By Christian Stafford, news correspondent
A Northeastern University alumnus will soon be swimming with the sharks as he pitches his company on ABC’s “Shark Tank” on Friday, Nov. 20 at 9 p.m.
John Anthony Radosta, founder and CEO of Advanced Sports Technology, will seek investments for the National Association of Bubble Soccer, which his company owns and where he serves as league commissioner.
“[Bubble soccer] is a full-contact sport that is basically soccer while encased in a giant inflatable bubble,” Radosta said.
Radosta graduated from Northeastern in 2009 with a major in music industry. Despite his music-focused education, Radosta found himself drawn to the world of business.
“My minor [in business administration] gave me a basic experience as to what I would expect in the business world,” Radosta said. “After I got out of school, I could hone in on the concepts a little bit more and dive in deeper.”
The process of getting on the show took more than six months of research and effort, Radosta said. More than 50,000 people auditioned to be part of a pool of 200 entrepreneurs who pitched to investors, of which roughly half will be televised.
On the show, business owners pitch their ideas to a panel of investors who decide whether or not to offer deals to each entrepreneur. Last Friday, Unshrinkit – a venture launched by Harvard Business School alumni – received a $150,000 investment in their product, which brings shrunken sweaters back to their normal size.
Radosta’s drive to appear on the show is a reflection of his dedication to his work, according to Leon Janikian, associate professor and director of Northeastern’s music industry program.
“John Radosta is one of the most focused students I have ever dealt with,” Janikian said. “He was always driven by one basic principle – be all that you can be. In that quest, he was eminently successful.”
While at Northeastern, Radosta completed a co-op at CTPartners, where his work as a marketing assistant developed an entrepreneurial passion sparked by one of his professors and mentors.
“My greatest role model at Northeastern would have to be Jim Boudreau, my Marketing 101 professor,” Radosta said. “He got me kind of thinking in the direction of marketing, which is a big chunk of what I now do for my company.”
After graduating, Radosta moved south to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he worked at a handful of companies in different roles before founding his own in 2013. Initially, he focused on a product designed to help people drink water on runs and during workouts hands-free, which the company released last year.
“I had invented the AquaArm and came up with a basic prototype for it in 2011 or 2012,” Radosta said. “It was ugly, but it got the job done and worked for its intended purpose.”
The inspiration to launch a bubble soccer league came to Radosta two years ago after he saw people playing the game. He wanted to try it out – but couldn’t find anywhere to play.
“Being an active guy, the only thing I wanted to to do was play it,” Radosta said. “I looked around in Florida, and no one around was offering it. I took a shot at it, and within the first couple weeks of launching the website, we had our first affiliates on board and, within two months, it grew rapidly.”
There are now more than 30 cities in the US that offer Bubble Soccer through his network of operators, Radosta said, including Bubble Soccer Boston.
League commissions and enthusiasts of the sport hope Radosta’s appearance on the show will spread their game to more people, according to Raymond Kidd, National Association of Bubble Soccer administrator for the Minneapolis-Twin Cities area.
“I’m excited about the opportunity that John has to present Bubble Soccer on ‘Shark Tank,’” Kidd said. “No matter if the sharks invest into John or not, bubble soccer as a sport will gain more national attention.”
Photo courtesy John Anthony Radosta, Advanced Sports Technology