What Happened To Sunscreenr After Shark Tank?

Sunscreenr, a Season 8 "Shark Tank" pitch, sought to prevent an inevitable part of summer beach days: painful sunburns. So, how does it work? After applying their go-to sunscreen, a user would look through the small UV camera of the product to see where they've missed a spot. Protected skin appeared dark, while unprotected skin appears light. Throughout a day of wear, you can also see spots that need an SPF refresh, per Kickstarter. What's more, Sunscreenr was designed to be both waterproof and durable. CEO Dave Cohen, who witnessed loved ones battle skin cancer, dreamt up the idea as a preventative measure. "It's smaller than a granola bar, yet as powerful as a multi-thousand-dollar camera," he said in a promotional video.

If the product sounds too good to be true it's because, in many ways, it is. Dave Cohen asked the Sharks for $800,000, promising 10% of the company in return. Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, and Lori Greiner questioned the overall demand for a device like Sunscreenr as well as Cohen's business expertise. In the end, Kevin O'Leary was the only Shark that bit, leaving with a 33.3% share for $800,000. Unfortunately, their deal fell through, and Sunscreenr was left without a major investor. Since its underwhelming "Shark Tank" appearance in 2016, the company hasn't made any significant strides — which means don't expect to see granola bar-sized sunscreen screeners at the beach any time soon.

Online investors got the short end of the stick

Before going on "Shark Tank," Sunscreenr had a respectable Kickstarter campaign. All in all, Dave Cohen and co-founder Jon Meyer (not to be confused with singer-songwriter John Mayer) raised $119,629 from a total of 1,319 backers. For a $74 fee, supporters were promised one Sunscreenr in its original purple, and for $84, they could choose from five different colors. For a $1,200 price tag, one special investor even paid for a day in North Carolina with Cohen and Meyer (travel not included). The company also launched a successful fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. Here, they raised over $50,000, bringing the grand total up to $172,021.

"Although setbacks are inevitable, we are committed to getting Sunscreenr into your hands in a timely matter," the co-founders wrote on their Kickstarter page, originally predicting that cameras would be shipped out by the end of 2016. By all accounts, this didn't happen — since then, America has seen two presidents, a pandemic, and a slew of more successful "Shark Tank" products. Still, there's no Sunscreenr in sight. "I thought 'Wow! there's no way this project fails to deliver.' I was wrong again," wrote one disappointed Indiegogo user, with another adding, "Ugh didn't get mine either! Haven't heard back after I messaged them about it. Very disappointing."

The company's Instagram doesn't offer any clarity

Sunscreenr's Kickstarter and Indiegogo were last updated in 2018, and their Instagram has been dark since 2019. Their last post, dated March 23, 2019, is riddled with comments warning against the brand. "I have been trying to reach someone for years to get a refund for my purchase. Email addresses seem to be not working or not checked," wrote one former customer, recommending that others steer clear. Don't even try to find their website. It no longer exists.

As for Sunscreenr's co-founders? According to Dave Cohen's LinkedIn, he now works as a staff life sciences technology manager at Plexus Corp. and has 23 U.S. patents under his belt. Jon Meyer is a chief technology officer at CAPTRUST (via LinkedIn). Clearly, they've both tried to put Sunscreenr and their "Shark Tank" days behind them.

While you're waiting for your Sunscreenr to come in the mail (it might be another few decades), take Cohen's advice and use a strong SPF. Reapply every two hours, don't forget to choose the right sunscreen for your face, and get a friend to check to see if you've missed a spot...they might not be able to spot invisible UV light, but the naked eye will have to do for now.