Recently Brian Whiteman, the co-founder and CEO of Groovebook, was featured on an episode of SharkTank and has also appeared on CNBC Squawk Box. He developed an app that allows you to download 100 photos from your smartphone and have them shipped to you in a photo album for $3.99 per month (which includes shipping and handling). So every month you can get a new photo book sent to you with up to a hundred pictures of your choosing. The photos are stamped with the date and location where they were taken, and are perforated so you can easily pull them out and give them to friends and family or put them in a picture frame. If you are not familiar with these types of services, you should be aware that they typically cost $15 or more.
So what was Brian’s flash of cash? How did he figure out how to lower the cost of sending a picture book from $15 to $3? His flash of cash came to him after his wife lost her cell phone that had 2,000 pictures of their children on it. To keep this problem from happening again in the future, Brian created a photo book for his wife. But the real secret is that he made the book flexible by putting a groove in the spine. Because the book is flexible, like a magazine, he only has to pay the post office $0.78 to ship it. He also has a patent on the groove technology so other companies won’t be able to copy it.
Brian’s idea was so appealing to Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary that they decided to invest in his company. Not only did they recognize the value of his patent, but they felt that in addition to collecting a monthly fee from subscribers they could sell his technology to other companies like Shutterfly.