Vade Nutrition Swims Out of MSU and Into “Shark Tank,” Scores $700K

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sharks. The Johnsons sought $250,000 in exchange for 10 percent of the company, but Cuban offered $350,000 for 20 percent of Vade. While the Johnsons were debating with Cuban, guest shark and former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez jumped into the fray and offered to add $350,000 of his own money to Cuban’s stake. When all was said and done, Vade had secured $700,000 in exchange for 40 percent equity—a fairly steep sacrifice, but Johnson says he couldn’t be happier with the arrangement.

“It’s the dream team; it’s what we wanted,” he continues. “We knew Vade would be in both of their wheelhouses.”

So how does it feel, practically being partners in a business with Cuban and Rodriguez? “I can’t really share how the partnership works,” Johnson says, “but they are exceeding expectations in terms of being personal and engaging. It’s been a crazy thing to continue to talk to them.” (I asked: the Johnsons have not yet met Rodriguez’s girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez.)

The name of the game for Vade now is growth, and quickly. “We’re learning where we have gaps really fast,” Johnson says. “But it’s a good problem to have. We’re excited to maintain traction.”

In 2019, Johnson says we can expect to see Vade being sold on store shelves as well as online. The five-person team is also planning to raise more investment capital and double its headcount. In addition, Vade is developing pre-workout supplements it wants to launch by summer, and the company hopes to eventually create an entire line of portable, convenient nutritional products.

“We’re already working on some pretty big partnerships,” he adds. “It’s been a ride. I like risk. Megan doesn’t, but she loves me.”

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