Grab Your Atlas

Finding Capital

Now came the hard part: finding the financial backing to make their international quest as successful as their domestic one had become. "There's not much room for a small company with limited finances," Mallos says, adding that the big powerhouses in any industry can move anyone out of the market who lacks the monetary support.

For the three owners of Mindless Reaction, it proved helpful to have friends in high places. All they had to do was look in their high school yearbook or drive past their favorite teenage surfing spot. Former school chums and surfing buddies were then $6-million-per-year Atlanta Braves left fielder/first baseman Ryan Klesko (now on the San Diego Padres) and his business partner, Richard Spear. Klesko and Spear joined the company as co-owners in 1999 when their holdings company purchased a share of Mindless Reaction.

But financing isn't the only thing the new partners brought to Mindless Reaction. "We use [Klesko's] status to help promote the brand," says Mallos. Who says Klesko talks up the brand to fellow players. "His exposure is incredible."

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This article was originally published in the March 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Grab Your Atlas.

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