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One start-up is betting its training gear will be a game changer for athletes.
"Over the last five to 10 years there has been a lot of focus on pure athletic ability and not nearly as much of a focus on skill development," said Darnell Jones, a former professional basketball player.
So Jones and his wife Danyel founded Powerhandz, an e-commerce start-up selling products designed to improve an athlete's dexterity and hand strength in sports like basketball, baseball and football.
Darnell's idea for Powerhandz evolved from his own homemade training tools. "I would dribble a basketball with gardening gloves and wrist weights, which made my ball handling drills extremely difficult because it stripped me of my dexterity as well as added weight resistance to my hands and arms," he told CNBC.
The start-up offers a variety of weighted anti-grip leather gloves that can be used in different sports as well as an anti-grip pouch that wraps around a basketball. The ball wrap sells for $19.99, while the training gloves retail for $69.99 on the company's website and Amazon.
The gloves come packed with pouches of iron sand fixed around the hand's flex points. And the founders claim no other anti-grip sports gloves on the market are made this way.
Although the duo said it's filed patents for its entire product line, angel investor Alicia Syrett, was concerned about competition from big players like Nike and Under Armour who could potentially develop similar gear.
According to Darnell Jones, Powerhandz targets a specific demographic that he said the larger corporations haven't focused on to date. "Our niche is youth athletes who are solely focusing on developing their skills. We have built a brand in the hearts of our consumers that has accelerated our speed to market. Under Armour and Nike don't compete in this space," he said.
The company told CNBC it's already profitable, with sales totaling $1 million since its 2015 launch. The team has even scored some heavy hitters to represent the brand, including the Boston Red Sox's David "Big Papi" Ortiz, and former NFL star Brian Dawkins.
Venture capitalist Nir Liberboim wondered if the couple was able to use its brand ambassadors to drive sales and build brand awareness.
Darnell Jones said the company reshares any content professional players post that promote the Powerhandz brand. And according to the founders, the company almost always sees increased traffic after an ambassador posts, which typically leads to a spike in sales. Darnell Jones added that most endorsements are from athletes that the founders have never met before and come free of charge.
The start-up has also created an affiliate program that allows sports trainers to share in the company's profits when they sell Powerhandz products to clients.
Powerhandz is headquartered in Dallas, but the gloves are manufactured outside the United States. The team would not disclose a specific location.
The company has raised approximately $500,000 in funding from angel investors. The husband and wife team told CNBC that Powerhandz plans to expand to retail outlets soon, and will be launching two new products by July.
— By CNBC's Joanna Weinstein | @jmwein01
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