Cycloramic’s Bruno François navigates the Shark Tank to raise $500K for 15%

Feb 3, 2014
Vote on Hacker News

If you haven’t seen it yet, Cycloramic cofounder Bruno François‘s performance on Shark Tank last night is a must-see. Not only is François one of the first French founders to appear on the show, but he had all 5 of the “Sharks” at his mercy, and ultimately walked away with $500K for 15%, instead of the $90k for 5% he was looking for.

If you’ve never seen the show, the concept is simple (and addicting for entrepreneurs & investors alike) – entrepreneurs pitch in front of 5 business angels, called “Sharks,” who then negotiate live on the show with the founder. Some walk away with money, most don’t.

For Bruno François, the appearance was not only beneficial from an investment standpoint – he now counts billionaire investor Mark Cuban among his investors – but also from a marketing standpoint: 9to5Mac reported that Cycloramic jumped to the top of the app store, getting more than 100,000 downloads in an hour (that’s paid downloads).

The technology impressed the sharks, though I must admit that, having tried that app about 6 months ago, I wasn’t too impressed. The app manipulates the motor which vibrates the phone in order to turn the phone about 10° at a time; I gave up after trying the app on three different surfaces, although I’m sure it works for most people just fine. As Cuban pointed out on the show, the fate of the app is likely acquisition by an Instagram aut al. who can bring a new feature to their community – the fact that Cycloramic has patented the technology, and is working on patenting a case that will work on any smartphone, is hopeful, but I’m still skeptical of the number of use cases where I will put my phone down 10-15 feet from me and have it take a picture for about 30-45 seconds.

The video is a good opportunity for