Inirv: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

It was a near-disaster that inspired the idea for Inirv. In the mid-2010s, Akshita Iyer was at the movies with her mother, who suddenly couldn't recall if she had turned off the stove. They rushed home only to find that a fire had started. Thankfully, it was extinguished before getting too big, but not before causing significant smoke damage. It wasn't the first time that her mother, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, had forgotten to turn off the stove.

She realized that with all the smart home gadgets on the market, there wasn't anything that would allow you to check your stove from a distance. Furthermore, all the high-tech devices available required having to purchase entirely new appliances. What she wanted for her parents was something that could control a stove remotely, and which would retrofit their existing oven, without having to buy an expensive new one. No such thing existed, so she set out to create it. 

Together with her husband, Ranjith Babu, the pair set out to find a solution. After two years, along with the help of contractors and backed by a Kickstarter fundraising campaign, they eventually had their first prototype. Inirv replaces the existing knobs on your stove and works in conjunction with a sensor installed on your ceiling (similar to a fire alarm). Using a mobile app or Alexa, you can check from anywhere and get an alert if the burners have been left on, and if need be, easily shut them off.

What happened to Inirv on Shark Tank?

Akshita Iyer and Ranjith Babu appeared on "Shark Tank" on January 6, 2018, in Season Nine, Episode 14. They began their pitch asking for $800,000 for an 8% stake in Inirv. They explained how the product works and told the Sharks that while it was still in development, they had a working prototype and were just making final refinements. 

The Sharks appreciated the practical product, but not its high buy-in. Mark Cuban, who is officially leaving Shark Tank, said that "even though it makes common sense ... even though you think people have enough self-interest ... they don't," (via DailyMotion). He cited avoidable deaths attributed to people not using fire alarms. 

Kevin O'Leary believed it would be obsolete within a few years. He mentioned challenges with getting it to market, and balked that, "For me to get back my $800,000, I fear I'm gonna die of old age because I'm getting practically nothing here," (DailyMotion). Damon John noted they would have to sell $2 million before he or they broke even. Lori Greiner loved the idea, but not that it wasn't a finished product yet.

Robert Herjavec, however, came forward with an offer of the requested $800,000 but for 20% equity. Babu replied that by giving away that much, it would jeopardize their valuation and ability to scale. He counter offered 10% but with 2.5% in advisory shares. Herjavec wasn't willing to negotiate, so the co-founders left without a deal.

Inirv after Shark Tank

After the show aired, the company experienced the "Shark Tank" effect, but not in the usual sense where businesses make massive sales immediately after going on the show. Since Inirv wasn't yet ready for sale, instead, the exposure brought potential future customers, along with tons of interest and valuable feedback. Iyer has mentioned in a number of articles and interviews that while it was difficult to walk away from the show empty handed, it was ultimately the best decision. She believes that had they received the investment they were hoping for at the time, due to inexperience, they wouldn't have known what to do with the money. 

Funding wasn't the company's only challenge. In 2018, Inirv was sued by its prototype manufacturer, Enventys, which claimed that it had not been paid. Inirv countersued on the grounds that the prototypes produced were defective and ultimately to blame for why there wasn't wider interest on "Shark Tank." A settlement was reached later that year.

The pandemic brought with it further problems in the form of supply chain delays. On the flipside, the business regrouped and strengthened its logistics against future disruptions. With the world turning to remote work when COVID-19 arrived, Iyer found that investors were more open to thinking outside the box and working with newcomers. Inirv officially re-launched under a new name, Ome, in 2021, and by early 2022 had raised $3 million in another round of funding.

Is Inirv still in business?

As of writing, Ome is still in business and the product provides a sense of security by letting you set cooking timers, check if your stove is off, receive notifications of burners left on, turn them off, or adjust the heat — all remotely either through the app or by hands-free voice control with Alexa. 

In March 2024, Ome unveiled its 2nd generation Smart Stove Knob at the Las Vegas Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS). The new version features improved functionality, customer-requested upgrades, a range of colors, and greater compatibility. The knobs can be purchased exclusively on the company's website, which offers a compatibility checker and notes that the product only works with gas or electric ranges with vertical, removable knobs.

The Smart Stove Knob four-pack kit retails for $549.96, which at the time of this writing has been marked-down to $399.96. You can also purchase a five-pack for stoves with extra burners, or a single knob for replacements or single burners. Of course, nothing can replace taking basic safety precautions, for example, being able to recognize the baking ingredients you didn't know were fire hazards. You should also always have a fire extinguisher nearby for kitchen emergencies, but one helpful tip to know for smaller flare ups is that baking soda is key for safely putting out grease fires.

What's Next for Ome?

Emerging as a leader in the AgeTech industry — defined as where technology and aging come together — Ome has plans for expanding into senior living communities, as well as assisting older people who choose to spend their later years aging-in-place in their own homes. Along with senior living facilities, the brand aims to service other communities and properties, such as student housing dorm rooms and multi-unit apartment buildings. 

To that end, the company has developed its own platform called Amity, which provides a centralized dashboard from which all the stoves within a residential community can be managed. It's designed to provide "peace of mind for community staff, families and caregivers while empowering older adults to maintain their independence safely at home" (via LinkedIn).

Ome is also expanding into the grilling and BBQ accessories industry with a new knob designed for outdoor gas grills. The product also debuted at the 2024 KBIS trade show and features an automatic shutoff. The brand is currently looking to partner with appliance manufacturers to bring its products to a much larger audience.

Akshita Iyer and her innovative product have been recognized with numerous honors and accolades. In October 2023, Iyer was chosen as one of Exeleon magazine's 100 Most Dynamic Leaders of 2023. In January 2024, Ome won the title of Smart Appliance Product of the Year in the eighth annual IoT Breakthrough Awards. In February 2024 Iyer was named number eight in TechRound's Top 50 Women in Startups & Tech.