A startup founded in part by a former pro football player is finding a market for its gel in baseball.
Grip Boost, the university spinout cofounded by ex-Terps and Ravens tight end Matt Furstenburg and a pair of former UMD chemical engineering students, signed a licensing deal with grip tape company Lizard Skins.
With the white-labeling agreement, Grip Boost will continue to produce the gel. The Grip Boost and Lizard Skins brands are both appearing on the products, said Grip Boost cofounder and COO Chanda Arya. Lizard Skins will assume sales and marketing for Grip Boost’s after-market gel that’s designed to add grip to batting gloves.
It’s the first such licensing deal for Grip Boost, which recently moved from UMBC’s bwtech incubator to a facility in Linthicum to help ramp up production, Arya said. The company’s clear, alcohol-based gel is applied to the palm of a glove. It’s designed to dry after 15 seconds and leave no residue behind. The latter is designed to differentiate it from substances like pine tar.
Arya said the deal will help Grip Boost extend its reach, as Lizard Skins has existing partnerships with Major League Baseball players, as its website lists players like Mookie Betts, Joc Pederson and Anthony Rizzo, among others. Lizard Skins will also dedicate a team to handling sales and marketing of the product.
Lizard Skins already makes grip tape for bats, so the idea is that with the two products, “You have pretty much the best grip you could possibly get for holding a bat,” Arya said.
Arya said the two companies first linked up at a trade show, and talks expanded from there.
“When we first met Grip Boost we were very excited and enthralled by their product and knew this was a product we wanted to be associated with,” Lizard Skins General Manager Brad Barker said in a statement. “This will be a great addition to our baseball accessories brand.”
Spun out of the University of Marlyand after Furstenburg sought out then-students Arya and cofounder Kevin Diehn to find a way to keep his football gloves tacky, the company has tapped into Maryland’s resources for entrepreneurs looking to spin out companies as it developed the product for the market. Funding has come from TEDCO’s Maryland Innovation Initiative and Technology Commercialization Fund. The company was also recently awarded a $100,000 Baltimore County Boost Loan as it relocated and looked to ramp up production.
While the company sought to grow its presence after developing its product and internal processes, the partnership illustrates that the next step from there doesn’t always have to be seeking outside investors. The licensing deal offers a way to expand in the market while still maintaining its small team of four people.
“It allows us to operate pretty lean and build value into the business without necessarily going to the venture capital path,” Arya said.
Meanwhile, the company is also looking to grow its other offerings for football and golf gloves.
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