Online shopping has become the norm of our lives today. We keep receiving deliveries packages at our doorstep almost once or twice a week. Ever since online retail giants like Amazon and eBay were launched, many people have stopped going to brick and motor stores.
When we aren’t available to accept these deliveries personally, we usually ask the delivery person to keep the deliveries at our doorstep, so that we can collect them once we are back from work.
However, to our utter dismay, we find the packages missing when we come back. Since the packages are easily accessible, thieves have a gala day after robbing our items kept at our doorsteps.
When Brad Ruffkess, an Atlanta-based entrepreneur, faced a similar issue like this, he wanted to create something that would keep him safe from “porch pirates.” It’s a term he coined for robbers stealing things from porches of homes.
This gave him the idea of securing his deliveries so that no one except him or his family could access the package. Thus, BoxLock, a smart locking system, was born. This lock works with the internet and a mobile app to keep your deliveries locked inside a safe box that has to be used with this system.
Keep reading to know the latest updates about Brad’s startup!
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What is BoxLock?
BoxLock, as the name indicates, is a smart lock, which helps you keep your deliveries safe from porch pirates. You can connect this lock with your internet connection and control it from your mobile app for an added layer of protection.
In this locking system, you get a secure box, where your deliveries can be kept safe until you collect them personally.
As soon as you get a notification from the delivery driver that your package has been delivered to your porch, you can access the BoxLock app on your phone for the safety container to open.
The delivery driver places your parcel inside the box and notifies you of the same. You can then access your app to close the container safely. This way, you can rest assured knowing that your package would be safe in the box, inaccessible to the porch pirates, who are lurking around.
|Product||Smart lock system that works with internet and mobile app to safely lock doorstep deliveries in a box.|
|Investment Asking For||$1,000,000 in exchange for 5% share of equity in his business that was valued at $20m|
|Final Deal||No deal|
|Episode||Season 10 Episode 1|
|Business Status||In Business|
Who is the founder of BoxLock?
Brad Ruffkess, who considers him a lifelong entrepreneur, is the founder of the smart locking system of BoxLock.
After graduating in Computer Science and Communications from Tulane University in 2000, Brad worked at various corporate offices in areas of web solutions, strategy, and communications. His last corporate job was at The Coca-Cola Company.
In his 9-year stint with this company, he made remarkable changes in the fields of strategy, marketing, media, communications, and more.
In the year 2016, Brad worked in The Coca-Cola Company, and his wife in AT&T. Due to their jobs, they moved to a new and bigger home in Virginia Highlands.
Since they were unavailable at home during the day, they installed cameras to monitor their deliveries. Soon, Brad noticed that a “porch pirate” approached his doorstep within 15 minutes of the UPS driver delivering the package. The thief easily walked off with the package, as it was easily accessible to him.
That’s what triggered Brad to create smart padlocks in the form of his new brand, BoxLock.
As soon as the driver reaches your doorstep, you can then open the box at the click of a button in your app. Drivers would then safely drop the package in the box, after which you can remotely lock it again.
This also made Amazon, UPS, and other delivery drivers quite happy, because they received a far lesser number of missed delivery complaints than before.
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BoxLock before Shark Tank
Even before Brad appeared on Shark Tank, he had managed to get his business up and running, thanks to a Kickstarter (crowdfunding) campaign that he started early in 2018.
He raised about $54,000 through this campaign, which was enough to get the ball rolling. Brad managed to complete all the preorders he had received by August that year, which is quite impressive, indeed!
Most entrepreneurs who raise money through crowdfunding platforms don’t find success in fulfilling all their preorders. All the people who had funded BoxLock’s campaign satisfied Brad’s product quality and commitment.
How was the Shark Tank Pitch of BoxLock?
In the same year that he started his Kickstarter campaign and fulfilled his preorders, Brad appeared on Shark Tank to secure more funds and expand his business.
At that time, his firm was valued at $10 million. Brad had requested the sharks an investment of $1 million for a share of 5% equity in his business.
He explained to the sharks about his experience of losing his deliveries. As Brad rightly pointed out in his pitch, package thefts were happening all over the country.
Brad gave them statistical information that the cases of porch pirates running away with deliveries happened to 42% of people living in urban areas, 28% people living in suburban areas, and 18% people living in rural areas.
He brought his smart locks and receptacles (safety containers where packages would be kept) as samples to practically demonstrate how his product would keep people away from porch pirates.
He also told them that he wanted to replace the locking system that was currently popular in the market, Amazon Key. Amazon Key gives access to delivery drivers to unlock the front door of people to place the packages. However, Brad explained in this pitch that it wasn’t a safe practice and that most people didn’t want strangers to unlock their doors.
But the sharks didn’t pay much attention to the safety features or smart locking system of BoxLock. They were unimpressed about the huge valuation of the company. One of the sharks, Kevin O’ Leary, told Brad directly that he had made an absurd valuation of his firm.
Jaimie Siminoff was the first shark to refuse an advance to Brad as he thought that it would take a long time for customers to change their behavior towards accepting doorstep deliveries.
The other sharks, Mark Cuban and Daymond John felt that it wasn’t worth investing in BoxLock due to the steep learning curve of delivery drivers in using the smart locking system of the safety boxes.
The only other shark left was Lori Grenier. She seemed to be interested in Brad’s pitch. She even offered Brad a loan of $1,000,000 at an interest rate of 8% plus royalty.
She even tried to talk to Jaimie and reintroduce him back in business. Unfortunately, Jaimie didn’t agree as he didn’t want to do anything with the BoxLock.
The negotiation between Lori and Brad fell through as she rejected Brad’s counter offer. Brad’s sting with Shark Tank ended there without him striking any sort of deal.
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What happened to BoxLock after Shark Tank?
However, nothing stopped for Brad after Shark Tank. He approached some of the veterans in the field of shipping, logistics, and transportation for more funding. These veterans were former executives at DHL, Pitney Bowes, Amazon, and Microsoft.
Today, the board members of BoxLock include the following members are the following:
- Dan McHugh, former CEO of Livingston, Southern Air and DHL (Asia Pacific)
- Michael Monahan, former CEO/COO of Pitney Bowes
- Robert Williams, a former executive at Amazon and Microsoft
Some of the other major investors of BoxLock include experienced executives from TNT, uShip, Aramex, InXpress, and Maersk.
Thanks to all of these people who understood the seriousness of the package theft, Brad raised about $4.5million for Boxlock, more than 4 times what he had requested from Sharks.
Since these investors were involved with logistics and shipping, they knew that almost $83 billion worth of products were lost in parcel theft. So, they immediately recognized the huge potential behind something like BoxLock.
BoxLock Shark Tank Update
As per data available on November 2021, BoxLock’s total valuation stands at $13 million, a whopping $3 million more than the company’s valuation during its stint with Shark Tank.
This is proof enough for the growth and success of this business. Brad Ruffkess agrees that while the financial support of his investors is critical for his business, he is looking forward to implementing their advice and ideas in his business for the next phase of growth.
Is BoxLock still in business?
Yes, BoxLock is still in business and is doing quite successfully. Its website is up to date, and you can buy the smart locks & receptacles directly from the website.
Alternatively, you can also buy the lock from Amazon as well. Currently, BoxLock has also launched its B2B service, where it extends its services for making supply chains more efficient, reliable, accountable, and safe.