Philadelphia entrepreneur pitches calorie-counting plate on 'Shark Tank'

UNIVERSITY CITY (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia start-up pitched a product Friday night to the sharks on ABC's "Shark Tank" they say will revolutionize the way we eat.

It's called the SmartPlate and it's the brainchild of Anthony Ortiz - a local entrepreneur who was inspired by his father's own weight loss and health journey.

"We almost lost my dad to triple bypass surgery and the surgeon said to us you know your dad could have avoided this if he just ate a little bit better and I thought, 'that's a simple prescription,' " said Ortiz.

Action News had a chance to check out the prototype at Ortiz's Fitly office in University City.

Ortiz says that plates, in one form or another, have been around for more than 500 centuries, but his is a first-of-a-kind eating device.

His SmartPlate has cameras, image recognition software and sensors to weigh and analyze your food.

"So this plate can actually tell you to remove 2 tablespoons from tray C because you are about to go over on your carbohydrate limit," he said.

It then alerts you when you're missing the mark - whether directly on the plate itself or through a push notification to your phone.

"Never has the plate been able to ever tell us or give us the info we need such as how much to eat, when to eat, what to pair with what things to guide us. So this is the first time in history that we've made a plate smart," said Ortiz.

The SmartPlate stepped into the national spotlight Friday night as Ortiz's former head of marketing made the big pitch to the sharks.

The Fitly company was looking for a $1 million investment for a 15 percent share.

"We can't talk about the outcome, but the experience was tremendous. We are excited to see if the sharks take a bite out of SmartPlate or if we eat the sharks for breakfast," he said with a laugh.

Unfortunately, none of the sharks took the bait.

The SmartPlate is now on sale. The company plans to ship later this year.

CLICK HERE for more information on the SmartPlate.
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