LoveSync Before Shark Tank
Before appearing on Shark Tank, Ryan and Jenn Cmich, high school sweethearts, launched LoveSync as their first crowdfunded endeavor. LoveSync’s innovative button system includes two buttons for each partner that can be placed in the bedroom or another location of the couple’s choosing.
When one partner presses their control, it signals to the other partner’s button, indicating their desire for intimacy. If both partners press their buttons simultaneously, a light on the buttons will turn green, signaling that both partners are on the same page and consent has been given.
The Cmich’s launched the LoveSync button on Kickstarter, knowing they were putting themselves and their sex lives out there. They knew there was a potential for the product to go viral. But LoveSync was mishandled by social media, receiving much positive and negative criticism online.
LoveSync went through the wringer as the press descended upon it with snark. It even got listed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as part of a Valentine’s Day segment. Colbert roasted the “glorified restaurant pager” and quipped, “you may commence mutual pleasuring. The button has spoken.”
Would the Sharks react better and give LoveSync a deal? Let’s take a look.
LoveSync On Shark Tank
Jenn and Ryan walked out onto the stage of the Shark Tank, hand in hand. They introduced themselves as the founders of LoveSync from Cleveland, Ohio. They explained they were seeking $100,000 in exchange for a 10% equity stake in their company.
Ryan asked the Sharks to imagine they were on a romantic date with their significant other. There’s excellent food, a fine bottle of Kevin O’Leary’s wine, and no distractions from enjoying each other’s company. He continued, stating that such nights usually finish happily.
Jenn piped up and posed the question – what about everyday nights, when life got in the way and sexy time becomes a “Take it or leave it proposition?” While she was talking, a couple made their way to the bed they had set up on the stage. The man pulled out a computer as his “wife” stretched and settled into the sheets. Ryan conveyed that the man would be down “for a little dance in the sheets” but assumed that the woman was exhausted from her day at work and would be uninterested. The man let the moment pass.
Jenn said that while the man wasn’t aware of it, the woman would be up for a little “bed boogey” to unwind, but she is tired and doesn’t want to expend energy trying to distract him from his computer. Ryan insisted that those situations play out more often than people realize. “What if there’s a way to know our partner’s subtle desires?”
Jenn said there was now. They’d invented the LoveSync button to let each partner know when their moods were matched, turning missed opportunities into more romance. The two actors in the bed onstage put their buttons on their nightstands as Ryan explained how it worked. Ryan said you would just set the controls up on each nightstand and plug them in.
Jenn described the use case – saying that on those routine evenings when the wife felt frisky, she would discretely push the button on her side. If she’s the only one who taps, her partner never knows. The man also discreetly taps his control, and the LoveSync system determines that they’re both in the mood for the same thing – their buttons emit a swirly glow to let them know.
They can now confidently make their move, knowing that each partner is good to go. The Sharks giggle as the two actors on stage turn towards each other in the bed. Jenn said that with their LoveSync button, the relationship is happier because the couple’s joint desires are fulfilled more often.
She asked the Sharks – Isn’t it time for people already in relationships to have the tech to help them hook up more? Ryan ended the presentation by asking the Sharks who wanted to get in bed with them and help get the world lovesynced.
Question and Answer Time
Jen excused the couple on the bed for a “little more private time.” Mark Cuban, joking, told Barbara and Kevin to test it. Lori wanted to know why they came up with the LoveSync button. Ryan explained that he was lying in bed at night, on the fence about whether to initiate sex or not. He said that if it wouldn’t be a lot of convincing and she was already down and ready to go, he’d make a move.
Lori wrinkled her nose and asked Jenn what she thought about it. Jenn said that it was like a lightbulb moment once she understood it. She admitted to using the button for several months, and it was a gadget they wanted to hold onto. Jenn said they received a lot of feedback from their backers, who said they only realized the opportunities they were missing once the customers got the button.
Mark asked about their sales, and Jenn said they made $25,000 on Kickstarter, selling 400 units. Jenn and Ryan let Mark know that they’d already fulfilled all of the orders. Each unit costs the customer about $60, including two buttons and the power source.
Barbara said it was expensive, and Ryan pointed out that people pay a lot more for a dozen roses. Kevin then asked what each one cost to make.
Ryan advised that the cost of goods was $22, which would go down to about $14 with larger orders.
Lori asked about their background, and Ryan said it was a part-time job for them. He explained that he was a chief product engineer for a consumer robotics company – working primarily with robotic lawnmowers. Jenn is an operations manager for a marriage and family counseling practice. Mark laughed and said that it made sense.
Ryan said that he knew that the future of LoveSync was with mobile. They were working on developing a mobile app. Kevin said that he needed help with the basic premise. He didn’t understand why they didn’t just talk to each other to determine if they were in the mood. Jenn stated that they did. LoveSync was going to make communicating a more accessible and efficient process romantically, and tech has made that possible in multiple other aspects of their lives.
Let’s Make a Deal
Lori said that she was thinking the exact opposite. Many people complain about tech, and always looking at their phones has gotten in the way of intimacy. Lori didn’t see it as sexy and romantic; she saw it as technology getting in the way. She apologized but said she didn’t believe in the product. She went out.
Ryan said that it wasn’t a replacement for essential communication. He said there was a scientific study about human sexual desires that indicated that they ranged on a spectrum. From ice cold – not interested to red hot, “I’m going to let you know what I’m thinking.”
Kevin asked if the LoveSync button was helping with the fear of rejection
Ryan instantly agreed. He said that he was creating the app for that purpose. Kevin said he hated the app idea, and millions of apps were sitting on platforms, unused. Ryan asked if any of them got you more sex.
Kevin continued, stating that if they had the app working right now, they would have to acquire customers, which would be a pricy business expense. Mark said he thinks the concept would work for enough people, but it was also a business, and they haven’t said anything about the company other than that they’ve done a Kickstarter, which didn’t tell him they had anything to invest in.
Ryan was noticeably agitated. He explained that they saw the business as launching the app. They’ll start growing their user base slowly at first and begin to get feedback. Mark told him it wasn’t an answer; Ryan was stumbling. Ryan continued, stating that they were looking to do a subscription model.
Kevin pointed out that they weren’t talking about the buttons anymore. Ryan said that he saw the app as the future of LoveSync. Kevin did not sound impressed. Mark went out, saying he didn’t think Ryan could get from point A to point B. He thought the Cmichs could have been more organized about the business.
Daymond said that he was coming from a different perspective. His favorite part of his relationship with his wife was talking crap about what they would do to each other later that night. He may fall asleep before It happens, but she knows he loves her and is attracted to her. He thought it was too early in the business for him to invest, and he went out.
Barbara said she would try and explain what she and the other Sharks were thinking. She said that the price point and the cost to make it were too high, but the real problem was Ryan. She continued, telling him that he didn’t listen, and he was so in love with the idea of LoveSync that he was tripping all over himself to express that, and in that process, has not answered any objection that the Sharks raised.
Barbara said that in her experience, the entrepreneurs that don’t listen don’t make it, regardless of their product. She went out, and Kevin also went out, saying they did a poor job presenting. He also went out. The Sharks wished them luck as they walked off the stage. In the post-show interview, Jen said that they were excited about the product and the technology, and they needed to be more effective in communicating their plan.
LoveSync After Shark Tank
The company is still operating despite not securing a deal with the Sharks. LoveSync appeared on Shark Tank in January 2020, and in February, they joined a three-month software accelerator and incubator called Bounce Hub. In late 2020, they had over 8,000 downloads of their app.
The LoveSync app is available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. The Android app has over 5,000 downloads and is rated 3.4 stars out of five. Some recent reviews feature complaints about partners not receiving notifications and that you need to be in a relationship to use the app.
The developers updated the app over two years ago on the Apple side. It has a better star rating of 4.3 stars. Customers sang its praises and offered suggestions about what the company could fix, such as a longer window to schedule intimacy.
Their website is pretty sparse. It has a link to purchase the buttons, stating that they are for people who “primarily have sexy time in the bedroom.” The rest of the site, is dedicated to the app. There is also a short Frequently Asked Questions page addressing some of the concerns that the Sharks had such as if the button was for couples who refused to talk openly about their sex life.
In October 2022, Ryan and Jenn appeared on the podcast Lessons from the Tank, discussing their experience and what they could take away from it. The episode is up on LoveSync’s Facebook page.