August 31, 2015
I can honestly that, without a doubt, my favorite technologies are ones that get people up, out, and interacting with the real world. It could be an augmented reality platform that takes people to new parts of their city, or a superb set of element-proof, Bluetooth speakers built for the outdoors.
There are few market verticals where this mindset is more applicable than the world of sports technology. I’m constantly sifting through sports news for leads on innovation, and for a long time I came across a lot of the same stuff like wearables.
However, in the last six months or so the market seems to be spreading out and reaching areas of sports that are almost neglected, rudimentary, or somewhat primitive in nature. I’m talking about everything from bike helmets all the way to ultrasound machines.
Recently I came across a company, Hyperice, that’s been relentless in their pursuit of cornering the market for athletic recovery. They too fit this new trend of innovation in the sports world, and their tech is split between Hyperice ICT (cryotherapy) and The Vyper (foam rolling).
There’s no question that cold therapy has been, and always will be, an effective method for reducing inflammation and pain while also serving shortening recovery time. Each Hyperice ICT device is built with two different parts to maximize the cold therapy benefit:
- Ice Cell with Air Release Technology: The Ice Cell provides the cold component by harnessing the power of real ice which is loaded into the Ice Cell each time the Hyperice is used.
- Compression Wrap: Each Hyperice compression wrap is designed to apply maximum pressure to the Ice Cell, pushing all excess air to the surface so it can be released from the Ice Cell.
In a way, the Hyperice turns into a pseudo ice-cast that conforms to your body at the knee, shoulder, elbow, or back. They were all built specifically to increase compression, surface contact, and surface area of the ice, which leads directly to further cold penetration into the soft tissue: effective, quick, and superior recovery.
Keeping the body’s muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia loose is essential for maintaining flexibility and range of motion. Foam rolling is a great way to do this, and it’s something almost everybody at your gym does (side note: if you don’t foam roll, you definitely should).
By adding vibration and pressure via The Vyper, the foam rolling process is taken to an entirely new level. It offers three different vibration speeds and was fitted with specially designed vibration rods to deliver the maximum to your muscles.
Now, if you’re thinking that anybody could go out and develop something like this you’re not alone. In fact, Anthony Katz – founder, knew that he was going to have to market his company in a way that not only stood out from the crowd, but also make the rest of the herd disappear entirely.
His solution was to partner with the biggest and best professional athletes around. Easier said than done, but Katz had an in: he used to play pickup basketball with Mark Sanchez, number three quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.
INC wrote an article about his journey selling all the athletes on his product, but his initial interaction with Sanchez really stuck out to me:
“Equally striking was Katz’s vibe, which was unlike that of the other hawkers and hustlers. “He just has such a calm presence and easygoing demeanor,” Sanchez says. “He wasn’t pushy. He just let the product work for itself.” Impressed on both counts, Sanchez told Katz to call him if he ever needed help raising money,” reads the article.
Look at what Katz did here: he didn’t come on strong with his pitch, he trusted the product, and he knew how to pitch his target – Sanchez. Are all you entrepreneurs out there taking notes? You should be.
Getting Sanchez on board was the proverbial foot-in-door moment for Katz, and he was able to leverage his situation to market Hyperice to some of the world’s top athletes from that point. Blake Griffin, Troy Polamalu, Hope Solo, and Lindsey Vonn are all currently partnered with Hyperice, and the team just signed Patrick Peterson – he’s one of the best defensive backs in the NFL.
Through these partnerships alone Hyperice has built an incredibly strong domestic foothold via the NBA and the NFL, but they’ve also made a serious shot at going international thanks to Vonn and Solo’s Olympic network. At the same time, the athletes love it because Hyperice actually works very well. Thus, Katz has successful conversions and gains a robust network of insanely strong marketing tools.
Even if you don’t like the sporting world too much, you can’t ignore the entrepreneurs operating and innovating in the space. Not only do they have great tech, but in my opinion they’re one of the best examples you get for marketing capability, networking prowess, and bold faced courage when facing massive goals. We can learn a lot from Katz and his journey with Hyperice, no doubt about it.
Image Credit: Hyperice PR team
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