One criticism of the tech world is that it creates products which solve problems no one knew they had and charges a lot for those products. Juicero, Google Glass, the Apple Watch.
“Powered by pure natural silver — Silvon is a pillowcase that permanently prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria,” the product description reads.
In just three days, the Brooklyn-based pillow raised a pretty legit $34,000 from more than 450 backers. For $35 you can get a Silvon pillowcase, which the company says will eventually retail for $45.
Silvon claims that because we wash our pillowcases relatively infrequently, they accumulate lots of bacteria, as much bacteria, they say, as your toilet seat. Dermatologists, they say, recommend you wash your pillowcase every two to three days.
“But who has time for that?” Alex Szpakowski, the founder of Silvon, asks in the product’s video.
Not us, that’s for sure.
Szpakowski’s main claim is that by eliminating the bacteria on your pillow, you will have less acne. Why spend money on soaps and cleansers before bed if you’re then going to go bury your face into a germ and drool cloud?
But does bacteria even cause acne? Well, according to the Mayo Clinic, yeah.
“When your body produces an excess amount of sebum and dead skin cells, the two can build up in the hair follicles,” according to the clinic. “They form a soft plug, creating an environment where bacteria can thrive. If the clogged pore becomes infected with bacteria, inflammation results.”
But there’s still something that feels a little off about Silvon. Despite the Kickstarter video and pitch looking very professionally made, the company’s website has nothing on it. Just the Kickstarter video and buttons to share it on Facebook and Twitter. Only by some deep Googling did we even find the name of the founder, Szpakowski, who has no LinkedIn, no Twitter, and essentially no web presence save an AngelList profile, where Silvon is the only entry. He also has an Instagram, which has Silvon stuff and a lot of snowboarding, but no clues about where in Brooklyn he lives or works or much else.
His bio on AngelList says only, “Alex is an entrepreneur with a passion for design. Before Silvon he worked in product development, brand strategy, and textile design. With Silvon he aims to create beautiful products that solve complex problems.”
Silvon does seem to have a predecessor, the SleepClean pillowcase. It was also an antimicrobial pillowcase, also touted its acne-fighting qualities, and also retailed for $35, though this one did not have silver woven into it. Szapowksi’s personal site alexander-szpakowski.format.com features the SleepClean pillowcase. The website for the pillowcase also redirects to the Silvon site.
Many times on Kickstarter, companies give a ton of information. About the founders, their story, their procurement process and their ability to fulfill orders. Silvon doesn’t do that. That doesn’t mean it’s bad or it won’t fulfill orders, it’s just different. We don’t know what to make of it. What do you think?