How was PhoneSoap Started?
Cousins Wes LaPorte and Dan Barnes, PhoneSoap inventors
The year it all began. Both Wes and Dan were attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Wes was studying Life Science, and Dan was studying Business Marketing. It was during this time that they watched a TV report claiming a shocking percentage of cell phones were contaminated with fecal matter. Wes was spending that year in school doing cancer research in the science labs on campus, so he and Dan swabbed and tested their phones to see for themselves; their results proved the report to be accurate. It was then that they began to strategize a solution.
With Wes’ science background and Dan’s Business Marketing education, they began entering competitions at BYU. They entered several and eventually won for Student Innovator of the Year. Shortly thereafter they were invited to participate in the Rice Business Plan Competition at Rice University in Houston, Texas where they won for best marketing. With the money won for each competition they entered, Wes and Dan began building the first prototype.
With the knowledge that others thought their idea was worth pursuing, Wes and Dan utilized the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to raise money for the production and distribution of the first batch of PhoneSoap units. In the end they raised $63,000, 3.5x their original goal of $18,000.
The first batch of PhoneSoap V1 was manufactured in China.
PhoneSoap officially goes to market! In their first year, PhoneSoap sold 22,349 units.
This year started off with a bang – a feature on Shark Tank! PhoneSoap was fortunate enough to receive three offers and ultimately chose Lori Greiner as their partner. Lori was confident that the product would be wildly successful on the television shopping network, QVC. She wasn’t wrong, and soon the team began to grow and more products were created. That fall, Wes and Dan successfully funded yet another Kickstarter – this time for the PhoneSoap XL, a UV sanitizer for tablets. Their goal this time was to raise $30,000, but they ended up with over $65,000.
Shark Tank Pitch
Shark Tank Update
PhoneSoap V2 and PhoneSoap XL were launched and shipped out.
To date, PhoneSoap has sold over one million units and continues to grow at a rapid speed. In the past three years, another version of the smartphone sanitizer have been released as well as two more models – PhoneSoap Wireless and PhoneSoap Go, as well as screen-cleaning accessories like the PhoneSoap Shine and Microfiber Pad 3-pack.