Gauri Nanda and her partner Audrey Hill turn down Shark Tank’s producers by saying, “thanks, but no thanks.”
This was when the show’s producers first approached the duo to be on the show. Both women believe that it is best to be perfect first before entering the show.
After much hard work and anticipation, Nanda calls the producers later and decides to be in the show. Much to their surprise and hard work, Gauri Nanda seals a whopping $600,000 deal with Chris and Lori at the show.
Toymail is currently out of business after the company announced bankruptcy in 2018, but the products are still available for sale on Amazon and other websites.
Toymail continues to be one of the businesses on Shark Tank that made huge profits despite shutting down a few years later.
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What is Toymail?
How convenient it is to easily communicate with kids when parents are out somewhere. With an aim to change the way kids communicate, Toymail manufactures Talkies that are WiFi-enabled and enables parents and children to send messages.
These talkies are plush toys that kids enjoy playing with and come with a button on their backs. Kids can deliver voice or text messages to their parents at the click of a button.
The talkies are now connected to a Toymail app that parents can easily download from the Android or iOS playstore.
It allows groups/ parents to deliver messages to their kids through the app, along with delivering messages across two talkies.
Toymail manufactures three sizes of talkies and sells them under different price ranges. Weenies are the smallest in size, costing only $15, and can fit onto a keychain.
Talkies are the largest in size, costing $59, and send texts and voice messages. The Teensies are the mini version of Talkies and cost only $10. They don’t send messages but only record a child’s voice.
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|Entrepreneur||Gauri Nanda and Audry Hill|
|Product||Talkies as plush toys|
|Investment Asking For||$250,000 for 2.5% stake|
|Final Deal||%600,000 for 5% stake|
|Sharks||Chris Sacca and Lori Greiner|
|Business Status||Out of business|
Who Is The Founder Of Toymail?
Gauri Nanda and Audry Hill co-founded Toymail with the intention to enable parents to connect with their kids in a safe and screen-free way.
The brain behind the idea is Gauri, who has a history of inventing innovative products for everyday use. Gauri is a first-generation American whose parents moved to the US with only %10 in hand.
She aspires to become a successful entrepreneur, just like her parents. While a student at MIT, Gauri invented an alarm clock called Clockie that would run around the room instead of just clocking. The Clockie becomes an instant hit, and very soon, Gauri finds investors for her product.
Being a mother of three kinds, Audry strongly feels how toys can become evolving characters, composites of all the important people in her kids’ lives.
To accomplish such a thought, she teams up with Gauri to make toys that are not only meant for playing but for communication too.
Gauri admires Audry for her efficiency and simply comments on how Audry is the smart person she knows.
As Toymail becomes the talk of the town after it hits the stores, the producers of Shark Tank approach the duo for the show, but they refuse because they feel they are not ready yet.
But, soon after, Gauri Nanda is on her way to star in Shark Tank and hopes to impress the sharks with her pitch.
Toymail Before Shark Tank
Toymail was founded in 2013 by Gauri Nanda and Audry Hill, who wanted to change the way parents and kids communicated through gadgets.
Without much funds at hand, the duo started a Kickstarter campaign that became a major hit, and the campaign raised $83,341 in total.
This money was used to fund the first round of production that showed major sales in the market. Prior to this, Gauri Nanda developed a non-conventional alarm clock while still a student at MIT.
The clock had net sales worth $10,000 and still continues to be a high-selling product in the market.
Toymail makes its entrance on Shark Tank with an asset of investors such as Amazon and Verizon, who are investing a total of $1.6 million in the company.
Such an investment by powerful investors means that the sharks will likely become impressed by the pitch.
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How Was The Shark Tank Pitch Of Toymail?
Gauri Nanda walks on stage after a young girl holding a toy. She introduces herself and her friend Ellie who will be helping her during the pitch.
She gives a brief overview of the company, its objectives, and how she’s looking for a $250,000 investment with a 2.5% stake in the company.
After hearing this, Mark and Daymond cringe and let out a heavy sigh. Gauri continues with her pitch and explains how Toymail is all about bringing families together without a phone but talkies. She points at Ellie to show a demonstration of how it’s done.
Ellie presses the toy in her hand and sends a message to her dad, to which Kevin lets out a chuckle along with the other sharks, but Lori jots down points, looking unimpressed.
Gauri then talks about the app for the talkie by showing a video representation on screen and sending a message to Ellie’s toy through her phone.
Chris Sacca is truly impressed and comments, “Wow,” when Gauri explains how the talkies are interchangeable from one toy to the other.
She then ends her pitch by requesting sharks to help them connect with families everywhere and asks Ellie to pass on some toys to all the sharks.
The sharks began playing with the toys, with Robert seemingly more happy playing with the toy. Gauri then reveals to the sharks that Verizon is one of the investors of Toymail, including Amazon, who is interested in working Toymail into the Amazon Echo.
The question round begins, and Kevin asks Gauri what her costs were, to which she says it costs $20 currently to make a talkie, but they are trying to bring it down to $10.
Loris goes on to ask Gauri about her background, to which Gauri tells her the story of how she came up with the idea of Clockie- an alarm clock.
She further narrates how it was difficult for her to get out of bed while studying at MIT 10 years ago, so she invented an alarm clock that would jump off the nightstand and go running around the room unless she got up to stop it.
She mentions that Clockie had gone viral, and she was able to hit sales net worth $10 million with Clockie. Robert lets out a gasp and looks shocked while Kevin asks if Clockie is part of her pitch.
Gauri expresses why she is willing to sell only 2.5% of her company since she has other investors, so she is unable to shell out a higher stake for the sharks. Kevin is interested but is unimpressed by the 25% offer, so he is out.
Next, Mark asks Gauri a couple of questions about Verizon and Amazon and asks if she can see the company hitting a $100 million in sales in the next few years, to which Gauri replies-absolutely!
The next up is Chris, who tells Gauri how impressed he is by her business idea and how her Clockie business made her $10 million while at MIT.
Chris offers a $400,000 investment for an exchange of 5% of the business. Gauri thanks him and says she wants the best for the company.
Mark jumps in and offers $500,000 for a 5% stake and waits for Gauri to reply. But, before Gauri replies, Lori intervenes and says she’s still in the game. She asks Gauri to come up with an offer that will excite both of them.
Gauri then turns to Mark and asks him if he can work with Lori as a partner, but before Mark gives an answer, Chris jumps in and talks about Lori’s marketing and distribution skills which he admires.
He even goes on to the joke and says how if Mark had to come up with an idea, he would die of loneliness.
Lastly, Chris Sacca offers a $600,000 investment for a 5% stake with an option to put up to an additional million dollars in the next round. He then invites Lori to take any part of that deal, to which Mark Cuban moves his head as a sign of disapproval.
Lori and Chris go into a little disagreement over the percentage, but Lori offers to add $200,00 for a 2.5% deal. Gauri happily accepts the offer, and the deal is closed.
Final Deal: Chris Sacca and Lori Greiner agreed to invest $600,000 for a 5% stake in Toymail.
What Happened To Toymail after Shark Tank?
After sealing a $600,000 deal with Chris and Lori, Toymail continues to manufacture plush toys with talkies and more advanced features.
Since its feature in Shark Tank, the company has added more products, such as a sloth named Chunk and a penguin which kids love. The company launched its Toymail Cloud for Talkies which hosts a couple of innovative apps.
The cloud platform includes apps such as Sleepie- which emits soothing sounds at bedtime, and Remindie- an audible calendar for kids and voice- allows kids to add funny filters to their voices.
The company mentions how Amazon Echo is working to integrate voice recognition into the talkies so that kids can chat or Google stream without any dangers.
The cloud comes with a subscription feature that allows kids to access the platform for only $2.99 per month. Kids can download content such as music or stories for free through the platform.
Since the Shark Tank pitch, Toymail made great efforts, and its valuation rose to $12 million. Along with many other features and products, the company continued to adopt new technologies into their gadgets with more toys to attract kids.
In an interview with Forbes, Gauri Nanda mentions how Toymail is building relationships with mobile operators because they wish to expand internationally.
They are even looking for a partnership with music companies to expand their content and bring in new filters, just like Snapchat does.
However, even though the later models had Amazon Echo integration and Bluetooth, they simply couldn’t get many sales for their products.
Is Toymail Still In Business?
Toymail filed for bankruptcy in November 2018 and is currently out of business. They have stopped posting on their social media pages since 2019, and the website is no longer live.
The company failed to garner more investors for their future projects even though the sharks helped them with their investments.
However, Gauri Nanda still continues to run her alarm clock business which she started when in college.