An East Lansing nutrition company co-owned by a former Michigan State University athlete from South Lyon has received the business offer of a lifetime.
The $700,000 cash infusion from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Cuban during Sunday night's airing of ABC's "Shark Tank" could transform the company into a leader in several industries.
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When Rob Zondervan, a med student at Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine, was asked to take photos and videos of a surgeries, he came up with the idea of creating sterilized phone cases.
A former Michigan State University athlete and his wife are expected to pitch their business to a popular TV show's panel of experts this month.
Joe and Megan Johnson, co-owners of VADE Nutrition will explain their business plan to hosts of ABC's "Shark Tank" at 9 p.m. Nov. 25.
The show has already been filmed, Joe Johnson said, and is expected to reveal whether VADE will get financial support from any members of the show's entrepreneurial "sharks."
"With our business as exciting and innovative as it is," Joe Johnson said Wednesday morning, "pitching it is really what we strive in and love doing."
VADE is an East Lansing-based company that sells packets of protein powder that dissolve quickly in any type of liquid.
Johnson said he's sworn to secrecy about the company's outcome on the show. The couple earned a spot on the show after their business plan received strong reviews from the "Shark Tank" team during an open casting call.
Amanda Munoz-Temple, a spokeswoman for the show, confirmed in an email Wednesday that episode 1007 of "Shark Tank" will feature VADE Nutrition on Nov. 25.
Johnson, 26, from South Lyon, competed for MSU's wrestling team from 2011-16.
His wife, Megan Johnson, 27, of Anthem, Arizona, is a former University of Arizona cheerleader. They live in East Lansing.
Joe Johnson said the couple came up with the idea for the dissolving protein packets a few years ago. They were tired of post-workout nutrition that wasn't convenient for their fast-paced lifestyles.
"Scooping protein powder in the car after a workout made the seats and console of their car covered in powder," a message on the VADE Nutrition website reads, "and taking the protein powder on the go was impossible without prepping ahead of time by pre-measuring into a baggy or bottle compartment."
The Johnsons named the company VADE because it's a Latin term meaning "to go" or vanish.
"That's what it does when you toss it in water," Joe Johnson said of the protein packets. "And (the name VADE) looks cool."
The Johnsons started selling their products online about a year and a half ago at vade-nutrition.com.
"I would say this business was born out of what most good businesses are born out of: a legitimate need in our own lives," he said.
Sam Johnson, 28, of Howell, is Joe Johnson's brother. He uses the protein packets regularly and describes himself as an average person who works out a few times a week.
VADE Nutrition has potential to grow as a company because it suits everyone ranging from serious athletes to weekend warriors, Sam Johnson said.
Video Sam Johnson took last year of himself dropping a protein packet into a shaker of water shows it dissolved in a few seconds.
"It’s such an easy product," he said. "You don’t have to worry about measuring, you don’t have to worry about carrying a large container (of powder) to the gym.”
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