Saturday, June 15, 2024

Shark Tank invests 2.5mn pesos in 10-year-old’s insomnia device

A 10-year-old boy from La Paz, Baja California Sur, will receive 2.5 million pesos (US $131,000) in funding for his anti-insomnia invention after appearing on the reality program Shark Tank México.

Franco Arturo Canseco convinced five investors, or “sharks,” to support the development and commercialization of his Banda Neutónica, a device that emits alpha waves that aid relaxation before sleep.

In his pitch, Franco asked the “sharks” for 1.5 million pesos but they were so impressed with his invention that they committed to an additional one million. In exchange, each investor will take an 8% stake in the 10-year-old’s fledgling company.

Franco explained that he first got the idea for the device when he was just seven years old.

“I have a lot of trouble sleeping and one day it occurred to me that I could invent something so I didn’t have to. But I did a lot of research to find out if it was important to sleep . . . and I realized that I couldn’t invent something in order to not have to sleep. Instead, I had to create something [to be able to] sleep better,” he said.

Érika Rodríguez accompanied her son for his Shark Tank presentation.
Érika Rodríguez accompanied her son for his Shark Tank presentation.

Franco then came up with the Banda Neutónica concept, which he first explained via a sketch, before his family helped him gather the materials needed to make a prototype.

All the while, the primary school student continued to conduct his own research about sleep and sleep disorders and even interviewed doctors and scientists in order to gain insights about how he could improve his invention.

Before going to sleep, an insomnia sufferer should wear the Banda Neutónica over the eyes for eight minutes, Franco explained. At the same time, he recommends listening to Weightless, a song by British ambient music band Marconi Union, whose music has been described as the world’s most relaxing.

“I’ve tried it with several people. We’ve carried out different tests many times and we’re doing well, the results are very good,” Franco said. “I would like the Banda Neutónica to get to everyone who has trouble sleeping.”

Érika Rodríguez, the boy’s mother, told the website Entrepreneur that her son’s invention is still in the development phase, explaining that the family has invested in the project “bit by bit.”

She said a medical scientist is supporting Franco’s research and explained that the biggest capital outlay to date was to obtain an international patent for the invention.

América Móvil executive and Shark Tank 'shark' Arturo Elías Ayub tries out Franco's Banda.
América Móvil executive and Shark Tank ‘shark’ Arturo Elías Ayub tries out Franco’s Banda.

While Franco won the 2018 edition of the national competition Ideas Hechas en México (Ideas Made in Mexico) for his sleep-inducing device and even represented Mexico in a contest in Chile, Rodríguez said the invitation for Franco to appear on Shark Tank México came as a surprise.

She was initially daunted by the prospect of having her son appear on television but after speaking with her husband, she decided that it would be up to Franco whether he wanted to front the “sharks” or not.

“Franco said yes very quickly. I don’t know whether it was because he thought that he was literally going to swim with sharks but after I told him it was a television program, his response was still positive. We’ve always supported him in everything he wants to do,” she said.

As for Franco, he’s confident that his invention can help the roughly one in five Mexicans who have trouble drifting off to sleep. And when it’s ready for mass production, he hopes it will be made solely out of Mexican materials.

Once it has hit the shelves, don’t expect Franco to rest on his laurels and watch the riches roll in.

“I intend to create more things, I want to make inventions to help humanity,” he said.

Source: Entrepreneur (sp), Milenio (sp)  

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