5 min read
From racing in NASCAR on the high banks of Daytona to scuba diving in caves, and pretty much every adrenaline-fueled adventure you can think of, co-founders Kevin Conway and Josh Inglis live the ‘Adventure More, Worry Less’ mantra of PHOOZY.
It was only a matter of time before they swam with Sharks.
On Friday, April 2, 2021, PHOOZY was featured on ABC’s award-winning hit show Shark Tank, a culmination of four years of relentless product innovation and brand creation.
So how did these entrepreneurs go from racing cars and being an executive in big corporate to entering the tank?
It was, in fact, rocket science
Kevin Conway was a professional race car driver, competing internationally at the highest level of motorsports, including NASCAR, while surfing, wakeboarding and snowboarding in his spare time. He was tired of his iPhone overheating in the heat of the summer months and his battery dying and phone shutting down in cold conditions when he was snowboarding. After searching for a solution, he realized there wasn’t a product that could meet his needs. Out of this search, the vision and goal of PHOOZY was born.
Utilizing a layered matrix of materials inspired by NASA-engineered spacesuits and the expertise of aerospace engineers, Kevin developed a phone case that was not only drop-proof, climate-proof and water-resistant, but also offered an extra level of protection that even the best phone sleeves do not: float protection, which means this floating phone case is sink proof, too.
After the initial prototypes were developed, Kevin reached out to a longtime friend, digital marketing expert and fellow thrill-seeker, Josh Inglis. Equipped with an idea, a couple of very rough prototypes and the knowledge that he couldn’t do this alone, Kevin convinced Josh to join the PHOOZY team as a co-founder and chief operating officer.
Since then, the dynamic duo has grown PHOOZY into the #1 selling protection against the damaging effects of extreme temperatures for mobile devices. Boasting thermal protection, float protection, drop protection and, as of 2020, germ protection, the PHOOZY continues to innovate and essentially render your phone, tablet or laptop fully adventure proof.
But is it Shark proof?
Before PHOOZY could answer that question, they had to get in the tank.
“Our most-asked question is ‘When are you going to go on Shark Tank?’ And while I agreed that it would be great to pitch our company to Shark Tank, it’s not that easy,” says Kevin.
In 2018, they applied for Shark Tank and after months of waiting, the show finally contacted them for more information. “I remember when Kevin told me Shark Tank called and said they were interested,” recalls Josh. “We were really excited and ready to get to work on our pitch.”
Months went by and still no word from Shark Tank. “It was like being ghosted by the girl you wanted to go out with and were working hard to impress,” jokes Kevin. “It was definitely a bummer but just another part of the highs and lows of starting a company.”
As PHOOZY continued to grow and introduce new products to the market, Kevin decided to apply again in early 2020. “I thought to myself, you know, the biggest reason I have been successful in life is because of persistence and tenacity,” says Kevin. “Let’s apply again because you just never know. What’s the worst that could happen?”
After applying for the second time, PHOOZY got the call again, but this time it was different. They went through a lengthy process with the Shark Tank team and filled out a mountain of paperwork, unsure of what the outcome would be, especially at the height of a global pandemic. “It was stressful because it’s an opportunity that you dream of as an entrepreneur,” states Josh.
Finally, after two years of trying, uncertain if Shark Tank Season 12 would even happen due to the pandemic, they got the call that they would be entering the tank to pitch PHOOZY. “We immediately got to work because we knew our greatest challenge was still ahead of us,” says Kevin.
So, what’s their biggest piece of advice for getting on Shark Tank?
Every Shark Tank entrepreneur endures a long and arduous process with many rounds of auditions, each round presenting unknown challenges with little to no prep time. According to USA Today, 40,000 companies apply each season with 158 companies earning the opportunity to pitch to the Sharks, and only 88 of those making it to air.
It may sound like a bit of a long shot, but PHOOZY co-founders urge fellow entrepreneurs to apply and don’t get discouraged.
“I would strongly encourage entrepreneurs to go to abc.com/shark-tank/apply and just apply,” says Kevin. “It’s never the perfect time in life or business. Never give up.”
It’s less about timing and more about a company’s “why.” Every entrepreneur has their own unique journey. What is it about your product that sets you apart? Why is this product important to you? What set you on this path? What’s the story behind your adventure?
“We remained persistent, stayed focused on growing our company and applied a second time,” adds Josh. “And we finally entered the tank!”
Up next: Learn how they survived an attack by America’s most famous entrepreneurial Sharks!