Montana State University

MSU graduate swims away from sharks on ABC reality show

February 23, 2012 -- Carol Schmidt, MSU News Service

Jared Joyce, who said he learned how to design and be a workaholic while attending the MSU School of Architecture, will pitch his patented 5 Minute Furniture that can be assembled without tools during the Feb. 24 episode of "Shark Tank." Joyce said he has developed a portfolio of more than 80 inventions since graduating from MSU in 2004. Photo courtesy of Jared Joyce.   High-Res Available

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
Montana State University graduate Jared Joyce swam away from the sharks during the Feb. 24 episode of "Shark Tank," instead taking a deal offered after the show was taped.

Joyce is a Bozeman-based inventor who pitched an entrepreneurial idea to investors in the ABC prime-time reality show, "Shark Tank." The show features budding entrepreneurs who pitch their ideas for business and products to receive funding from established investors.

Two of the five investors on the show were interested in Joyce's invention of 5 Minute Furniture, a system that is based on a patented joint and does not require tools to assemble. However, they rejected Joyce's proposal of offering 25 percent of his company for $250,000. Rather, they offered $250,000 to buy 100 percent of Joyce's 5 Minute Furniture.

Joyce said that after the filming he agreed to terms with Edison Nation, who is putting up $250,000 for a 50 percent stake in 5 Minute Furniture.

Joyce said that despite leaving the show without an offer, he and his company are winners.

"When you appear in front of an audience of 6 million people on national television, that can't hurt," said Joyce, who graduated from MSU in 2004 with a degree in architecture, and who has been inventing since with more than 80 projects in his portfolio. "I already have products with patents ready to commercialize. So, when people then know who you are, that helps."

Joyce hopes he leveraged the nation-wide television audience with a social media and a live streaming event that was held at MSU's Procrastinator Theater.

Joyce has set off in his own direction before. While he is a graduate of the MSU School of Architecture, he said he knew early on in his schooling that designing products, inventing and become an entrepreneur was what he wanted to do with his life. He said that there is "absolutely a direct link" between architecture and inventing. In addition to design skills, it also fueled his entrepreneurial drive.

"When you work 100 hours a week for five years in the architecture program, and then you become an entrepreneur, you already know how to work," said Joyce, who came to MSU from Ann Arbor, Mich.

"After you graduate, if you only have to put in a 60 hour work week, that feels like a gift.

"I have accomplished a lot since I graduated, and I still say (the MSU) architecture program is the hardest thing I've done."

Joyce said he began toying with inventions early in his years at MSU. A key event during his college years was taking a graduate furniture design class taught by Richard Penziner. The class got Joyce to thinking about furniture making and shortly after he graduated, he developed the concept for 5 Minute Furniture, which can be assembled with no tools required.

Steven Juroszek, the interim director of the MSU School of Architecture, recalls that it was clear from when Joyce was a student at MSU that he was interested in inventing.

"He was also exceptional at creating teams to solve problems and deliver solutions," Juroszek said. He added that an education in architecture is an advantage because it "teaches that everything is a design problem--whether it is a building a city master plan, a piece of furniture or a product. Design is about finding opportunities in what others might see as an obstacle or a problem."

While at MSU, Joyce also met his wife, Nichole (Anderson) Joyce. She, too, is an entrepreneur, running a business, "All Things Italian," with her mother, Connie, where some of Jared's products are sold. He said devoting time to both of their businesses doesn't give them a lot of extra time. For instance, he hasn't been on vacation since he graduated. But, that might change as a result of Friday's Shark Tank show.

"What is unique about me as it relates to the show is that I already have multiple patents pending and issued, with over 80 projects in my portfolio -- when the sharks ask what else I have, I have something to show them," Joyce said. "But it is the exposure that the show brings that is huge. It would cost about $1 million per minute to advertise in prime time."

Juroszek said the School of Architecture faculty are pleased with Joyce's success and predict more.

"Some of the faculty told him (while he was at MSU) that we would not be surprised to see him appear on the cover of a national magazine one day," Juroszek said. "Being on national television as a result of his success as an inventor is equally wonderful to see, and the magazine cover is still a strong possibility."

To learn more about Joyce's inventions, go to:

Steve Juroszek (406) 994-3921,