Personal Injury brought Jonathan Bender to the Wearable Tech Sector
On trend, wearable technology generally refers to simulated closeness, feedback systems, and something called the authenticated self. These trends are coming to market most commonly in the smart watch craze. However, Jonathan Bender, former NBA basketball star and founder of JB3 Innovations, joined the wearable sector with a low tech wearable the Jbit MedPro, in the health and wellness markets as a result of an injury. His product shows how closely the needs of both athletes and boomers really can be.
Jonathan Bender is also one of a few black entrepreneurs working in the wearable tech sector. He started his company from a personal need to heal his own body. This idea fueled his entrepreneurial inclinations and he built his business the old fashioned way. Many readers will find his story a little more than interesting.
When asked how he happened upon the wearable sector, Bender replied, “I wasn’t really engaged with wearable tech. My goal was to develop a way to unload pressure from my lower extremities. I was coming from a situation of chronic injury and the removal of cartilage in an operation in 2005. I’d been in Intense rehab for 2 years. Then I left the NBA in 2006 and started this journey. I thought if I could create an apparatus that worked for me, I could bring it to the mass market.”It has been reported that “with duct tape, ankle weights, thick rubber bands and office binder clips he bought at an area drugstore, Bender made the prototype for what was …(then called the original JB Intensive Trainer). Bender invested a little more than $80,000 into his invention, which he now contracts to have made in China and sells for $130.”
“I started from the street level and got it to individuals suffering from arthritis, post ACL surgery, anyone I saw walking weird— I would slap a device on them,” said Bender. “I gained so much of my own clinical data that I did not worry about securing professional opinions.”
In the early days, Bender knew that If he could get a bunch of people talking and giving testimonials about how his device had changed their lives, then professionals would want to be involved. Fueled by his certainty of the efficacy of this product and the confidence and testimonials of people other than friends and family who’d used it, Bender headed to Purdue University for a different kind of validation.
“At Purdue I connected with one of the professors who conducted a biomechanics analysis on my product. It showed that the Jbit MedPro removed pressure from the lower extremity joints and redirected pressure to quads, gluts, hamstrings and the core, thus relieving pressure and pain.”
Today JB3 Innovations company continues to go straight to the consumer to tell its story. “We conduct clinics around the country on joint pain. A physical therapist conducts these presentations and attendees are welcome to try the device.”
Marketing the Jbit MedPro to athletes making a comeback from an injury and to baby boomers suffering from a chronic condition has not hindered sales. In this regard, JB3 Innovations may have hit upon a sweet marketing spot in this convergence of audiences. It has definitely allowed Jonathan Bender to solve a personal problem, to help others and to merge his love for business and entrepreneurship.
The company expects to launch a new sports device targeted to sports enthusiasts with a high level of fitness in the near future.