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BYU entrepreneurs find road to success neither straight nor narrow

Published: Monday, July 15 2013 6:17 p.m. MDT

"They really loved it, but at the end of the day, those mass markets are not where you see new products," Jensen said. Instead, the company found a foothold in sports retail. "It was a little bit of a twist, but we really came to feel that they were right, that there was wisdom in going that route."

KT Tape found its way into mass retail a year or so ago. Though other companies were better positioned to take athletic tape mainstream, Jensen said the lack of competition in the retail market provided an avenue for rapid growth.

While riding out setbacks, rapid growth, high stress and all the inevitable mistakes that come with inexperience, William Lam, a founding partner in electronics startup Dark Energy, said the greatest challenge of all for startups may be sustaining their own confidence.

"Without any experience, it took a lot of faith," Lam said, "not only in ourselves and in each other, but in the process and the product itself."

Dark Energy, like Inviroment and FiberFix, is a promising start. Lam and his partner, Garret Aida, first pitched their idea for a portable USB charger on Kickstarter and reached their $18,000 goal in just two days. They have since raised more funds than any of this year's BYU startups — a total near $200,000.

"It's exciting," Aida said. "As we do things like this first product, we realize that we can do anything. We can make any positive change in the world, if we want it and are willing to work for it."

EMAIL: epenrod@deseretnews.com

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