Caffeindicator Before Shark Tank
Michael Shiavone was just a regular business guy before joining the Shark Tank and pitching his brand new and unique idea. His idea and product is called the Caffeindicator, which is a small testing product, which you can use to test if your coffee contains any caffeine. Michael Shiavone came up with the idea for Caffeindicator when he was on a business trip.
He states that he ordered a cup of coffee, but he wanted decaf, because he wanted to be able to sleep. However, the barista gave him a cup of regular coffee, which made him unable to sleep all night long. Michael Shiavone thought to himself that this must happen all the time; people ordering decaf but getting regular coffee instead.
Because of this reason, he developed a litmus product, which can easily be dipped in a cup of coffee to check if the coffee contains any caffeine or not. Michael Shiavone states that he wants to approach sweetener companies and allow them to include the Caffeindicator in their packets, in order to gain the interest of people who only drink decaf coffee. Michael Shiavone needs the help of one of the Sharks, in order to give his product a kick start.
Caffeindicator On Shark Tank
“Michael Shiavone walks confidently towards the Sharks and stands in front of them”
Michael Shiavone starts his presentation by introducing himself to the Sharks, and states that he has an idea for a product called Caffeindicator. Michael Shiavone continues by stating that he is seeking an investment of two hundred thousand dollars, in exchange for a twenty five percent equity stake in the Caffeindicator venture.
Michael Shiavone continues his presentation by asking the Sharks whether they know why there is a decaf market. He states that it is either because people do not want caffeine, or simply cannot have caffeine for medical or personal reasons. The fact is that people do not know whether the coffee that they ordered has caffeine in it or not.
“Michael Shiavone introduces Caffeindicator”
Michael Shiavone states that Caffeindicator is the first litmus-like tester that is incorporated on a sweetener packet, which changes color in the presence of caffeine.
“Robert Herjavec asks Michael Shiavone if the tester is on the paper or in the sugar itself”
Michael Shiavone answers the question by saying that the tester is incorporated on the paper itself. The ink is micro-capsulated, and will not mix with the sugar in the packet.
“Robert Herjavec asks Michael Shiavone if the Caffeindicator really works”
Michael Shiavone answers the question by saying that the Caffeindicator definitely works, and that he will demonstrate it to the Sharks, in order to prove it.
“Michael Shiavone takes out the spoons out of both the regular and decaf cups of coffee, places those spoons on the sweetener packet with the Caffeindicators on them”
Michael Shiavone states that the Sharks can see that the coffee that contains caffeine makes the Caffeindicator turn pink, while the decaf coffee makes the Caffeindicator stay blue.
Michael Shiavone states that the Caffeindicator is dynamic, curious and fun to share. He continues by stating that he doesn’t even use sweetener in his coffee, but he just used one of the sweetener packet, just to test out if his coffee contains any caffeine or not.
According to Michael Shiavone, the sweetener packet market is roughly a twelve billion dollar market, of which there are multiple different big companies that all have a huge chunk of market share. Michael Shiavone asks the Sharks what would happen if one of those big companies could globally increase their sweetener packet market share.
He states that those companies are all fighting for market share, so what does it take to take a five hundred million dollar product, to a one billion dollar product.
“Daymond John asks Michael Shiavone if there is an indicator on the Caffeindicator that tells him how much caffeine is in his coffee”
Michael Shiavone answers the question by saying that the Caffeindicator does not tell how much caffeine there is, it only indicates whether there is caffeine or not.
“Kevin O’Leary asks Michael Shiavone if decaf coffee doesn’t have caffeine in it at all”
Michael Shiavone answers the question by saying that decaf coffee has about two milligrams of caffeine, while regular coffee has about a hundred and twenty milligrams of caffeine. He continues by stating that the Caffeindicator is able to mask out the false positives, which means that decaf coffee will never make the indicators turn pink.
Robert Herjavec states that it doesn’t matter whether there is caffeine in the coffee or not, it is the fact that one of the big sweetener packet companies can say to the other big sweetener packet companies that his sweetener packet is much better than theirs.
Michael Shiavone agrees with Robert Herjavec and states that it is the very reason why he decided to appear on the Shark Tank. Michael Shiavone continues by stating that it is a very big opportunity to make a lot of money, due to the fact that the manufacturing and distribution are already in place. He states that what they are leveraging is a larger market share, in a global industry, and asks the Sharks if they are interested in partnering with him.
“Robert Herjavec asks Michael Shiavone what happened when he contacted one of the biggest sweetener packet companies”
Michael Shiavone answers the question by saying that he has not contacted any of the large sweetener packet manufactures yet, because he wanted to appear on the Shark Tank and see if any of the Sharks could “open the doors” and partner with him on this venture.
“Kevin O’Leary asks Michael Shiavone if he really never talked to any of the manufactures”
Michael Shiavone answers the question by saying that he has not contacted anyone.
“Robert Herjavec asks Michael Shiavone if he owns the patent on the Caffeindicator”
Michael Shiavone answers the question by saying that he does own the patent.
“Kevin Harrington asks Michael Shiavone how much the Caffeindicator will increase the cost to manufacture a sweetener packet”
Michael Shiavone answers the question by saying that he does not know how much the costs will increase, because of the fact that anything that is being made in mass quantity, will make the price of the Caffeindicator drop as well.
“Kevin O’Leary asks Michael Shiavone what his price is to make one Caffeindicator”
Michael Shiavone answers the question by saying that he does not have a price to make one sweetener packet with a Caffeindicator on it.
“Barbara Corcoran asks Michael Shiavone to just give the Sharks a number”
Michael Shiavone answers the question by saying that if he increases the market share dramatically with his Caffeindicator, the cost of production goes down, and profit goes up.
“Robert Herjavec asks Michael Shiavone if the Caffeindicator will be able to get made for a fraction of a couple of pennies more than the original price of a sweetener packet”
Michael Shiavone answers the question by saying that it is absolutely possible to do so.
Robert Herjavec states that he really likes the idea behind Caffeindicator, and that Michael Shiavone has defined his market, which is a really good thing. Robert Herjavec continues by stating that it is very clear who they need to sell it to, which is also a bad thing. If one of the big sweetener packet companies don’t buy into Caffeindicator, there is no market.
Kevin O’Leary states that Michael Shiavone’s idea is to go to all big sweetener packet companies and ask them which one of them wants to purchase and include Caffeindicators on their sweetener packets.
Kevin O’Leary states that the real question that the sweetener packet manufactures will ask themselves is if the Caffeindicator will really increase their market share or not.
Michael Shiavone states that it is a given, but that there is also another angle to the product. Big sweetener packet companies can ask themselves; what if I do not want my competition to get their hands on the Caffeindicator, which is the very reason why they would be interested in purchasing it and burying it for good.
Kevin O’Leary states that there is something nasty about Michael Shiavone that he really likes, because what Michael Shiavone is trying to do is to create a bidding war in a very structured market.
“Daymond John asks Michael Shiavone what he does for a living”
Michael Shiavone answers the question by saying that he is a mechanical engineer.
“Barbara Corcoran asks Michael Shiavone where he got the idea for Caffeindicator from”
Michael Shiavone answers the question by saying that he was on a business trip, and that at eleven o’clock in the night, he stopped with his wife to get a slice of pie and a cup of coffee. He continues by stating that he had a business meeting the next day, but he was up all night because the lady behind the counter gave him regular coffee, instead of decaf, which was what he ordered. There is only one way to tell, which is by drinking the coffee.
“Kevin O’Leary asks Michael Shiavone why he is asking for two hundred thousand dollars”
Michael Shiavone answers the question by saying that there are licensing fees and attorney fees, because he would have to set up a corporation. Michael Shiavone continues by stating that he will need some help to open up some doors, and tells the Sharks if one of them is interested, he really wants to advance and move forward with Caffeindicator.
Barbara Corcoran states that she thinks there are two weaknesses to the Caffeindicator idea. She states that she is not so sure whether consumers are so paranoid about testing their coffee for caffeine and mistrusting their baristas. The second reason is that the big sweetener packet companies also have the market the idea of the Caffeindicator, which is something that is very expensive to do, and definitely not as easy as Michael Shiavone makes it out to be. Barbara Corcoran states that for those reasons, she is out.
Robert Herjavec states that Barbara Corcoran’s points are excellent, which is also the reason why the twenty five percent stake in Caffeindicator is way too low.
Kevin O’Leary responds by saying that it seems like Robert Herjavec is showing he is interested in making an offer, but he is showing his greed and wants to renegotiate.
Daymond John states that he was on the fence with Caffeindicator, but that Barbara Corcoran really made some good points. Daymond John continues by stating that he likes the idea that Michael Shiavone is trying to attack the number one sold drug in the world, but because of the reasons that Barbara Corcoran mentioned earlier, he is out as well.
Robert Herjavec states that he is willing to pay for the option to see if one of the big sweetener packet manufactures will be interested in Caffeindicator. Robert Herjavec makes an offer of two hundred thousand dollars, in exchange for a sixty percent stake, contingent upon getting a deal from one of the major sweetener company.
Kevin Harrington states that he has a better offer for Michael Shiavone, which is also two hundred thousand dollars, contingent upon getting a deal from one of the major sweetener company; however, Kevin Harrington only asks for a fifty percent stake.
After thinking for a while, Michael Shiavone accepts Kevin Harrington’s offer of two hundred thousand dollars, in exchange for a fifty percent stake in Caffeindicator.
At the end interview, Michael Shiavone states that he feels like he finally partnered up with the right man to help him bring Caffeindicator to the market.
Caffeindicator Now in 2023 – After Shark Tank
The product generated some buzz on social media after the episode aired; people even wrote about it on various websites. However, the deal that he was offered by Kevin ($200,000 for a 50% stake) was never finalized. As a result, the company never took off.
This probably had something to do with the fact that the offer was contingent upon him being able to land a deal with one of the major sweetener companies. Seeing as how the deal was never finalized, he probably wasn’t able to get the companies interested.
As of December 2023, the company no longer exists. As a matter of fact, they probably haven’t been in business for many years (perhaps since 2010, when they were featured on the show).
Even if you search for “Caffeindicator” on Google, there are no results except for recaps from when they were on Shark Tank and they have no social media presence whatsoever so it’s probably fair to say that they’re gone forever.
The same goes for Michael himself. If you were to search his name, you’d get no results.
Did he go back to his job in mechanical engineering? Maybe. At the very least, he’s no longer involved with the coffee industry or if he is, he hasn’t told anyone about it.