Indiana, PA - Indiana County

TOUGH CELL

by on March 09, 2013 10:50 AM

Well, the sharks didn’t bite.

None of the panelists on ABC’s reality show “Shark Tank” agreed to an offer to invest in a fledgling company that includes David Eldridge, of Blairsville.

Mike Kane and David Artuso, of Westmoreland County — donning plastic Viking helmets to play off their product’s name — asked the panel of wealthy investors for $160,000 for a 20 percent stake in a segment of the show that aired Friday evening.

Their invention, “Cellhelmet,” is a cellphone case engineered to take a beating and still protect your phone.

If it doesn’t live up to the guarantee, the company will repair or replace the phone for $50, far cheaper than buying a new phone. The case costs $44.99.

Kane said on the show that in four months, they have sold more than 1,300 units and raised about $60,000 in revenue.

The show was filmed in September. Since then, “we have started our progression from selling cases online to distributing cases to retailers across the country,” Eldridge said this morning. “Currently we are in 50-100 locations, and we are working on several different deals that would turn our number of retail locations into thousands.”

“It’s a horrible idea (for investors). It’s like buying insurance,” said Kevin O’Leary, one of the “sharks,” who said that if people take advantage of the company by buying the product after they have broken their phone, Cellhelmet would be a losing proposition.

Regardless of the outcome, Eldridge said, “I’m excited by the fact that we just exposed our brand to 7 million-plus viewers. Fifteen minutes of free advertising on ABC … is pretty amazing exposure.”

— Jason L. Levan— Randy Wells



News editor Jason Levan has been with the Gazette for more than 15 years. He oversees the newspaper’s reporting and photography staff, coordinating much of the local content, as well as planning for various special projects. He is also very involved in the layout and design of the newspaper. He can be reached at jlevan@indianagazette.net or (724) 465-5555, ext. 270.
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