Qeepsake Before Shark Tank
In his audition tape, Jeff McNeil introduced himself as from being from Newton, Massachusetts. He said that he lived there with his wife Stephanie and his five children. He did a background in design and spent nearly a decade running his own software design company. Eventually, Jeff lost interest in that business. He expressed that he wanted to get back to his roots.
Jeff said that he realized that there were lots of big and little moments with his kids that didn’t always get recognized or cataloged. He wanted to use his background in technology to try and solve that issue both for himself and for other parents. Jeff went all in. Within two days of having that idea, he had to developers working on it and he’d written up a spec.
Jeff thought that he had a million-dollar idea, but was concerned that he was putting it all out on the line with too much risk. With five kids at home, he had to be careful with what he was doing and where he is putting his money. He thought that he would be able to get this out to many more parents if he had a Shark behind him helping him out.
Qeepsake on Shark Tank
Jeff walked out onto the stage to face the Sharks in the Tank. He introduced himself and requested $350,000 in exchange for a 10% equity stake in the company. He started off his presentation by stating that his product, Qeepsake, would help parents to never miss a memory. He showed the Sharks a standard baby book and told them that every parent has one of them, but after a while, many of the pages went blank. Parents would start off with the intention of filling it out, but eventually would get busy and lose track of it. This would result in many of the memories getting lost or milestones being unrecorded.
He said that the normal baby book was well-intentioned but did not match up with the lifestyle of a busy parent. He threw the book to the floor behind one of his displays and asked them to imagine a system where they could keep track of memories with a simple text message. Jeff told the Sharks that that was where Qeepsake came in. He informed them that he was a father of five, which impressed the Sharks. He told them he was going to tell them about Qeepsake using the example of his daughter, Annabel.
Jeff said that Qeepsake had just texted him an insightful question about Annabel. On the screen, it showed a text message from the program then asked how he decided upon her name. Jeff texted back, and he received a response that the memory had been saved for Annabel. Lori looked a little put off. Jeff continued, stating that earlier that day his son Owen had lost a tooth. He said that he wanted to save it into Qeepsake, so he texted the service and attached a photo. He continued, stating that the entries were stored on the website where he could then edit any typos and view the entries.
Jeff said that the next step after the service had recorded a sufficient amount of memory was to order a keepsake book. He ended the presentation by saying that the market was huge untapped. He requested that the Sharks join him in investing in this cool new business. The Sharks immediately asked for samples of the book. Jeff said that he had brought his own book that he made up for Annabel.
As Jeff handed out the samples of the book, Chris Sacca was the guest shark for that episode, remarked on his five kids. Jeff said that having five wasn’t five times as difficult as one. Lori asked him their ages, and Jeff said that the oldest was eight and the youngest was one. Chris said that Jeff must’ve been in the weeds forever, but Jeff told him that he had an amazing wife.
Lori said that there wasn’t much on each page. She wanted to know if people were able to customize how much goes on any one page. Instead of really answering the question, Jeff said that the Qeepsake book was kind of a sidebar. He said it was effectively a prototype and they’d only sold a total of four books. He thought that there is a market for books, but it would be in the future.
Kevin said that Qeepsake would’ve been a good idea when Barbara was a baby, but they didn’t have the technology back then. Jeff said that he might be able to do something about that. He brought up Barbara’s baby picture on the screen as a simple text message to Qeepsake. Barbara protested, but the other Sharks said that she was very cute. Barbara relented a little, saying that you could tell that she was brilliant just by looking at her picture. Jeff had set up pictures for all of the Sharks. The picture from Mark Cuban was a little older and it featured him in thick-framed glasses. Chris Sacca, who had a famed rivalry with Mark Cuban, said that the picture was nasty and asked Mark if he’d been stuffed into lockers as a kid. Mark took it in stride. He said that was a stud in the making.
Kevin asked Jeff how much he would pay for the app, but Jeff reminded him that it wasn’t an app. Qeepsake is a service that works over text message. He also explained that it was a subscription-based service. Kevin asked about the fee for the subscription while Mark wanted a more comprehensive breakdown of what kind of plans they had and the price for each. Jeff obliged, stating that the average plan price was $40. He said that when up to $90 per year. He said that they had over 40,000 activated users. He said that they were converting 16% of their user base to the subscription model, which he called a shocking number.
Chris said that it was a high conversion rate. Kevin asked why people didn’t just use Note, which was the notetaking app in iOS, to do the same thing. Jeff said that was a decent point, and said that you could say the same thing about Facebook or Instagram. He saw it as too personal for any of the social media options. People would see it is oversharing. He also said that Qeepsake was a better option for doing it over Note because it would prompt them with leading questions via text message.
He called it the great innovation of Qeepsake. When Mark Cuban asked if there are any intelligent questions, Jeff answered that the service would know how old your kids were and ask you questions accordingly. Barbara wanted to know how Jeff was supporting his family. Jeff told her that that was a great question, and mentioned that he was now taking a salary because the business was turning out to be profitable. He said that they had made over $250,000 in revenue in just four months. Barbara said that he was one of the guys that get better and more interesting as he talked. Unfortunately, she didn’t know how she could help him scale the business. Barbara went out.
Kevin said that when Jeff first started talking, he bored him to death. He was planning on going out. But Jeff got more and more interesting the more that he talked. Kevin said that he had many businesses with related customers that he could tap into to market keepsake. He decided to make Jeff an offer. He said he’s going to give Jeff $350,000 in exchange for 20% equity in the company. Mark said he was going to clear the deck. He said that he thought it would be a great product but he felt like keepsake was going to have massive competition the moment it started to get popular. Jeff had said himself that there were no barriers to entry.
Kevin said that that was also concerned. Jeff tried to say that every business has its concerns, but Mark wasn’t interested. He said that it wasn’t a business he could really get behind. He went out. Jeff said that he appreciated the feedback. Lori also went out, stating that she wasn’t the right partner to escalate the business quickly for him. Kevin told Jeff that he better make a decision soon because as more Sharks went out he became more greedy.
Chris mentioned that he is also thinking about making an offer, and Kevin said that that made him even unhappier. Jeff winced and told Kevin he didn’t like the deal. He thought that 20% equity didn’t leave enough in the business for future rounds of investment. He said that he wanted to counter. He mentioned that he came in initially for $300,000 in exchange for 10%. He offered Kevin an extra 2% equity.
Chris said that he thought Jeff was solving an actual problem and going about it the right way. He really liked the idea-based daily questioning. He was a little discouraged to hear that Jeff didn’t like Kevin’s deal because he was thinking about offering the same thing. Chris said that he thought he offered more apps like that than Kevin ever could. Kevin said that there wasn’t a chance in hell that that was true, but Chris said that they couldn’t market something like this by just emailing a list. He said that if he was getting involved with something really big, and they would make millions and millions of dollars together.
Chris also said that in order to make working on the business compelling for him, he needed at least 20% equity. That’s what it would take to get him very excited about it. He offered the same deal as Kevin – the $350,000 for 20%. Jeff said that he appreciated the offer and countered back with a 14% equity stake. Chris said that he was deeply flattered that Jeff gave him a better price for Kevin. Lori asked Kevin if he was going to stay in, and Kevin said that he was in pain now, so he decided to go out.
Lori asked Chris if he was going to come down on his equity asked. Before he could answer, Jeff said that the business was too much work to bring down his own equity that much. Chris said that he wasn’t comfortable with that because he wasn’t sure what the competitive landscape was like, and he wanted to guarantee that no one would come after the business. Jeff told him that he wasn’t able to make that promise. He tried to reassure him by saying that no one else popped up on their radar to make a better product than him.
Chris asked Jeff why they would win. Jeff told him that the market was there, and he wanted to work with him, but the dilution was too much. Kevin asked Chris if he was going to be willing to do the work for less than 20%. Chris told Jeff that he has done a good job explaining himself, but he still didn’t get him to the point where he was willing to make an investment. He gave Jeff one last chance to take the offer, but Jeff said that he appreciated and respectfully declined. In his after-interview, Jeff said that he thought the Sharks missed out on a great opportunity.
Qeepsake Now in 2018 – The After Shark Tank Update
Qeepsake appears to still be going strong despite not getting a deal on Shark Tank.
Since the airing of the show Qeepsake has added over 100,000 new parents to the platform. Enthusiasm for Qeepsake has grown considerably despite not taking a deal on the show. Thousands of parents are signing up for Qeepsake each week via the Qeepsake website
According to their Facebook page, they released their our first-ever mobile app in April 2018 as a companion to the text message-based service.
Additionally, since the show aired they have gone on to raise almost $1.5M, including the newest round of equity financing which was closed in May 2018.
They are now advertising positions on their website for a Growth Manager and a Project Manager. Click here to visit their site to sign up for the service, or maybe apply for a job.