If you’ve got the drive, Google has the scalable tools to make your small business dreams work.
Co-founder & CEO
Sometimes, you just need to get a grip. And when Colorado climbers Kevin Brown and Keah Kalantari found themselves slipping off difficult rock climbs, they took the chalk they were using into a laboratory and discovered it was mostly cheap filler. “We wanted to help athletes everywhere accomplish more. We believe that no one should be held back by bad grip,” says Keah. So Kevin and Keah sourced a supply of high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade magnesium carbonate and founded Friction Labs in 2013. From their humble e-commerce beginnings selling just a few dollars of merchandise per month, today Friction Labs sells their grip products to climbers, weightlifters, and other athletes in 1,000+ retail locations in more than 25 countries worldwide. And along the way, they’ve been using Google products to help them reach new heights.
From the beginning, Kevin and Keah have used free Google Workspace tools like Sheets and Docs to manage their operations without breaking the bank on expensive business software. And during the pandemic, Google Analytics helped them uncover a growing demand for ways to make gyms safer for athletes, leading to their introduction of a new hand-sanitizing hygienic liquid chalk. “When you’re a small business, you’ve got to be scrappy. Google gives us cost-effective ways to do that,” Kevin says. Today, Friction Labs is enjoying 25-percent annual sales growth, and they’re using that money to help introduce hundreds of underserved kids to climbing at gyms across the country. Over 500,000 athletes have trusted Friction Labs products to date–or as Kevin and Keah like to put it, one million hands. “Starting a small business is one of the last great adventures that exist in the world,” Kevin says. And coming from two guys who climb mountains for fun, that’s really saying something.