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'Looking for 15 min informercial': 'Shark Tank' fans slam Autio founder as he turns down Kevin's offer

Autio co-founder turns down only offer of the night, fans accuse him of using platform for promotion
UPDATED MAR 18, 2023
Autio turns down only offer from Shark Kevin O'Leary as the founder walks away with no deal (Instagram/kevinolearytv/ABC)
Autio turns down only offer from Shark Kevin O'Leary as the founder walks away with no deal (Instagram/kevinolearytv/ABC)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: 'Shark Tank' returns with a new episode this week, and a device named Autio the Audio Guide makes an appearance. The individuals who designed this technology were searching for a Shark to bite and offered a $1 million investment for 5%. Despite the fact that the firm appeared to be promising, with a celebrity founder to back it up, Autio was unable to close a deal. The majority of fans chastised the company for its pricing and accused it of exploiting the ABC show for its 5-minutes to fame.

Autio, formerly known as HearHere, is a travel storytelling app that provides knowledge on the history and culture of various locations to which a tourist is traveling. The entrepreneurs presented their one-of-a-kind product on ABC's 'Shark Tank' Season 14 Episode 17, seeking to get the Sharks on board with their idea and secure significant funding to expand sales.


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In 'Shark Tank' Season 14, Episode 17, Woody Sears hopes for an investment in Autio (ABC)
In 'Shark Tank' Season 14, Episode 17, Woody Sears hopes for investment in Autio (ABC)

Autio turns down one Shark offer it gets

The app was launched in 2020 by entrepreneurs Woody Sears, Bill Werlin, and actor Kevin Costner under the name HearHere. The firm was renamed Autio in 2022. This app has over 10,399 stories from coast to coast throughout the country.

After installing the app, users may listen to five tales for free before purchasing a 30-day, 1-year, or 3-year membership. In this format, stories may also be downloaded and listened to offline. On iPhones, almost 500k people have downloaded the Autio app. An annual subscription is $36, and it entitles you to limitless articles and downloads that you can access from anywhere in the globe. You can obtain a discounted pricing of $19.99 per year if you are a member of the RV Organization, Good Sam.

Sharks Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, and Robert Herjavec refuse to make considering a deal with a high valuation of $20 million of the company. Shark Kevin, on the other hand, offers a million for 15%. Finally, Woody declines the offer and goes away without a deal.

'Why would I pay $36 a year for this?'

Questioning what the funding would be used for a fan on Reddit wrote, "Your bill is going to your voice actors. I'm curious what he would use the million for. Second time Mark goes out because someone else with an infrastructure will just take their place. Yeah I'm not paying $36 a year if I don't leave my state several times a year. I'm clearly not the market for this." Another fan felt it was overpriced for the purpose it served, "I went to Newport Rhode Island last year and quickly found an app that would let me do a narrated slow drive tour of the mansions. It was about $5, served it’s purpose and I’ve never opened it again. Why would I pay $36 a year for this??" Unable to understand the market for this, another Redditor wrote, "I'm really struggling to see the market for this. It could be a fun niche thing if you're going on a road trip, but I imagine most people who'd be interested would rather just load up on free podcasts." Speaking of the counter battle between co-founder Woody and Shark Kevin a fan wrote, "It’s like an audio companion for travel. The premise intrigues me as a lover of travel, but I would only be interested if I heard others in my circle discuss the app. Also, the counteroffer battle between Kevin and Woody was crazy."

However, a Twitter user felt, "We think he was looking for a 15 minute informercial."


'Shark Tank' Season 14 airs every Friday at 8/7c on ABC. Missed an episode? Been wanting to catch up? Episodes can also be viewed the next day on demand and on Hulu. Not just that, you can also watch old seasons and episodes on Amazon Prime Video and iTunes.

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