@ Black Magic IPL
By: Shaela Weeks - Junior Marketing Student at KCTC, Grand Rapids, MI
When Nick Gonzalez and Kevin Mack waltzed into the Tank with their tattoo removal light, my reaction was one of relief. Of those I know who have gotten tattoos, a substantial percent wish they had not. Neo Innovations was seeking $80,000 in exchange for 20% of their company. The product they were bringing to the Sharks was Black Magic IPL, a light system used to break up the dark pigments in tattoos without piercing or damaging the skin. This product uses intense light pulse energy to magnetically destroy the iron oxide content that is present in most tattoos. With a couple of passes of the 50 watt bulb, the tattoo begins to fade, and eventually disappears a couple weeks after treatment.
Neo Innovation partners began with the statistic that amateur tattoo artists are completing 150,000 new tattoos for customers each month, and of those, approximately 50% will suffer from “tattoo regret”. They claimed that Black Magic IPL is the solution to ending this horrible regret, and that tattoos will no longer need to be permanent. Nick then demonstrated how to use his product, moving it back and forth over his black tattoo a couple of times while the light pulsated. He demonstrated what his tattoo looked like after he had used the Black Magic IPL a couple of weeks ago. While the tattoo was spotted and slightly faded in different places, the majority of the tattoo was still there. Mack then demonstrated how a white balloon, which represented the skin, was not affected by the light device, unlike the black balloon, which represented the ink, which popped as soon as he ran the IPL over it.
Although I was impressed with the presentation, I believe that the product has some flaws. First off, the product was designed so that the wattage was adjustable. The reason for this is because those with darker skin could and would damage their skin if the wattage was set at a level suitable for those with a complexion. I feel that an average person would have trouble understanding what wattage to set the device at, and can very easily end up harming himself. As a teenager, I can certainly say that I don’t see anyone my age researching the proper settings, and I can definitely picture several of my friends trying it out and hurting themselves. Furthermore, there didn't seem to be a concrete study or example which showed that the product actually removed the tattoo completely. To me, when attempting to secure financing to bring a product to life, proof of the concept is the most important thing to show. And not only were they lacking this, but they also admitted that it was not FDA approved! They were asking for the financial assistance so that they would be able to get FDA approval, which as they stated could run from $20,000 to $100,000! What kind of Shark would invest in an untested product which doesn't even have FDA approval?! The answer of course is a Shark looking for a lawsuit! And being that the Sharks on this panel have no desire or time to deal with tattoo litigations, Black Magic IPL received five consecutive “I’m Out’s”.
All in all, there were definitely legitimate reasons for the hesitation and eventual rejection of this product. However, to give them some credit, their numbers were pretty solid, there is consumer demand, and the market is sizable. Therefore once the FDA approval is obtained, I really believe that this product can be successful. Until then, I’ll give them an Overall Performance of a 4.