What Happened To SmartPlate After Shark Tank?

There are a ton of meal planner apps out there, but they may not always be the most accurate, so Anthony Ortiz, founder of the running accessories company Fitly, invented the SmartPlate to be the "FitBit of dieting," via Shark Tank Blog. When the pitch of the product aired on "Shark Tank" in 2016, it was just a prototype, but co-founder/presenter Martin Dell'Arciprete made big promises about the product's future. The entrepreneur explained that the ideal version of the product would have weight sensors within the plate to calculate portion sizes and then a corresponding app would determine the nutritional information of the foods using AI.

Dell'Arciprete explained that the retail price of the plate would be $199, so tracking exactly what is on your plate apparently comes at quite the premium. SmartPlate was seeking a whopping $1 million for 15% equity in the company since the product still needed to be built. Although the company was able to raise $110,000 via Kickstarter, the Sharks had many hesitations about investing in the product.

What the Sharks thought of SmartPlate

When Kevin O'Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, says, "I smell pre-revenue," on "Shark Tank," that is never a good sign, even if it's true. The Sharks were immediately turned off by how much still needed to be flushed out to create the ideal SmartPlate product. Mark Cuban was especially wary about the finished product not being built yet, because the company would have to rely on a "third-party design firm," and couldn't be 100% confident that it would actually work (via Philadelphia Magazine).

Barbara Corcoran pulled no punches in her response to the pitch: "Your presentation really was just terrible, I'm sorry to say. Terrible and confusing." The rest of the Sharks shared this sentiment and did not invest in the product. Apparently, the CEO of SmartPlate, Anthony Ortiz, agreed with them, because he fired Martin Dell'Arciprete shortly after the presentation. Although it sounds like SmartPlate's story ends there after becoming a "Shark Tank" flop, the company eventually managed to secure enough funding and move forward with its business plan, with a few tweaks to the original business model it proposed.

Where are they now?

SmartPlate received an influx of pre-orders after appearing on "Shark Tank," but took a while to ship them out due to production issues.  The brand was able to get a bit of a boost when it received $1.2 million from Bed Bath & Beyond, Jet, Target, and just over $150,000 from Indiegogo crowdfunding, allowing them to continue improving the plate's tech. The team's work paid off during SmartPlate's initial test run, successfully selling 150 units and gaining more traction. In July 2020, the company announced its partnership with entrepreneur, author, and business coach, Tony Robbins, in a Facebook post with a caption that read, "Tony loves SmartPlate! You need energy to build your business, to follow your dreams, and have a healthy emotional state."

The slow climb to success seemed just within reach for the hopeful start-up until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, creating even more production delays and rolling back shipment dates for buyers as far back as May of 2021. Instead of becoming another "Shark Tank" food fail, as of 2023, the company's website is up and running and entices consumers with the assertion that SmartPlate is 30% more accurate than competing apps and four times faster. It goes into detail about app functionality, FitBit and Apple Health integration, and AI-powered food image recognition, although the free app is only available for iPhone users at this time. SmartPlate now has thousands of subscribers and rakes in $1 million in annual sales revenue with its subscription model. 

What does a SmartPlate subscription offer?

Even though selling the plate for $199 was a pitch that had Shark Kevin O'Leary saying, "Honey, poopsie, baby, that's crazy," the company maintains that price, but has adjusted to the times and now offers a subscription model. The brand offers a monthly membership that up to five users can benefit from, where subscribers pay the flat fee of $199 for the actual product before moving on to paying $30 per month. SmartPlate also offers a 30-day free trial period where interested buyers can test out the company's tech before going all in. Upon subscribing, users will receive the product along with add-ons like two sets of smart trays, meal prep tips and personalized plans, a calorie counting guide, and fat loss guides. There are also weight loss coaching programs sold on the website, with options that range from three weeks to six months of professional coaching as part of a "behavior replacement" program. 

The company appears to be doing well, as a majority of its reviews on the App Store are positive. "If you want to lose fat, eat healthier, and gain an awareness of what you're actually putting into your body, SmartPlate is your answer! Woot woot! Loving this setup," said one reviewer. 

The future of SmartPlate is looking pretty solid, and who knows, maybe it will join the list of the best kitchen tools we've seen on "Shark Tank."