The Pavlok is a watch designed to eradicate your bad habits through aversive conditioning, that is by associating them to a punishment (in this case, an electric shock). You might have heard of it because of the infamous pitch its creator, Maneesh Sethi, made on Shark Tank. Indeed, one of the Sharks, Kevin O’Leary, told him to f— himself!
If you would like to hear the Pavlok pitch, watch the video below. A transcript is also available at the end of this article. Maneesh Sethi appeared in episode 29, season 7, of Shark Tank, on May 20, 2016.
After the pitch, many people were quick to label Maneesh Sethi as a conman. This is unfortunate: although his presentation could have been better, he succeeded in arousing my curiosity, so much so that I ordered the Pavlok. Should you be curious too, you can read my full review of the watch by clicking on the button below:
If you are already interested in the Pavlok, click on the button below to save $20 US on your purchase:
Transcript of the Shark Tank pitch
This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Maneesh Sethi: Hi, Sharks. My name is Maneesh Sethi, and I’m from Boston, Massachusetts, and I’m seeking $500,000 in exchange for 3.14% of my company.
Lori Greiner: 3.14, wow.
Mark Cuban: It’s Pi Day!
Maneesh Sethi: Sharks, everybody has bad habits, and for some of us, they’re minor – nail biting, hitting the snooze button. But for others, they can be much more serious, or even deadly. Meet Pavlok, the first wearable that doesn’t just track what you do, but actually changes what you do. Pavlok helps you become aware by alerting you when you do behaviors you’d like to reduce. You can simply press the button and Pavlok releases a mild electric sensation that helps you reduce cravings.
Maneesh Sethi: You can laugh, but it’s actually something very serious.
Kevin O’Leary: I am laughing.
Maneesh Sethi: It releases a mild electric sensation that helps you reduce cravings and actually breaks bad habits in the brain. Pavlok harnesses scientific methods that have been researched for decades. But it’s not just research. Since launch, our users have had incredible success in changing their behaviors. Now, Sharks, which of you wants to join us in our mission to help people across the globe take control of their own behavior?
Lori Greiner: How did you come up with this idea?
Maneesh Sethi: I’ve always had severe ADD. I could never get myself to actually get stuff done. I couldn’t get myself to commit to anything, so I did what any normal person would do: I hired someone to sit down next to me and slap me in the face every time I went on Facebook.
Barbara Corcoran: Nice. Why not?
Maneesh Sethi: And I wrote a blog post about it.
Lori Greiner: Seriously?
Maneesh Sethi: Yeah. It’s a cool video. The blog post went insanely viral.
Robert Herjavec: Did they actually slap you?
Maneesh Sethi: Yeah, there’s a video of me getting slapped.
Barbara Corcoran: But did you get the work done?
Maneesh Sethi: I did. Yeah, it was really cool.
Mark Cuban: And that made you come up with this idea?
Maneesh Sethi: Yeah, I was visiting a friend of mine. I’m like, “Dude, why am I paying? I could just make a zapper that zaps me every time I go on Facebook.”
Robert Herjavec: Can we try it?
Lori Greiner: This is fascinating.
Maneesh Sethi: I’ll show it to you after one moment. I just want to explain the science behind it and then I’ll bring it out for you. Pavlok uses a type of science called aversive conditioning. It was very common in the 1960s. It’s a slight electric stimulus that’s done while doing an undesired bad habit, and it very rapidly trains your reptile brain to associate that uncomfortable stimulus with the bad habit.
Robert Herjavec: This is based on the Pavlovian principle. Can you explain that principle to us?
Maneesh Sethi: Sure. When you add two stimuli together at the same time, your brain doesn’t know what is causing the stimuli to occur; it just knows that they’re both happening at the same time, and it starts to retreat. I’ll go ahead and bring it out for you right now to try on. Here you go, Mr. Herjavec.
Robert Herjavec: This one?
Maneesh Sethi: Yeah, please put it on for me. It’s got your name engraved on it and everything.
Lori Greiner: Wow.
Kevin O’Leary: I like the design of it.
Maneesh Sethi: Thank you.
Barbara Corcoran: Thank you.
Maneesh Sethi: And if you notice – Mr. Cuban?
Mark Cuban: Thank you, sir.
Maneesh Sethi: Simply press the lightning bolt on the top of it. Press down hard.
Mark Cuban: Oh, there you go.
Robert Herjavec: It’s just a little pulse.
Maneesh Sethi: Yeah. I set it low for you because I didn’t want everybody to get scared.
Robert Herjavec: Can you set it higher?
Maneesh Sethi: Yeah, I’ll do it right now. All right.
Robert Herjavec: Oh.
Kevin O’Leary: Ow!
Barbara Corcoran: Turn it back now. Ow! Wow, how do you turn it off?
Lori Greiner: I barely feel it.
Maneesh Sethi: I want to come back to our results, okay? In a study that we based our first experiment with, it was an aversive conditioning study that was done in 1988 with 832 subjects.
Mark Cuban: Okay, so wait, let’s qualify. You said “we based our first study on,” right?
Barbara Corcoran: 1988.
Mark Cuban: That you did the study, right?
Maneesh Sethi: I’ll tell you about a study we did right after, but you can actually look through our evidence pamphlet where we have 21 clinical trials.
Robert Herjavec: I bite my nails. I’m trying to not bite my nails all the time. Where it falls down for me is if I have the discipline to buzz myself, do I not have the discipline to stop?
Maneesh Sethi: Okay, people – do you have the discipline to stop?
Robert Herjavec: Well, I don’t, but –
Maneesh Sethi: Do you wish you could stop?
Robert Herjavec: I do.
Maneesh Sethi: So here’s the –
Robert Herjavec: But your premise is we don’t have enough discipline –
Mark Cuban: It’s all nonsense, Robert. It’s all nonsense across the board.
Robert Herjavec: I can’t get around that. I want to bite my nails, and for me to stop, I have to hit this thing.
Maneesh Sethi: Sure.
Robert Herjavec: Why can’t Lori buzz it for me?
Maneesh Sethi: She can. She absolutely can. There’s a remote control. There’s a remote control app. There’s automation.
Mark Cuban: What percentage of the time does it not work?
Maneesh Sethi: It doesn’t work if you don’t want it to work.
Mark Cuban: Oh, wow.
Maneesh Sethi: Yeah, of course. If you use it on sugar, after about three or four days on a cookie or tortilla chips, you’ll start to notice the flavor changes. Now, what’s interesting about it in the first –
Mark Cuban: You start to notice the flavor changes?
Maneesh Sethi: Yeah, you do.
Mark Cuban: You’re such a con artist.
Maneesh Sethi: I’m absolutely not. As for results, Mark, more than 50% of our users break their habit in seven days or less.
Mark Cuban: First of all, let me just –
Kevin O’Leary: Let’s leave the skepticism for one minute. I just want you to –
Maneesh Sethi: I love the skepticism because he doesn’t know what’s about to come.
Mark Cuban: You can’t help anything in five days.
Kevin O’Leary: But you guys can argue till the cows come home. You want to get a deal? Explain to me why you’re worth $14 million, or 15 – what is it? How much?
Maneesh Sethi: It’s 16.
Kevin O’Leary: 16?
Maneesh Sethi: Number one, our sales are great.
Kevin O’Leary: What are your sales?
Lori Greiner: What are your sales? We didn’t get to that.
Maneesh Sethi: We’re in preorder, and we actually just began shipping this week. We’ve sold $800,000 of revenue.
Lori Greiner: Wait, wait. Preorders?
Maneesh Sethi: Three-fourths of the users were preorders and one-fourth of the users were prototypes.
Barbara Corcoran: What did each of those people pay for one device?
Maneesh Sethi: $200.
Kevin O’Leary: How much?
Maneesh Sethi: $200.
Robert Herjavec: Who buys these?
Maneesh Sethi: Our biggest users are sitting too long, waking up on time, nail biting, and eating. So we’ve started to build out multiple really cool integrations for this product. The first thing is the alarm clock. It’s the first alarm clock that works. When you get a slight zap in the morning, it actually knocks you awake with a jolt of adrenaline.
Barbara Corcoran: Great way to start the day.
Maneesh Sethi: Yeah, you’d be surprised. The people love it.
Mark Cuban: How can you guys be so gullible?
Maneesh Sethi: Read the evidence if you’re that…
Lori Greiner: We’re not being gullible. We’re asking questions.
Mark Cuban: None of it is your evidence. No one’s disputing aversion therapy. Aversion therapy works.
Maneesh Sethi: We’re bringing aversion therapy to consumers.
Mark Cuban: You’re using other people’s studies…
Lori Greiner: There’s nothing that’s actually happening.
Robert Herjavec: Mark, we know you’re the smartest guy in the room.
Mark Cuban: It’s not about being the smartest guy in the room. You can’t be that stupid, Robert, to even think there’s any legitimacy.
Robert Herjavec: Can I just listen to him?
Barbara Corcoran: Calm down, calm down.
Maneesh Sethi: Gosh, you guys are making me so ADD.
Lori Greiner: We make you ADD?
Maneesh Sethi: You guys make it happen.
Kevin O’Leary: Maneesh, you’re a strange dude.
Maneesh Sethi: Some of the cool stuff we’re doing that Mr. Cuban would like is this. We’ve started –
Lori Greiner: I don’t think Mark’s going to like anything.
Mark Cuban: Aversion therapy is legit. But what’s not legit is trying to take credit for other studies and apply it to your product.
Maneesh Sethi: I didn’t. I gave you an evidence booklet with all the citations, sir.
Mark Cuban: You’ve got a booklet that has – none of those studies are yours.
Lori Greiner: These are your studies?
Mark Cuban: They’re just related to aversion therapy.
Maneesh Sethi: No, no, no, these are studies we –
Mark Cuban: These are aversion therapy studies.
Maneesh Sethi: Aversion therapy studies.
Mark Cuban: Outside your realm. Not necessarily –
Lori Greiner: Well, you know what, that’s the strongest point here, is that this isn’t based on anything that you’ve done.
Mark Cuban: Right.
Kevin O’Leary: Are you negotiating?
Maneesh Sethi: We have had –
Lori Greiner: Where are your studies?
Maneesh Sethi: Our users, over half of them have quit their addiction in five days, seven days or less.
Lori Greiner: But you don’t have any proof that it changes your tastebuds. You don’t have any testing.
Maneesh Sethi: We do. We have users. We have evidence. More than half of our users quit. More than 81% of our users quit nail biting in four days.
Lori Greiner: Where is your proof of this? What study do you have? You should be doing clinical trials, right?
Maneesh Sethi: I’d love to.
Lori Greiner: Why don’t you have clinical trials? All right, I’m going to make it simple. I talk about things. I say things are either heroes or zeroes. For me, this is a nowhere near-o. I’m out.
Barbara Corcoran: I find your presentation is exhausting and complicated, and I couldn’t imagine having the energy to deal with that.
Kevin O’Leary: This doesn’t sound very positive, Barbara.
Barbara Corcoran: I’m out. Yeah.
Kevin O’Leary: Okay, Lori, Barbara, history.
Maneesh Sethi: I’d like to talk a little bit about our numbers this year.
Robert Herjavec: Let me just finish.
Maneesh Sethi: Sure.
Robert Herjavec: When you first came out, I really liked it. It’s habit. Habit creates discipline. Discipline creates more habit, and that’s how you get success. What I don’t like about it is you have a $16 million valuation on preorders. It’s too much. I’m out.
Maneesh Sethi: I understand absolutely, Robert. Thank you very much.
Mark Cuban: Look, if you had verifiable proof that all your aversion therapy can be well-executed with your device, you wouldn’t need to import other people’s studies because with all this advance money you got, you could’ve gone to any university and said, “You know what, we don’t want to rush it. We want to get our own verifiable studies in place so that no one can question us.” The one thing that kills tech products is hyperbole because at some point you have to execute.
Maneesh Sethi: Let me speak.
Mark Cuban: Listen to me. Now your turn to listen. If you would have just said, “You know what, this is a reminder, and everybody is different, so we have different ways to remind you” – but you went so over-the-top with nonsense, it is everything but a legitimate product. And for those reasons, I’m out.
Maneesh Sethi: Let me tell you – let me come back to medical, because I really want to answer Lori’s question.
Kevin O’Leary: Maneesh, all of these Sharks are out. They’re all out. They’re all out, okay?
Robert Herjavec: None of these Sharks are yours. Kevin’s left.
Maneesh Sethi: There is a medical component to this.
Kevin O’Leary: Shock yourself for a minute. You’re a combination of spontaneous combustion and ADD mixed together. I’m not kidding. It’s very difficult to listen to you. Luckily for you, I got my undergrad in psychology. To make money, I worked on a rhesus study that used the same technology to modify behavior.
Lori Greiner: How many other degrees, right?
Kevin O’Leary: And I’m telling you the truth here, so I’m interested, okay? I believe this technology works because I’ve seen it work. Your valuation is crazy.
Maneesh Sethi: Okay.
Kevin O’Leary: I’m sorry. It’s not worth $15.9 million now. I’m going to solve the problem with the deal structure. I’m very creative. I’ll give you the $500,000 as debt on the company. You’re going to give me the 3.14% as equity today, and you’re going to walk out of here with a Shark Tank deal. I’m going to put it on for 24 months at 7.5% and balloon payment me back in two years. If one-third of your projections are right, you can easily do that.
Robert Herjavec: It’s an offer.
Maneesh Sethi: It’s an offer. This is the problem. Damn.
Robert Herjavec: There’s a problem?
Kevin O’Leary: There’s no problem.
Maneesh Sethi: The problem, Mr. Wonderful, is that we’re not focused on the money. We’re focused more on the habits –
Kevin O’Leary: Not focused on the money? You’ve come to the wrong place, my friend.
Mark Cuban: Focused more on the what?
Kevin O’Leary: I’m here to make money.
Mark Cuban: Let him finish, Kev.
Maneesh Sethi: Our biggest thing, our biggest goal is to break bad habits around the world, and Mr. Wonderful, I just can’t work with you.
Barbara Corcoran: Why not?
Maneesh Sethi: I’m just worried that if we work together –
Barbara Corcoran: You don’t like him?
Maneesh Sethi: I do like him as a person, but I feel like as an investor in the company, it would be really bad.
Lori Greiner: Maneesh, you didn’t want an offer here today, did you really?
Maneesh Sethi: I absolutely want an offer.
Lori Greiner: You just came in for exposure?
Kevin O’Leary: Then why don’t you want the structure of that offer?
Maneesh Sethi: The structure is actually quite good.
Barbara Corcoran: It’s the person?
Maneesh Sethi: It’s the person. I feel like I would take an offer from anybody besides Mr. Wonderful.
Kevin O’Leary: Maneesh? You’re an a——. Get the f— out of here.
Mark Cuban: Oh!
Maneesh Sethi: Um, okay. If you – are you all out?
Kevin O’Leary: F— you.
Robert Herjavec: We’re all out.
Mark Cuban: Done, Maneesh.
Barbara Corcoran: Thank you for coming.
Maneesh Sethi: All right, Sharks. Thank you very much.
Mark Cuban: See ya. Wouldn’t want to be ya.
Maneesh Sethi: I have a tinge of regret for rejecting the deal with Mr. Wonderful, but the truth is, our company is building something much bigger than just money. We’re trying to change human behavior, and Kevin wouldn’t be the right partner for us to work with.