SPRINGVILLE – Just 15 months ago, when the world was spinning properly and they were on national television and no less than four billionaires “Shark Tank” were fighting to become their business partner, BYU alumni Juno DePri, Shaquille Walker and Jared Ward were world leaders.
Book the yachts. Go over Jeff Bezos. What can go wrong?
Of course it was before they ran out of stock in a matter of minutes … before they spent four months stocking their shelves … before the plague stopped the world on its tracks.
Who knew prosperity came with so much distress?
The back story
It all started with Diprey working towards getting a degree in mechanical engineering at BYU.
Alternatively, if you want to back up even more, it started when Dipper Walker was a missionary member of The Church of Jesus Messiah of Latter-day Saints in Manchester, England. Between the approaches between doors, as missionaries have done from the beginning of time, they talked about achieving some post-mission task that would make them a million dollars and make the world a better place.
Then they did what missionaries did from the beginning of time. They went home and forgot about it. Both signed up for BYU. Shaq ran on the track team, while Juno continued his engineering studies.
When this happened, Juno got involved with a research group involving students and faculty in the departments of mechanical engineering and gymnastics who studied vibrations and how they affect the human body. This has led to experiments that in order to turn a long story into a super short one – a propellant ball is formed on a hotel-sized battery that transmits vibration and heat in proportions that can help the body recover from injury and manage chronic pain.
Not only did the study help Diphri achieve his degree, he also revived the goal of making a million dollars and making the world a better place.
After receiving the green light from BY to develop and sell the massage pills commercially, the first person Diprey called was his veteran missionary partner.
“I think I have the idea we were looking for,” he said
At this point Walker conducted himself professionally. After graduating from BYU, he approached the U.S. Olympic team lineup before setting a world record for the 800-meter straight.
Juno wanted to collaborate with Shaq because firstly they had cut this treaty on their mission, and secondly, Walker would bring his athletic credibility and sports world ties to the journey.
The two men then made contact with Jared Ward, Walker’s friend and former member of BYU’s track team, who went on to finish sixth in the Rio 2016 Olympics. In addition to adding credibility and even greater connections in the sports world, Ward, now at BYU’s Faculty of Statistics , Was able to be the first investor of the new venture.
Both runners and the engineer called their newly formed company MyoStorm and called the massage ball a meteor.
The next thing they knew, “Shark Tank” was on the line. Through social media, the producers of the successful reality show ABC-TV learned about MyoStorm. They invited the three men to come to Los Angeles and make their own pitch.
What Juno, Shaq and Jared were willing to do was protect their product and try not to be eaten alive.
What they were not prepared for was their pitch being so well received that no less than four sharks made bids, including Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Matt Higgins and Laurie Greiner – and on better terms than a wish. (In the end they chose Lori’s offer).
The show aired on the evening of October 27, 2019.
Before they went to bed they ran out, and thousands of shoppers would line up.
There are a lot of customers but there is not a much better product than there are a lot of products but there are no customers. But, still, a problem.
The backup inventory took four months, but by February 2020 they had filled all their back orders. Their shelves were full. They could breathe again. What’s more, in addition to athletes, they have found that an even larger portion of their customer base is made up of everyday people who manage their pain.
Then the plague occurred, sales fell by 90% and the shelves remained full.
Only recently have they started approaching sales near the pre-COVID-19 level.
No one claims that there have certainly been calmer times to be entrepreneurs.
“Super exciting, super stressful” is how Dippery sums up the last 15 months.
“It was like running a marathon,” added a world-class marathoner. “There were some exciting and fun dishes and there were some difficult dishes. You run the kilometer you are in and trust that when you reach the next kilometer you can run it too …
“… we’re still running.”