XTorch Before Shark Tank
XTorch is a combination of two flashlights and a cell phone charger that was created for emergency situations; however, it also makes a great addition for taking on camping trips. This device is strong enough to withstand being dropped or submerged in water. The XTorch flashlight is solar powered, meaning the sun’s rays are what charge the battery; it has a lithium-ion battery that consists of 3,000 milliampere hours. Additionally, the best thing about this flashlight in comparison to standard flashlights is that the battery doesn’t need to be replaced. Standard flashlights could cost consumers nearly a thousand dollars a year just for new batteries. This battery is durable enough to last anywhere from 7 to 10 years without having to be replaced. A single charge can last for up to 48 hours. As mentioned, the XTorch is equipped with a USB port on the side, where a phone can be plugged in to charge.
XTorch was created by Gene and Keidy Palusky with the help of their lead engineer, Bob Sweat. Gene is a Macalester College graduate; he later started working on projects where he renovated old houses and apartment buildings. Keidy graduated from Universidad Catolica Santo Domingo in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. She is now in charge of the marketing and design for the XTorch; however, he is also a teacher. Bob Sweat, as stated, is their lead engineer. This means he is their go-to when it comes to manufacturing the XTorch flashlights.
Gene and Keidy met in 2001 while they were both in the Dominican Republic helping with missionary work. While they were in Africa, they noticed how many areas were lacking electricity, including some homes. In fact, some people were using solar power just to keep their lights on in their homes. One of the biggest problems that Gene and Keidy realized was how many kids had to wait until the sun came up so that they could do their homework, study, etc. In addition to that, most people had to pay to have their phones charged due to the lack of power in their homes. Not only were those charging fees expensive, but they added up as well. For the people who may not be able to afford this service, unfortunately they wouldn’t have access to their phone in the event of an emergency.
The couple got to talking about this problem, and Keidy suggested that they create a device that would provide them with light while also allowing them to charge their phones. Hence, the X-Torch. As stated on their website, this team of entrepreneurs invented the XTorch with the determination “to bring mobile light and power to those who suffer without, and to work in partnership with international non-profit organizations in support of their efforts in disaster relief, refugee aid, medical outreach, and general humanitarian outreach.”
When the Palusky’s launched XTorch, they invested $300,000 of their own money to get the business started. Considering it took a couple of years before they really started to sell the flashlights, this was a good call. Nonetheless, by 2018, the entrepreneurs were able to manufacture 1,500 XTorches. Of those, they sold 1,400; however, only 200 of them brought them a profit. The company didn’t make much of a profit until around 2019 and 2022. Around that time, they experienced an increase in their overall sales, which led them to start donating 25% of their profits to charities. They also donated a thousand XTorches to Compassion International in Haiti for the children.
XTorch on Shark Tank
Gene and Keidy Palusky appear on Shark Tank in hopes that a shark will want to invest in their business, XTorch, for $150,000 in exchange for a 10% stake. This implies that their business has a valuation of $1.5 million. After introducing themselves, the couple begins presenting their creation to the sharks. They shared the story of how they came up with the idea for the XTorch as well as explaining how the device works. The entrepreneurs then share that they spend $18.50 to make the flashlights before they are sold for $55.95.
Before the Palusky’s appeared on Shark Tank, their business was not sustainable on its own. Between their launch date and the date of their appearance on the show, they’ve only done $53,000 in sales. The XTorch also doesn’t have an approved patent yet. Unfortunately, this information led Mark Cuban, Daniel Lubetzky, Lori Greiner, and Kevin O’Leary to back out immediately. Nonetheless, Robert Herjavec was still interested; however, he wanted full ownership of the business.
Robert offered the couple $400,000 in exchange for full ownership of XTorch. They attempted to counter the investor’s request for a $1 million investment, but Robert wouldn’t accept it. Instead, he offered them $500,000, which they countered for $750,000. Ultimately, Robert wasn’t willing to go above a $500,000 investment like the Palusky’s hoped he would. Therefore, XTorch left the stage without a deal.
XTorch Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
XTorch appears to be doing well as of January 2023, despite Gene and Keidy Palusky leaving the Shark Tank without a contract. While this company didn’t quite experience the shark tank effect, they did get 1,400 new orders after the show aired. Within the first month after that, it was mentioned that their sales numbers were getting better; however, there is no evidence of what those numbers are yet. The XTorch flashlight is now being sold for $50 on Amazon and the XTorch website. On Amazon, the product has been getting great 5-star reviews, and they’ve been marking it as “very useful.” Gene and Keidy continue to shift their focus toward donating 25% of their overall profits to charities. Though, in April 2022, they also donated some X-Torches to Ukrainian refugees in Ukraine and Poland to use amid the war.
In addition to the good deeds this team of entrepreneurs has been doing to help communities, they have been noticed by many online publications. So far, they have been featured by Gear Junkie, Gadget Hints, Edina, Best Camp Kitchen, Kare, the Southwest Journal, the Star Tribune, and more. And, in the middle of 2022, XTorch secured its first partnership with Jerry’s Hardware. A portion of these sales goes to charities as well. That being said, Gene and Keidy seem to have done well with the XTorch business, and it will be interesting to see if the brand expands further in the future. As of right now, in January 2023, the company has annual revenues of $1.5 million.