Entrepreneur Laura Boccanfuso pitched her math company during
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick overview of what happened to Van Robotics after
Laura Boccanfuso appeared on
Shark Tank Van Robotics Update
- Entrepreneur: Laura Boccanfuso
- Business: Robotic math tutors for kids
- Ask: $300,000 for 10% equity
- Result: No deal
- Shark: None
Van Robotic’s math tutor, ABii, was the center of Laura Boccanfuso’s pitch. Because math proficiency around the U.S. is falling, Laura created the robot for a chance to change the way students learn.
She also says that students need new ways to learn because they aren’t just using textbooks anymore. Most students expect learning to be centered around technology, but at the same time, the attention spans of today’s students are shorter.
During the time of the pitch, the bot isn’t on the market yet. Although she has managed to secure $140,000 in resales within the last 3 months, just by sending out emails and word of mouth.
Unfortunately, by the time students graduate high school, only 25% of them test proficiently in math. Armed with that knowledge, she was able to make a deal with the Department of Education to have ABii used in 20-25 schools across the state of South Carolina.
However, with ABii, the smart robot tutor, pilot testing has revealed better outcomes. When they tested 220 students using the ABii, 67% of them improved their math proficiency in two math skills.
The robot will be available to schools for classroom and after-school learning for $999, including all of the curriculum. It will also be available for direct-to-consumer purchasing for $599.
Lori Greiner went out first because it was too early, plus she didn’t really know how the product would be received since it’s not on the market yet.
Guest shark Anne Wojcicki is next. This competitive space hasn’t been tested enough, and the pilot testing isn’t a large enough pool for her.
Kevin has some experience selling to schools with products like Oregon Trail, Carmen San Diego, and other learning games. He goes out because selling to schools is difficult.
Daymond John, on the other hand, is in the digital curriculum space. He states that schools often don’t buy new systems because they already have their own, so for that reason, he is out.
This leaves Mark Cuban. He wants to know what makes ABii special because there are already other companies with AI learning. Though Laura tries to explain the social connection here, Mark says it isn’t enough and goes out.
So, Van Robotics walks away without a deal. Let’s see how they’re doing now in our
We have good news to share in our Van Robotics update. Despite not getting a deal, the company has grown to around $2-3 million in annual revenue and was named Time Magazine’s Best Invention of 2020.
We got the chance to interview Laura to see how things have been going. “Since our
She continued, “We have shipped ABii robots to 38 states and 8 counties and the robot can now deliver lessons in 9 languages and comes with math, reading, classic stories, and life skills lessons.”
Laura told us that Van Robotics is just getting started. “We recently launched a middle/high school curriculum to attract more students to STEM,” said Laura.
“The middle/high school students learn about how AI and robotics are transforming almost every industry and ultimately build a full-functional ABii robot for their elementary school peers.”
After airing, Laura was able to receive a grant from the Department of Education to provide 16 school districts with their own robotics math teachers.
They’ve also been featured by CNN International’s, “The New Frontier”, and they recently partnered with BE GREAT ACADEMY, to increase STEM involvement for students.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can find ABii classroom kits on the Van Robotics website.
The future looks bright for Laura and we’d like to thank her for giving us an official Van Robotics update!
In the meantime, you can check out the other companies that were featured on Season 11 Episode 21 here:
For even more on companies and products, be sure to stop by our Season 11 products page.
Kimberly is a writer for Shark Tank Recap. She has written episode summaries and updates across multiple seasons of Shark Tank, with a focus on complete and accurate information since 2021. She believes that getting the business aspects of each deal correct is extremely important for viewers and fans. Her favorite Shark Tank products are The Wobbles and Rocketbook!