As Seen On TV — the company that sells Snuggies (the sleeved blankets) and other popular consumer products though infomercials on television — is planning to launch its own crowdfunding platform later this summer.
Aspiring inventors will be able to pitch their product ideas to the public online, soliciting small financial contributions from large groups of potential customers, usually in exchange for product pre-sales, the company said Monday. If the
creators are successful, their products will be sold through As Seen On TV’s distribution channels — including through AsSeenOnTV.com, and, for a subset of successful projects, on television. If they’re unsuccessful, the funds will be returned to contributors.
The Clearwater, Fla.-based company — formerly H&H Imports, Inc. — already allows inventors to submit product concepts through a form online, but doesn’t yet allow them to fundraise.
“We have thousands of product and service ideas from inventors and innovators and we can’t fund them all,” chief executive Ron Pruett said.
The company will use technology piloted by custom crowdfunding-platform developer, Boston-based Launcht. As Seen On TV’s staff will filter product concepts before allowing them to fundraise on the site.
“The first thing we look for is a mass market product that will appeal across the board to as many people as possible — initially we’re not looking for really niched kinds of products,” Kevin Harrington, chairman and founder of As Seen On TV, said in an interview. “We look for products that have some kind of magical transformation if possible,”
Harrington, who has served on the investor panel on ABC’s pitch show Shark Tank, said he’s also looking for concepts supported by clinical studies, product tests and testimonials. “If it’s strictly an idea, it’ll be a lot tougher for us to move it into a funding stage.”
In addition to a fundraising platform, As Seen on TV will offer entrepreneurs development and manufacturing help wherever possible, Pruett said. “We’re not intermediaries,” he said, adding that inventors are “true partners. We’ll provide our entire knowledge base.”
The system could benefit As Seen On TV’s business as well, Pruett said. “It’ll quickly test with consumers which ones they think are the hits or not, and actually puts in a big efficiency driver.”