Kevin Flannery spent six years developing WiSpots, an interactive system that provides advertiser-supported wireless access to patients in high-traffic medical facilities, such as waiting rooms, check-in areas and examination rooms. Patients pick up a “wireless web pad” from the WiSpot display to check into the office, fill out surveys, sign up for clinical trials, simply surf the web or take care of email—all while receiving targeted advertisements and coupon offers. When it is time for their appointment, the patients place the web pad into the charging cradle on the display. The cost is absorbed by advertisers, such as pharmaceutical companies.
Kevin was determined that WiSpot would succeed. He had grown up in the foster care system and had nothing. WiSpot would ensure a better life for his children. When Barbara asked if he had invested any of his own money, he answered that he had taken out two mortgages on his home and now had to sell it, drained his retirement account and the children’s college funds, and had maxed out his credit cards. The sharks already had objections to the product, mostly that his invention was not solving a problem; people have tablets and smart phones to use while they wait in medical offices. When they heard of his financial situation, they begged him to quit—for his children.
Kevin garnered some interest after his episode aired. He received thousands of letters, some of them death threats. Several sales and distribution companies contacted him about marketing and selling WiSpots, but nothing came of it. Kevin now works a full-time job and spends about 20 hours a week on WiSpots, pursuing customers, partners and investors.