Josh Shaw, B.S.’97

“True Competitor”

By Carol Olechowski

Serena Williams, Josh Shaw and son, Dwyane Wade

Sports icons Serena Williams, left, and Dwyane Wade, right, show "What I Use To Win": MISSION Athletecare Products. Center: Josh Shaw poses with son Jack.

Given his track record in the business world, Josh Shaw has a good shot at making MISSION Athletecare ( “the dominant sports-innovation brand globally.”      

As a high-school student in Rye Brook, N.Y., he started a T-shirt company. At UAlbany, Shaw, a finance and marketing major, and classmate Keith Garber, B.A.’97, launched The Albany Trader, a venture that issued discount cards for products and services provided by Capital Region businesses. Within a few years of merging with Student Advantage, a company in Boston, the firm was nearing $100 million in sales. The partners took Student Advantage public in June 1999 (NASDAQ: STAD). Shaw, a millionaire by age 24, later co-founded GoSMILE, an upscale line of oral-care and tooth-whitening products sold internationally in high-end department stores and boutiques.     

Shortly after selling GoSMILE in 2007, Shaw conceptualized MISSION Athletecare, a line of innovative products catering to baseball, basketball and tennis players; golfers; runners; swimmers; and other athletes and outdoor-sports enthusiasts. “We brought in some of the world’s best athletes as equity owners and product developers,” says Shaw. “Who better to help identify specific problems facing athletes and the solutions needed to win? We hit the market in mid-2009, and it’s been great.”

Josh Shaw Advises Business Owners:

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

“Never underestimate your ability to win.”

“Never stop innovating!”

MISSION Athletecare products are engineered to “enhance performance during competition and promote recovery afterward.” The portfolio of patented and patent-pending technologies includes EnduraCool Instant Cooling Towels; Court Grip Traction Enhancer; Power Grip Dry Hands Gel; and an assortment of sports-medicine products, such as muscle rub, anti-chafe cream and sunscreen.              

Shaw perceives the New York City-based MISSION Athletecare as “an opportunity to create an entirely new category in the consumer market and a new generation of technologically advanced consumer goods.  We solve problems unique to athletes and then commercialize the solutions.” And with tennis icon Serena Williams, New York Knicks star Carmello Anthony, soccer great Mia Hamm and a host of other sports luminaries in his corner, Shaw is poised again for success. Sales, the self-described “true competitor” reports, “have doubled every year since we started. In the next several months, we’re on track to triple our sales numbers.”