the research and technology issue

Swimming with the Sharks

The idea started around a campfire while drinking a few beers, Brian Brasch said. He and his business partner Erik Hopperstad couldn’t understand why it was so hard to get CrossFit equipment.

They decided to do something about it.

“I had a background in manufacturing and my partner had a background in sales, and we (thought) we could make this stuff,” Brasch said about the early stages of the company. “We know our niche, and it’s sitting pretty good.”

“Sitting pretty good,” in terms of auditioning and winning a deal on the ABC show “Shark Tank.”

Entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary made a deal with Brasch’s startup, called PRx Performance, which includes him investing $80,000 for 20 percent equity, in addition to 20 percent to distributions.

“The experience was surreal,” Brasch said. “He’s very straightforward. He’s very honest … he’s just very supportive. To have a partner who is there, asking for help and very approachable and (to) bounce an idea off, and he always seems to have the right answer.”

Brasch said he was walking into a church before a friend’s wedding when he and his crew came up with the PRx Performance name, which combines “personal records” with “Rx.”

“I remember sitting there waiting for the wedding to start, going online, finding the web domain, buying it and then doing some quick search to see if we could get the trademark,” the CEO of PRx Performance said from behind his desk. “My wife’s like ‘What are you doing on the phone? We’re in church’ and I’m just like ‘I have to buy this domain.”‘

They bought the domain, and PRx Performance was well on its way. The business found its niche, supplying personal, American-made products to the fitness community to help achieve personal records.

Most people who attend a gym also work out at their home for convenience’s sake.

“We find that it doesn’t replace people’s memberships, it just supplements it for those days they just don’t have the time, they want to perform those same movements and our system allows that,” Brasch said.

Brasch said that PRx Performance could also “outfit” an entire cross-fit gym, though it comes at a price.

“We are the most expensive people out there because we do it right,” Brasch said about his company’s products. “(We provide) space-saving equipment to allow every CrossFitter or really anybody who likes to workout at home to have commercial equipment in their home that doesn’t take up space.”

PRx Performance isn’t just helping out those who like to do squats and or pull-ups; the young startup and O’leary are active in the nonprofit world, partnering with Unseen Ministries.

Unseen is a Fargo nonprofit that “help(s) nonprofits who are fighting human trafficking, caring for orphans and ending cycles of poverty raise the support they need to expand and accelerate their life-saving work,” according to their website.

PRx Performance asked “Mr. Wonderful” if he could make a video about bringing awareness to Unseen, and O’Leary obliged. The video now has over 1,000 views on Youtube and was uploaded six days ago.

Brasch said that PRx Performance now has the national spotlight and he and Hopperstad thought it would be good to give the local spotlight to Unseen to bring “awareness to their cause.”

“When you hear about what Unseen does, and what they accomplish,” Brasch said. “All of a sudden every other charity sort of becomes irrelevant.”

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