Fargo startup PRx Performance to appear on Shark Tank
February 18th, 2016 By Marisa Jackels, originally appeared in Emerging Prairie
Fargo locals Brian Brasch and Erik Hopperstad, co-founders of the fitness equipment manufacturer PRX Performance, will appear on ABC’s show Shark Tank on February 26. [Edit: They will now be appearing on Sunday, February 21, at 10/9 CST.]
Out of 69,200 applicants who applied either in person or via video submission, 120 companies were picked to appear in front of the “sharks”. PRX Performance was one of them. They are one of the first (if only) North Dakota based companies ever to appear on the show.
PRX Performance is a Fargo-based company that sells compact cross fitness equipment, primarily foldable squat racks of their own design. After a workout, the equipment folds within inches of the wall to keep space open. The company totes phrases like “lift big in small spaces,” and “garage gym.”
They cater to the rapidly growing world of CrossFit, one that Brasch and his teammates have been a part of for years. In the three years of business, they’ve started selling in Scheel’s, Play It Again Sports, and shipping to places as far as New Zealand and Australia. They have even sold equipment to the only 5-star hotel in Moscow, Russia, Brasch said.
Because of his background in CrossFit, long-time Shark Tank investor Daymond John was the main “shark” that Brasch and Hopperstad zeroed in on when preparing their pitch, Brasch said. (Fun fact: John was recently in North Dakota presenting at a conference in Bismarck.)
“He [John] is a CrossFitter, he owns like 6 CrossFit gyms,” Brasch said. “He was number one when you think, ‘who do you want to partner with?’ This is someone you’re going to work with on a regular basis.”
From Fargo to Shark Tank
Photo by Marisa Jackels
Brasch and his team have been waiting 8 months to make the Shark Tank announcement.
“The hardest part is, we filmed last June and couldn’t say anything about it,” he said. “It’s hard going through it, and having the silent aspect to it.”
The idea to apply came in December 2014 after Hopperstad, an avid Shark Tank watcher, realized the show was doing open casting in Miami, FL a day before they would be there for a conference. After posing the idea to Brasch, he asked, “What do you think?”
“I’ve moved our flights already,” Brasch responded.
In Miami, they waited for two hours among thousands of applicants to pitch PRX Performance in a single minute. “One minute to make an impression,” Brasch said.
Apparently, they did. But after that, all details are under a strict non-disclosure agreement, Brasch said. He did share that behind-the-scenes, there’s no funny business. They were strictly forbidden from talking to the sharks until pitch time.
“You always wonder about a reality show, if there’s any side things to it,” he said. “But it’s the real deal.”
Other than that, what happened in the tank, stays in the tank. At least until this Sunday.
“Not for the weak of heart”
Regardless if they landed a deal or not, the appearance on Shark Tank is expected to skyrocket PRX Performance sales, Brasch said.
In 2015 a reported 6.9 million viewers watched the show. In 2013, Shark Tank produced TJ Hale stated that the marketing value of appearing on the show was around $4-5 million – and it has only grown since then.
“To take a small business from Fargo, North Dakota and give it six minutes on national television… it’s invaluable for a startup to have that kind of exposure,” Brasch said.
Photo by Marisa Jackels
As a serial entrepreneur with a few other ventures, Brasch has presented in front of venture capitalists before, he said. But “being in the tank,” as they say, was a whole new level of pitching.
“Going in front of a venture capitalist is one thing. But when you’re in front of five people for a short period of time, it’s intense. We’ll obviously see how that unfolds on Friday [Sunday] . It’s not for the weak of heart, that’s for sure,” he said, laughing.
The big question is – if they do get a deal, will it be with Daymond John or with Robert Herjavec, the self-proclaimed “sporty shark”? Will Herjavec do some pull-ups, as he did here? Tune in on Sunday, February 21 to find out.
PRX PERFORMANCE – PROFILE RACK
While the benefits of weightlifting are obvious, figuring out how to do it effectively and efficiently, on your own time, with limited space has been an ongoing battle. I’m here to tell you, it’s a problem no more. The pioneers of the space saving market, Fargo, ND based company, PRx Performance, has the solution for you. Whether in your home, garage or small and expensive commercial space, they have designed a number of space-saving racks that, despite replication attempts, continue to be the highest quality and most versatile options available. Yes, they only take up 4” of wall space when not in use!
Since inception in early 2013, PRx Performance has intensively focused on design and innovation. In early 2014, the first Profile® Racks were introduced giving athletes a whole new opportunity for training. With simple assembly and installation, and no need for disassembly to store them away, the PRx Profile® Racks offer a very stout rack and functional pull-up bar all in one. Their efficient design folds upward to allow space for other great space-saving accessories like their wall-mounted weight storage, bar storage, medicine ball holders or Abmat holders. These clever solutions give athletes the potential for a complete gym in less than 9 feet of horizontal wall space.
With plenty of options, the Profile® Rack is customizable to suit your space and needs while fitting a number of budgets. The Cadillac is a 3”x3” Pro version which comes in 90” or 96” heights and features laser-cut numbers for easy j-cup placement. Color-option for uprights also offer the potential for a super cool look in your favorite shade. The newest and most popular option is the 2”x3” version which is available in 90” height and black. Both options can be paired with a Kipping Bar™ (which allows enough room for kipping pull-ups, butterfly pull-ups, bar muscle-ups or toes-to-bar), or a single pull-up bar for strict work making it more versatile than the competitors. Check out details and design at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz1PoFXfJz4 or here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0u5kEt6hQKg and find out product highlights on an episode of The Vanilla Ice Project at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A-dOS5V8PQ.
Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. But don’t be fooled…not all are created equal. Rogue and Again Faster now offer modified versions, but beware of design restrictions. Rogues 21” and 41” deep options require a number of extra installation steps, and annoying disassembly to fold them away which takes time and effort every time you workout. The 21” deep model lacks the room required to kip. The 41” deep model takes up 8’ of horizontal space folded away, which is twice that of the PRx Profile® Racks. Again Faster offers a fold-up version but the pull-up bar is an add-on and lacks functionality with no space for kipping movements. Again, installation is challenging due to the need for a ledger board prior to mounting, plus additional bracket requirements.
With a ton of options, flawless functionality and space conscious designs, PRx Performance should be your first and best option for space-saving racks and accessories. Make the most of your home, garage or small commercial space with the simplicity and efficiency of the Profile® Racks. Pull it down, go to town, push it back up and its like it’s not even there. Lift big in small spaces!