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InventorCharles Michael Yim

Breathometer was a device that claimed to measure someone's blood alcohol content using their iOS and Android smartphones.[1] Breathometer was founded in September 2013 by Charles Michael Yim, who is the company’s current CEO.[2][1] The company is headquartered in Burlingame, CA.[2]

Company history[edit]

Breathometer was founded in 2012 by Charles Michael Yim, a serial entrepreneur who had earlier founded three startup companies including Chatterfly, a mobile loyalty platform for businesses that was acquired by Plum District in December 2011.[3][4][5][6] Yim noted that there were no commercial breathalyzers for the smartphone market, and the only portable breathalyzers commercially available were both expensive and impractical for users to take with them on a night out.[1][7]

The company was partly funded through preorders collected via an Indiegogo crowd-sourcing campaign, which ran until April 2013.[1][8][9] The campaign’s original goal was to raise $25,000, but by the time it closed, it had raised $138,000.[10][11]

In September 2013, Yim appeared on Shark Tank, he originally asked for $250,000 for a 10% stake in Breathometer, but all five “sharks” ended up investing a total of $1 million for a collective 30% stake in the company. It was the first time that all five sharks participated in a bid together.[12][13]


FTC complaint for deceptive advertising[edit]

In January 2017 the FTC filed a lawsuit against Breathometer, alleging "deceptive" advertising. While Breathometer claimed their devices were accurate, in truth, Breathometer's products were not adequately tested for accuracy, the FTC alleged. Further, the FTC charged that the defendants were aware that Breeze regularly understated BAC levels. Nonetheless, they allegedly failed to notify users of these problems and continued their deceptive advertising.

Product refunds[edit]

According to the complaint, sales of Original and Breeze totaled $5.1 million. The order required the company to pay full refunds to consumers who request them. [14]


The Breathometer[edit]

The Breathometer was a small device that plugged into the audio jack of a smartphone, coupled with a dedicated app that reads the user’s blood alcohol content (BAC).[8][15][16][9] The app utilizes the smartphone to provide the processing power, which allows the device to be small enough to fit on a standard keychain.[8][15] If the user’s BAC level is over the legal limit, the app displays one-click calls to local taxi services, friends from contact lists living close by, or local hotels.[7][16]

Sample beta units were handed out at the 2013 SXSW in Austin, TX.[7]


The company has since expanded its mission. Breathometer plans to release the Mint, an oral health tracker that tells the user if they have bad breath. Sensors in the device track biomarkers associated with bad breath and have the potential to measure compounds that correlate to gum disease. The company has a partnership with Philips in the area of oral hygiene.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d {{citeweb|url= Breathometer Will Ensure You Don’t Drive (Or Do Video Interviews) While Drunk|author=Ryan Lawler|date=April 5, 2013 |publisher=TechCrunch|accessdate= 1 June 2013
  2. ^ a b "Breathometer, Inc. Profile". Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  3. ^ Sarah Perez (August 17, 2011). "Chatterfly Launches Mobile Digital Loyalty App". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  4. ^ Sara Perez (December 8, 2011). "Moms Love Daily Deals: Plum District Raises $20 Million, Acquires Chatterfly & DoodleDeals". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  5. ^ Timothy Hay (October 18, 2013). "Fresh From Swimming in 'Shark Tank,' Breathometer Raises $2M for Smartphone Breathalyzer". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  6. ^ Jameson Ketchum (March 15, 2013). "Breathometer Helps You Party Responsibly". Substream Magazine. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c "Breathometer Helps You Party Responsibly". Substream Music Press. March 15, 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  8. ^ a b c David J. Hill (April 9, 2013). "BREATHOMETER — A BREATHLYZER FOR YOUR SMARTPHONE". Singularity Hub. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  9. ^ a b Dean Takahashi (March 13, 2013). "Breathometer unveils the first smartphone breathalyzer". Venture Beat. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  10. ^ Charles Michael Yim. "Breathometer - A Smartphone Breathalyzer". Indiegogo. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  11. ^ Shane McGlaun (March 27, 2013). "Breathometer blows past funding goal and adds new stretch goals". Slash Gear. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  12. ^ Hay, Timothy. "Fresh From Swimming in 'Shark Tank,' Breathometer Raises $2M for Smartphone Breathalyzer". WSJ. Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  13. ^ "Charles Yim: Breathometer Talks how Indiegogo Lead to Shark Tank – SXSW 2014". 2014-03-15. Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  14. ^ ""Breathometer" Marketers Settle FTC Charges of Misrepresenting Ability to Accurately Measure Users' Blood Alcohol Content". FTC. January 23, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Smartphone breathalyzer tells when you're too drunk to drive". CBS News. March 19, 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  16. ^ a b Eric Griffith (March 29, 2013). "Breathometer Turns Smartphones Into Personal Breathalyzers". PC Mag. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  17. ^ Patrick Seitz (January 8, 2016). "'Smell tech' firms sniff out bad breath, alcohol, air pollution". Investors Business Daily. Retrieved 13 January 2016.

Further reading[edit]

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