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Three alums, including adjunct prof Jared Ward, take 'Shark Tank' by storm with therapy ball invented at BYU

Rollins Center-supported startup Myostorm lands deal on ABC show

BYU alum startup MyoStorm takes the sharks by storm on Shark Tank.

Olympic runner and BYU adjunct faculty Jared Ward, along with BYU alums Jono DiPeri and Shaquille Walker, struck a deal on ABC’s "Shark Tank" over the weekend after pitching a heated massage-therapy ball that was developed at BYU with support and mentoring from BYU’s Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.

Ward, DiPeri and Walker asked the sharks for $150,000 in exchange for 10 percent of their company MyoStorm. They ended up getting the money they wanted from QVC star Lori Greiner, but not before a little controversy — good controversy.

Nearly every shark wanted to work with MyoStorm, including entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary, who offered to take only 5 percent equity in exchange for a $1 royalty on each ball sold, up to $500,000. Meanwhile, Mark Cuban also made an offer — $250,000 for 20 percent of the company — but he bailed when the BYU alums wanted to hear other offers. In the end, the team went with Greiner, who made the same offer as O'Leary.

“We prepared for a lot of scenarios, scenarios in which we had to defend our product or scenarios in which we had to defend our dignity, and we really didn’t prepare for the scenario that we met in the tank,” Ward told Runner’s World. “We weren’t prepared for them to love our product so much.”

MyoStorm has participated in BYU's Founders’ Launchpad the past two summers, a start-up accelerator course designed to mentor students as they launch their companies. Students are provided experienced mentors and networking opportunities as well as free office space all summer. The Founders’ Launchpad is just one of many resources offered by the Rollins Center, housed in the Marriott School of Business, which has helped BYU lay claim to perennial top-10 entrepreneurship programs at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

"We are so excited for the MyoStorm team," said Rollins Center Director Scott Petersen. "They have grown immensely from participating in our competition series and our experiential learning programs. They have executed incredibly well and we are proud of all they have and will yet achieve."

Both Diperi and Walker are recent BYU grads, with DiPeri earning his degree in mechanical engineering, and Walker earning his in exercise science earlier this year. Walker is a former BYU track star, currently holding several records at BYU in the 800 meters. He ran professionally for the Brooks Beasts before retiring from running to help found MyoStorm with DiPeri, his former mission companion.

DiPeri developed MyoStorm's first product the Meteor, a vibration and heat therapy massage device designed to help reduce pain and speed up muscle recovery for athletes, with the help of Walker, Ward and BYU professors Jon Blotter (mechanical engineering) and Brent Feland (exercise sciences).

Ward is adjunct faculty in the BYU Statistics Department and also an Olympic Marathoner. He placed 6th overall in the Rio Olympics and is now preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as one of the top-ranked U.S. marathoners. Jared joined MyoStorm with DiPeri and Walker to help with product testing, R&D and was an early investor in MyoStorm.

“[Walker] and I were talking about how sitting in the room right before they march you out into the tank felt a lot like the bullpen, like right before they march you out to the track,” Ward told Runner’s World about the episode, which was filmed in June. “It was nerve-racking, but then we get in there and realize, okay, we’re people, they’re people and we’re pitching our business.”

The full episode of Shark Tank, which aired last night, is available to those who have a subscription to a streaming service. Go here: https://abc.com/shows/shark-tank/episode-guide/season-11/05-episode-5

From competitions to mentoring to grants, see how the Rollins Center is supporting student entrepreneurship year round by visiting the website below:

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