You’ve tried it before – that wireless charging station that was supposed to be convenient. But then you wake up to a dead phone or have a hard time finding the sweet spot for it to actually charge your phone.
Enter Aira Power, the game changer in wireless charging.
The founders of Aira Power appeared on Season 11 of the TV show Shark Tank, asking for $500,000 investment in exchange for 7% stake in the company.
Were they successful in securing a deal? More importantly, what happened to the business after appearing on Shark Tank?
What is Aira Wireless Charging?
Aira Inc. is startup company of electrical engineer Eric Goodchild and entrepreneur Jake Slatnick.
They developed FreePower™ as the solution to the existing problematic wireless charging technology. It follows the globally adopted wireless charging protocol called the Qi standard, which means it will be compatible with devices from major manufacturers such as Apple, Google, Samsung and Huawei, among others.
Using their patented circuitry, multiple coil structure, and patented algorithms, Aira promises effortless charging from any point on the surface of their charger. No more precise alignments required. Just place your phone, wireless earphones, or tablet, on the charger, and it will simultaneously charge up to three devices.
The company claims that with Aira’s FreePower technology, effortless and free position wireless charging is now possible.
How did Aira start their business?
Before starting Aira, founders Eric Goodchild and Jake Slatnick both attended Arizona State University. Goodchild earned a degree in Electrical Engineering and Embedded Systems. He went on to create Goodchild Engineering, a high-tech design, and engineering company that specializes in high-voltage stage and theatrical special effects.
Meanwhile, Slatnick earned a degree in Technology Entrepreneurship. He founded startup companies such as Tap Contact Exchange and Hammack Apparel Inc. He partnered with Goodchild in 2017 to launch Juic, which they, later rebranded to Aira.
At Aira, Goodchild and Slatnick wanted to improve the current wireless charging technology available. Their Aira’s FreePower technology allows charging multiple devices on the charging surface without any specific “sweet spot” position to make it work.
Instead of making their own wireless charger, the tech company decided to license the technology and initially partnered with lifestyle brand Nomad for the latter’s wireless charger device.
The Aira founders knew that their company would benefit more from licensing the technology and private labeling the product. Wireless charger manufacturers like Nomad can then use the patented technology on wireless charging products that they will sell to retail consumers.
The founders also shared that they see application of their technology on cars, coffee shops, and other business establishments.
Aira Wireless Charging Tech on Shark Tank
Aira founders Goodchild and Slatinck pitched their business in the Shark Tank with an ask of $500,000 in exchange for 7% equity of the company.
They explained that they needed a Shark to help their startup get to the next level. The Sharks’ investment would be used to offset expenses as their monthly burn rate is at a high $30,000 because they were currently fulfilling initial orders.
They disclosed that their partner Nomad’s pre-order was for 33,000 units. This pre-order number, along with the Tesla coil they brought on set, definitely impressed the Sharks.
What were the Sharks’ offers for Aira?
Shark Robert Herjavec was the first Shark to make an offer of $500,000 cash for 10% equity.
Not missing a beat, Lori Greiner declared her offer making a rare paired deal with Shark Kevin O’Leary for $500,000 loan with 9% interest, in exchange for a 15% equity split between them. O’Leary added that they can guide the entrepreneurs in licensing since they have done a lot of it in the past.
Herjavec sensed the hesitation of the Aira founders and tried to get them to take his offer. “You don’t need a line of credit,” Herjavec tells the founders. “You’re building a business. We’ll build this thing together.”
The Aira founders agree, saying, “We’re looking for strategic partners.”
Greiner and O’Leary quickly changed their offer to cash instead of just line of credit, plus the expertise of two Sharks, but still at 15% equity.
Did Aira get a deal on Shark Tank?
Yes, Aira secured a deal after they made the Sharks a surprise counter offer.
With three Sharks vying for a deal, Aira founders Goodchild and Slatinck proposed that all three Sharks team up and invest $500,000 in exchange for 15% equity split among them.
Herjavec initially looked surprised and pondered on it as Greiner and O’Leary waited. Eventually satisfied, Herjavec said “Done!”
Greiner and O’Leary agreed to Aira’s counter offer as well, and the three Sharks all stood up to shake on the deal.
What happened to Aira after Shark Tank?
Aira closed the deal on the season 11 Shark Tank episode with three Sharks, no less. The episode generated massive buzz for the company, thanks to the potential of their wireless charging tech and the enthusiasm of the Sharks that gave them a half a million dollars deal.
The first batch of the Nomad Base Station Pro is on its way to the consumers who pre-ordered in the beginning of the year.
Tech reviewers who were able to get their hands on the Base Station Pro ahead of everyone had good reviews for the wireless charging station. However, the $229 price tag could turn off consumers despite the perks allure of Aira’s FreePower technology.
Nomad also sells other wireless chargers on Amazon at cheaper prices as seen below.
Is Aira still in business today?
Yes, Aira is certainly still in business today. The company partnered with tech lifestyle brand Nomad to bring their design to consumers and Nomad launched the Aira-powered Base Station Pro for pre-order in the third quarter of 2020.
The Base Station Pro is the first wireless charger that uses FreePower technology from Aira Inc. It is exclusively available on Nomad’s website where the first of three batches of pre-order closed in the first week of September.
How much is Aira worth now?
According to Crunchbase.com, Aira has a post-money valuation of $10 million to $50 million as of 2019, after receiving a total of $35.3 million in funding from nine investors since it was founded.
When they appeared on Shark Tank, the founders asked for $500,000 in exchange for 7% equity share. This placed Aira’s valuation at $7.1 million.
With the Sharks’ closing the deal at $500,000 investment for a 15% stake, Aira’s post-money valuation was lowered to $3.3 million.
Although they partially devalued the company’s worth, Aira’s founders knew this was a strategic move to seal the deal with the Sharks. Although the company’s net worth as of 2020 has not been disclosed, it is highly possible that it has already gone up since the release of the Base Station Pro with Nomad and the support of the three Sharks in securing more licensing deals.
Here’s a video demo of Aira’s wireless charging technology, courtesy of CNET.
Lessons from Aira on Shark Tank
The Aira founders knew that they were going to sell their tech, not a physical product. They highlighted the advantage of this, saying they would be able to cater to more clients and have their tech be used in a variety of product applications.
When the Sharks started negotiating with them, Goodchild and Slatnick kept their cool and did not jump at the first offer. Instead, they quietly and quickly discussed to make a final decision.
In the end, Goodchild and Slatnick showed that they had the confidence and level-headedness to give a counter offer that they deemed would be more beneficial for both their company and the Sharks. They were selling the future of tech, which reeled in the Sharks because who wouldn’t want to be part of the future?