‘Huge boost to our business’: Former Live Oak resident discusses career as entrepreneur, inventor
As the COVID-19 pandemic hits full swing and millions of workers shift to remote work, former Live Oak resident Paramvir Dhoot and his colleagues set out to solve a common problem: keeping your microphone on during virtual meetings. Being able to mute and unmute quickly.
Over the past two years, Dhoot and his company’s co-founders have worked to invent and market Mute Me, a device that uses popular video conferencing technology to help the user mute themselves at the press of a button. Syncs with software. As parents themselves, the Mute Me team was inspired to turn their idea into a business because of the struggle of balancing kids and working from home, Dhoot said.
After conceptualizing the idea for Mute Me, the company was first able to market itself through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.
“It is a platform that is used exclusively by people in the hardware space to launch products without actually having the funds to do it. By placing it there, you’re able to essentially sell your product before you actually have inventory for your product, Dhoot said.
He said the Mute Me quickly became a hot-selling item, reaching the number two spot globally for tech products sold during the pandemic. Due to the rapid success of the product, Dhoot and Ty Davis, another co-founder of the company, were invited to present their product on the business investment reality show “Shark Tank” in October 2021.
The ABC television show invites entrepreneurs from various industries to pitch their business ideas or products to a group of investors in hopes of receiving funding to move their company forward. A producer from the show contacted the Mute Me team and strongly encouraged them to apply for the opportunity to appear in a future episode.
“I equate it to if you had a favorite university or school, if you went there and they encouraged you to apply, you thought you had a pretty good shot of getting in, right?” Dhoot said.
While filming their episode, Dhoot and Davis showcased Mute Me’s potential as a technology company, while seeking $200,000 from investors in exchange for a 20% ownership stake. He was offered $200,000 for 50% ownership by “Shark Tank” investor Daymond John, but ended the episode without a deal. Despite this, Mute Me’s performance on “Shark Tank” propelled its success, said Dhoot.
“It was a big boost to our business. It doubled sales overnight, but it set us on a path that was incredible,” he said.
About a year after their first television appearance, Mute Me also appeared on CBS News for their “Techno Clause” segment, which airs each year in December.
“We got national media attention twice and sold out both times,” Dhoot said. “We got to see what it was like to operate as a large company for a day.”
In two years, Mute Me went from conception to a fully established company, with sales of over $1 million by 2022.
On March 10, Dhoot visited Live Oak High School to tell students about his experience working as an entrepreneur and inventor during the school’s College and Career Resource Fair. As a former Live Oak High alumnus, Dhoot is interested in guiding those aspiring to pursue a career in business.
“Something I want to tell people is that if they have something they want to pursue, if you can get the right team of people to work with you, it’s very possible that you can pursue that, Whatever,” he said.