He came up with the device after a ruined date – and now wants to sell it for $ 399.
In 2016, Omri Moran came up with a device with a mechanical “hand” that can quickly varnish and dry his girlfriend’s nails. It turned out to be more difficult to bring the idea to life than he thought: the development dragged on for five years.
During this time, competitors managed to come up with their own robots and attract millions of dollars in investment. But none of them give the nails a shape, so they will not replace a salon manicure, writes NYT.
How the idea for a manicure robot was born
Omri Moran asked his future wife out on a date in 2016, but she was very late. When he asked what happened, she replied: “It doesn’t matter, you won’t understand.”
Moran then headed up a geotracking startup KitLocate and easily discovered the reason: the girl was in a nail salon, but after him she went in a different direction. It turned out that she had not finished drying the varnish, and it smeared. Then she hurried home and tried to save the manicure, but in the end she took off the cover.
In the same year, Moran, together with friends Ron Miller and Avichai Mor Yosef, began to work on the concept of a device that can quickly and evenly paint nails with varnish. Then Moran was the head of Yandex in Israel, and he had to leave the company.
The Nimble device resembles a lamp for drying gel polish and works on three capsules – a base for varnish, a colored coating and its fixer. They must be inserted into the device before switching on.
When the user places their hand in the hole, Nimble scans it using computer vision to distinguish fingernails from fingers. Then a tiny robotic hand paints the nails, and then a stream of warm air dries them completely. The whole process takes about 10 minutes.
The team worked on the device for 4.5 years and received several patents for it. During this time, hundreds of people have tested it, Moran writes on his Facebook page.
In April 2021, Nimble launched a Kickstarter campaign, where it is now selling its device for $ 249, and then will increase the price to $ 300. The device will retail for $ 399. A set of three capsules – base, varnish and fixer – costs $ 9.
The company hoped to raise $ 25 thousand through crowdfunding, and as a result received $ 1.8 million from 5877 people. The company also raised $ 10 million from the Israeli investment company LionBird, venture capital funds IBI Tech Fund and Entrée Capital, and some private investors.
Who else makes nail dye devices
Nimble already has two competitors in the US. One of them is trying to create a $ 100 device, while the other plans to install vending machines in supermarkets and offices and charge $ 10 for one dyeing.
On May 29, Clockwork opened its first branded outlet in San Francisco. While it is possible to make a cover there for $ 7.99. Their apparatus is stationary and much larger than that of the Nimble.
Clockwork founders Renuka Apte and Aaron Feldstein opened their company in 2017 and tested the device for the first time in 2019 on Dropbox employees.
That same year, they raised $ 3.2 million from Reddit founder Alexis Ohanyan’s Initialized Capital Fund. Clockwork’s other business angels include former CEO of smart clothing store Stitch Fix and ex-marketing director of Sephora chain Julie Bornstein, according to the company’s website.
Clockwork wants to sell its desktop device to retailers, companies that rent offices, and developers for installation in the halls of residential complexes.
The device also uses computer vision and AI technologies, but instead of a robotic arm, it uses older technology. The finger is fixed in a stationary position while the robot applies varnish to the nail in a circle from the dispenser.
In 2019, startup Coral tested its device and raised $ 4.3 million from CrossLink Capital, Root Ventures, Tandem Capital and Y Combinator. The Coral team consists of about 10 people – mechanical engineers, chemists and software developers.
Coral co-founder Ramya Venkateswaran was previously a product strategy manager at Dolby, where she helped launch a conference phone, and her partner Bradley Leong runs venture capital fund Tandem Capital.
Together they created a semiautomatic device with a hole for one finger. The device is closed and the user does not see how the varnish is applied.
It is similar in size to the Nimble and is also intended for home use. Coral plans to compete on price and is constantly changing the model so that the device costs no more than $ 100.
Robots will not replace beauty salons
Although all three companies have received funding, their devices are still being tested and refined before going to market.
Clockwork believes their robot will appeal to a male audience that doesn’t like sitting in a salon. The company also estimates that on average, women spend over $ 1,600 on manicure and 50 hours a year.
The Global Nail Care Industry estimates that the nail care market is worth approximately $ 10 billion and could reach $ 11.6 billion by 2027.