Charles Yim made one of the most memorable pitches on Shark Tank. Breathometer was a device that claimed to measure a user’s blood alcohol content using a smartphone. The app received an investment from all five Sharks on the show. However, it was shut down by the FTC and the company is worth $0 as of 2022.
About the Founder
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Charles Michael Yim is a lifelong entrepreneur. He has a degree in business economics from the University of California, Riverside. His first startup was a mobile loyalty rewards platform Chatterfly.
The company was acquired by the manufacturing firm Plum District for $30 million in 2011. He is also a former employee of the facilities provider Cintas Corporation and IT company Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
With this, he became the vice president of mobile operations for Plum District. Charles was in charge of all mobile assets’ overarching product concepts, strategy, marketing, and development. He left the company after ten months.
Yim discovered that there were no commercial breathalyzers for smartphones. These devices are useful for determining whether someone is safe to drive after having a drink. The only portable breathalyzers were pricey and difficult for consumers to carry around.
In 2012, he developed a gadget that claimed to read blood alcohol content. The serial entrepreneur started a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo and raised over $140,000 to build the product.
He then had beta trials in Austin, Texas, during the SXSW Music Festival. After that, Charles officially released the product and sold it online and in physical locations.
Shark Tank Appearance
After one year of founding Breathometer, Yim got the courage to apply to Shark Tank. Charles’ business was accepted and got to appear in season five of the series, offering 10% equity in exchange for $250,000. Valuing the business at a cool $2.5 million.
He made an intriguing introduction by giving the Sharks champagne and letting them use his device. The investors were blown away by such an invention, and they were all interested.
Mark Cuban was the first to make an offer, then Kevin O’Leary countered. Kevin then teamed up with Robert Herjavec and Lori Greiner. Daymond John also made a solo offer. In the end, they all agreed to invest $1 million and split the 30% equity equally.
After Shark Tank
The Breathometer received a huge amount of attention from appearing on the show. Not long after it aired, CEO Charles Yim was getting tens of thousands of orders and reports say he made $1 million in 2013.
This helped him launch a new product under the same company. It was a bluetooth-compatible breathalyzer called “The Breeze” and was made available in various Best Buy and Brookstone locations. “The Breeze” and original app did $5.1 million in revenue.
Unfortunately, in 2017, the FTC found Yim’s app to be unreliable and made various false claims in their marketing. The company was shut down and Breathometer is now one of the biggest failures in Shark Tank history. The FTC also ordered customers to be notified and offered full refunds.