Many entrepreneurs dream of having a pro athlete rep their growing brand. Few build a product while in college that can be used by some of their athletic icons.
That is exactly what Mike Pullen, a recent biomedical engineering graduate from Georgia Tech, is doing over at LZRD Tech. As CEO, he is creating a new line of functional textiles and compression wear that can be used by pro athletes, active workers, and busy moms alike.
Pullen got the idea to innovate on sports compression wear during his time as a high school football wide receiver. As a player he recognized the need for an entire arm covering to help limit abrasions, which is something typically seen just on the gloves worn by skilled position players. But the idea started to come to life after Pullen took Materials Science and Engineering of Sports class with Dr. Jud Ready at Georgia Tech. Pull credits Ready with pushing him to pursue the idea further. Ready now serves as CTO for the growing company.
Atlanta played an important part in the story of getting LZRD off the ground. Not only is it where Pullen met his COO Mat Quon, but he also spent time in the city in a sports medicine internship with the Atlanta Falcons that helped cement the idea that such material was a good idea.
Pullen turned down a different internship opportunity over the summer to take part in Georgia Tech’s Create-X program, which Pullen calls a “one-stop-shop for startups.” LZRD also got connected with NexTex Innovations, a worldwide textile technology company located in Midtown Atlanta, to help manufacture their product line.
The LZRD team is currently focused on selling B2B and ultimately taking their technology to other clothing items. But it was COVID that brought several new potential users to light.
As a full-arm sleeve, Pullen recognized that their technology is useful not just for athletes on the field, but also for “someone delivering Christmas packages, or moms carrying a baby and some bags.”
It has particularly been embraced by package delivery workers looking for clothing items that both wick away moisture and provides maximum grip potential.
While Pullen and his team are new to the entrepreneurial game, they are learning to navigate conversations and pitches with Fortune 500 companies. And while Pullen said he didn’t expect to launch into the entrepreneurial world after graduation, he can pinpoint the exact moment when he was fully invested in bringing LZRD Tech to life.
“I knew I was bought in when I started hating weekends,” Pullen laughed, noting that it was harder to get email responses from potential customers outside traditional work hours. And that is exactly the hustle mentality a young entrepreneur needs to get their product on to more shelves.