Caribbean born and U.S. raised Jason Peat is one of the owners and the Chief Operating Officer for a Dallas based company called Blue Infusion Technologies who has developed a wearable technology product called BearTek Gloves. The world will get a demonstration of the product on the ABC’s hit TV reality show, Shark Tank on Friday, February 5, 2016 but before that episode goes to air, explore Jason’s background, how the idea for the product came about and what’s next for the BearTek team.
Jason’s Early Life
Jason was born in Jamaica before his family decided to make the move to New York when he was seven years old. They eventually settled in the South Florida area and his family was very encouraging of him and his siblings getting a good education.
“My mother and father were very instrumental in making sure that education came first. They definitely made sure that we still did our extracurriculars as far as social activities, athletics, etc, but definitely a strong work ethic was built in from very early on.” Jason explains.
Education and Professional Career
After attending Ft. Lauderdale’s Boyd Anderson High School through a magnet program, Jason attended a Florida A&M University on a music scholarship after playing trombone since fourth grade. While he was there on a music scholarship, he ultimately decided to pursue his passion for architecture instead and after graduating with his masters, he worked in Atlanta for various architectural firms having helped work on a lot of buildings in Metro Atlanta. He eventually moved to Dallas where he began working at a small startup company focusing on renewable energy and energy efficiency where he met his current business partner, Tarik Rodgers.
His business partner had already moved onto BearTek and suggested that Jason join him there. Jason helped build the company from the ground up and is now currently a managing partner and runs all of the aspects relating to operations for the company. The idea for BearTek Gloves came from the original founder, Willie Blount, and his frustration with having to pull over constantly while riding his motorcycle to take off his gloves so that he could answer phone calls or adjust his playlist on his phone.
“I rode motorcycles also so I got it immediately. This is definitely a good thing.” Jason said.
Tarik Rogers, who is the CEO of the company, had the same pain point while skiing as it was difficult to access his phone and challenging to contact people who he had become separated from. It was obvious that all the people involved in the company could see how the product would be useful to a lot of people in a variety if uses.
“That was the real concept of what birthed this whole idea of BearTek and then once a few prototypes were done and we got some validation out of the market, we said let’s go full speed with this thing. Let’s get some patents in place and let’s build a company around it. That’s the early version of the story,” Jason explained.
The primary markets that Jason and his team set out to target were primarily sports such as skiing or other snow sports and motorcycle riders. This worked out well as these were the same areas that the team was particularly passionate about. The product itself is a glove that utilizes Bluetooth technology to connect to your phone or GoPro camera and allows you to remotely control your device by simply tapping your fingers together without having to stop your primary activity or remove your gloves. Combining the apparel and technology was a tricky process.
“The manufacturing of apparel has its own set of problems and then the manufacturing of technology has its own set of issues and you combine those and you’ve got a quagmire of problems.” he said.
Once the product had been developed prototyped, they began going to trade shows, events, conferences where they started to get a lot of attention from retailers, traditional media as well as online media. Being able to go out and demo the product in front of real people who could relate to the pain points had a bigger impact than describing the product via their online store ever could.
“When you try and explain it, and even via this interview, it’s hard to really grasp the concept of what this product and what this technology is really about. But, when you get in front of somebody and literally click your fingers together and the music on the your phone, sitting five feet away, starts playing music, people’s jaws literally drop,” Jason explained.
Shark Tank Appearance
Shark Tank is the next big thing to happen to Jason and his team. After being suggested to him on many occasions, Jason and team decided to go through the audition process to get the product more public exposure and to help with developing the next generation of BearTek products. After the initial audition in Houston on May 5th, they advance to the next round where they were asked to put together a video pitch which would decide whether they got onto the actual show or not. The video pitch featured practical things like how the product came to be but also went into their personalities and backgrounds. They were then invited to California for filming with the Sharks and you’ll be able to see what happened on February 5th on the show!
“They evaluated our audition and then about three weeks later, we got that call that said come on out to California. This was the third and final round and that was the filming. Yep, that’s where it all came down. We got in front of the sharks and the rest is history,” he said.
Currently the first generation of the BearTek Gloves is available on their website, www.BearTekGloves.com, but they are planning to release the second generation BearTek when the episode of Shark Tank airs.
“This is a sneak peak. You’ll see on Shark Tank and even on our website what our first generation product looks like. One of the things that’s happening simultaneously with this airing of the show is that we’re actually going to be announcing our second generation product which takes it to a whole other level.” Jason explains.
Jason as married to Dr. Andreka Peat (an alumn of Xavier University). They reside in Dallas, TX with their two children Gabriel (7) and Alexa (4). He enjoys playing soccer, riding mountain bicycles and spending time with his family.