With an idea focused on helping people manage their attendance at virtual meetings and events, a York native will make his pitch to investors on “Shark Tank” tonight.
Peter Solimine, 23, will appear on the ABC program at 8 p.m. to pitch a software product he calls “Beulr.” Because the show was taped ahead of time, neither Solimine nor the network can reveal whether any of the show’s investors will back his product until after the program airs.
Solimine grew up in York and attended York Middle School before moving to Westchester, N.Y., where he went to Mamaroneck High School and graduated in 2017.
His pitch to investors involves software that he developed as a computer science and economics student at Tulane University in New Orleans. Beulr was developed to allow people to attend virtual meetings without actually being present on the call.
During a Zoom meeting, for example, Beulr will log in as the attendee, record and transcribe the call and even provide a video avatar of the account owner, so it will appear to others that the person is actually in attendance.
“It’s almost like a DVR service for Zoom,” he said.
Solimine says he conceptualized Beulr — which pays homage to the title character in the classic film, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” — so he could “attend” virtual lectures where students listened but did not interact with their professors.
“I realized very quickly that a lot of friends would use it as well,” he said.
Feeling he had a product that others would embrace, Solimine took six months off from his studies to focus on launching Beulr. Before he knew it, he had 11,000 people using the program and had raised just under $1 million in seed funding.
“To go back to college at this point, it doesn’t really make sense,” he said.
As Solimine sees it, the world of virtual meetings is here to stay and not all online experiences require direct interaction. With further exposure and potential help from one of the “Shark Tank” investors, Solimine believes Beulr will help people manage the growing demands of virtual participation.
“Our day-to-day reality is not just physical, it’s digital,” he said. “There’s a lot of use cases there.”
Solimine said he made it onto “Shark Tank” almost by accident.
“I had a friend who insisted that I do it and wouldn’t stop nagging me about applying,” he said.
After applying online, Solimine said it took seven months before he finally appeared on the show. The process, he said, was easy.
“I kept wondering if I was going to feel nervous when it came time to film,” Solimine said. “Once it actually came time to begin, there were no nerves. The whole time all I could think was ‘Wow, this is really happening.’”