Edwin Cho ’06 (right) and his business partner Kevin Choi on the set of “Shark Tank,” to showcase their product, Snactiv – a snacking tool that resembles a chopstick and prevents a mess when eating while using a computer or a phone.
The pandemic derailed the dreams of countless entrepreneurs – but not those of Edwin Cho ’06. In the throes of the COVID-19 surges, which saw historic increases of people working from home, he and his business partner developed an opportunistic product that not only shattered sales expectations but also landed them on one of their favorite television shows: “Shark Tank.”
Cho was already on a roll prior to the pandemic. After studying finance and international business as an undergrad at New York University, he worked in business development and strategic partnerships at Fuhu, a start-up based in Los Angeles that made tablets and software for kids.
“It was a good experience. I got a lot of exposure to a product’s life cycle and I met a lot of good people,” he says. One of those connections was with industrial designer, Kevin Choi. They launched their company, Inoobi Inc., in 2021.
“Kevin and I always talked about creating a product together and he came up with the idea of Snactiv. I thought it would be cool – and what better time than during the pandemic to build out a product that really applies to people who are working from home.”
Snactiv is a snacking tool that resembles a chopstick and prevents the inevitable mess that comes with eating while using the computer, iPad or phone. Cho was initially
concerned about its salability since education is needed to understand how it works.
But he was happily surprised when the product became popular in a short period of time. In fact, they raised over 200% of their Kickstarter goal in March 2021. After officially launching in October that same year, they ended up on “Shark Tank” (Season 13, Episode 10) and solidified a deal with actor and comedian Kevin Hart and co-host Lori Greiner.
Cho says “Shark Tank” served as a powerful platform. After the show aired, they sold out of Snactiv. It was a dream come true for Cho who is a huge fan of the television show. “It was a crazy experience! There was a lot of preparation. We worked very closely with producers for a few months. I also didn’t sleep the day before.
But honestly we were fortunate to have made it that far.”
Although Cho didn’t have the foresight to predict where he would end up, he always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur.
“I always dreamed about starting up my own company,” he says. Part of that comes from seeing his father run his own optical business and growing up in an entrepreneurial family.
Currently, Cho is busy catching up with his entrepreneurial success, which means stocking up on depleted inventory, building his team, and developing new products and partnerships. He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to be prepared for when opportunity knocks by continuously meeting as many people and learning as much as possible.
“The founders at Fuhu would travel to Asia to meet suppliers and do product research. Something that started out as an idea, I eventually saw on shelves at the store which was very powerful,” he says. “The skills you build and the people that you meet during your normal work sets the foundation so that you can eventually make the jump with your own product or company.”
– By Brandi-Ann Uyemura
Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.