Cam debuted. The current business model is a rental one, $99 for three weeks, direct to customers online and to 80 retail stores.
The runner-up, with 29 percent of the vote, was U.K.-based manufacturer and e-tailer Cooksongold, for its precious-metal 3-D printer. Created in collaboration with the German 3-D printing company EOS, the machine—which uses spherical gold powders made from recycled gold—promises to eliminate the need for molds in the design process. The excitement in the room was palpable after the presentation, though the price tag (nearly $250,000) elicited more than a few gasps.
Opticwash presented Jewelrywash, a self-serve kiosk that cleans jewelry without chemicals, heat, or pressure, using only ultraviolet light and filtered water.
Jenny Moore’s BlingGuard brand offered two products: BlingWraps, disposable hypo-allergenic bands that keep your rings in place; and BlingDots, earring stabilizers that act as a “push-up bra for earrings.” They retail for $14.99 each, though Moore said some retail clients give them free with jewelry purchases.
Clearly-You, which makes handblown glass jewelry with diamonds floating in a proprietary viscous fluid, presented a tablet-based in-store display that allows retailers to showcase the entire line and connect with customers through personality-themed quizzes.
After the votes were in, the day wasn’t done for competitors, as retailers crowded around for demos and business-card exchanges. And for Ring Cam’s Tzou, it was back to the booth, where he had even more videos to share.