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‘Shark Tank’ trip nets $700,000 investment for Broad College alum

America saw Eli Broad College of Business alum Joe Johnson go into a “Shark Tank” this past weekend. He came out of it with $700,000 for his startup business.

From left to right: MSUFCU’s Jeff Jackson; Josiah Price; Joe Johnson; Paul Jaques of Spartan Innovations; and Megan Johnson at the 2017 GreenLight Business Model Competition. Photo courtesy John McGraw Photography.
From left to right: MSUFCU’s Jeff Jackson; Josiah Price; Joe Johnson; Paul Jaques of Spartan Innovations; and Megan Johnson at the 2017 GreenLight Business Model Competition. Photo courtesy John McGraw Photography.

That’s the size of the investment awarded to Johnson (BA Finance, ’16) and his wife Megan Johnson for VADE Nutrition, co-founded by the pair more than two years ago. The cash came during their appearance Sunday night on “Shark Tank,” a reality show on the ABC Television Network that features entrepreneurs as they pitch their startups to “shark” investors in the hope of earning financial and resource investments.

VADE emphasizes convenience by producing the world’s first and only portable protein powder. Scooping protein powder can be difficult and messy, and the packaging makes it impossible to take on the go without pre-mixing or pre-measuring into smaller containers.

To solve this problem, the Johnsons did away with typical protein powders’ bulky design and lack of prepping ease. Each VADE packet contains a single serving of high-quality protein powder wrapped in a food-grade film that dissolves in liquid in 3-4 seconds for easy mixing and transport.Joe Johnson began utilizing MSU’s vast resources for student entrepreneurship during his junior year of undergraduate study. His entrepreneurial spirit and talent sparked several ideas for startup companies, many of which he developed through the help of Spartan Innovations and the MSU Hatch.The knowledge and skills he gained through these ventures prepared him to develop VADE Nutrition into a successful startup company that won the Lansing Area Economic Partnership’s Hatching competition in March 2016, a $25,000 prize in 2017’s GreenLight Business Model Competition, and Smart Health’s Top 10 CEOs in Healthcare Award in 2018. As the company continues to grow, Joe Johnson hopes to use his expertise to provide guidance for future MSU student entrepreneurs.

VADE Nutrition’s current products include vanilla, chocolate, and combo pod packs along with 28-ounce shaker bottles, all of which can be purchased on their website at vade-nutrition.com.

You can watch the episode at the “Shark Tank” home page.


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