Phillip Lapuz had to choose between his fiancee in Japan and his dream of making and selling the best putters in the world. But thanks to his hard work and determination, he ended up achieving both! He started a company called Kronos Golf, and today he’s supplying his world-class putters to eager buyers in Japan and America. He and his colleagues got their kickstart after an angel investor put $150,000 in their company for a 30% stake. Now, with the company’s growing success, there’s no looking back for Lapuz and Kronos Golf.
It was around four years ago on September 26, 2014, that a fledgling golf company named Kronos Golf entered Shark Tank with the claim that they made the “most precise putters in the world.” The company had named itself after the Greek God, Kronos.
Phillip Lapuz, the founder and designer, had earlier explained why they had chosen to name their company after Kronos saying, “He reigned during the Golden Age, a time when life was simple and pure. Golf equipment has moved away from it’s traditions, towards gimmicks and false promises.” He was set on bringing back the “golden age” of golf.
The Sharks asked Lapuz what made his company so unique, to which he replied: “We check to make sure that all our putters balance on the sight line, which means a ball struck there will have the highest chances of rolling as the user intends.”
Lapuz’s Passion Brought a Shark to Tears!
Lapuz, breaking down into tears, told his story of how he decided to form his company—and it also made the sharks quite emotional! In fact, Kevin O’Leary had to wipe away tears of his own! Lapuz explained that he had given up a very lucrative job as a consultant to start Kronos Golf, with plans to make enough money to bring his fiancee over from Japan.
However, her parents did not approve of him giving up his 9-5 job to start Kronos Golf and thought he was crazy. At the time, he needed the help of the investors and their money to prove to his potential in-laws that he could succeed.
Moved by his words, his dream proved to be powerful enough to win over at least one of the sharks and earn him a deal! While all of the other judges were “out”, it was Robert Herjavec who decided to offer up a deal.
Lapuz was Exposed to Golf Manufacturing in his Childhood
Lapuz grew up among golf manufacturers, and this influenced him profoundly. His best friend’s father operated a machine shop that milled prototype putters for some of the most well-known (and least-known) names in golf. It was there that Lapuz learned how to design and manufacture a proper putter.
Lapuz Got Himself a Solid Education
Lapuz grew up in Carlsbad, California, where he went to elementary school, middle school, and high school. He graduated from UCSD with a BA in Economics. During his third year at UCSD, he studied abroad thanks to a one-year exchange program in Kyoto at Doshisha University.
After graduating from UCSD, Lapuz went on to work for a consulting firm in San Francisco. He spent a year there before he received a full scholarship to study experimental economics at Osaka University for a Masters degree through a Japanese government program.
Lapuz Started His Business in San Diego
Lapuz was in graduate school in Osaka, Japan and was a member of the golf playing team there, when he got the idea to start his own company making putters. He went to San Diego, California for his best friend’s wedding and put his plan into motion.
All But One Shark Turned Them Down
On Shark Tank, Lapuz and his team members had asked for an investment of $150,000 in return for 15% in their young company. Four of the five sharks turned their offer down, but after hearing his emotional story, Robert Herjavec saw a spark and an opportunity.
Herjavec negotiated with Lapuz and in the end, he walked away with a 30% stake in Kronos Golf by ponying up the $150,000 that Lapuz had asked for. Lapuz explained that while they were already selling their putters in Japan and making 95% of their profits there, they would have to apply a different strategy in America to sell their product.
Kronos Golf Is a Good Corporate Model Now
Kronos Golf would need celebrity endorsements to sell their putters, and that would cost a lot of money. Now, four years later, it is clear from their Facebook account that Kronos Golf has come a long way! They now have a mission statement which reads: “To raise the standard in putter manufacturing one putter at a time.”
Unlike several other companies, Kronos Golf manufactures it’s putters in America. They have stated in their Facebook account that “All clubs are made and assembled here in San Diego, California.” The authenticity of that alone would appeal to many.
They Manufacture a Variety of High-Quality Putters
Today, Kronos Golf manufactures a variety of putters like the D’Arcy model, Anchor model, Kampe model, Touch model, Metronome model, Mandala model, and the Release model.
Several high ranking professional players and some amateur golf players are also now using Kronos Golf’s putters bringing Lapuz’s long-standing dream to fruition.
They are Becoming Big in Japan
Kronos Golf is doing well in Japan, where it’s putters are distributed by Asahi Golf. In fact, some of their big-name clients include Nike, Taylormade, Adidas, and Callaway.
Lapuz and his team are focusing on the Japanese market because there is a demand for their high quality and precise putters. They put the money they received from their angel investor into building manufacturing facilities so that they could fulfill the growing demand in the Japanese market.
Lapuz Got the Girl!
There was one more good thing that came out of Kronos Golf’s small success story. Lapuz was able to prove his worth to his fiancee’s parents in Japan, and he won their support and his happy ever after! He was validated in his pursuit of his dream to manufacture and sell the best putters in the world.
They say success comes to those who dream big and work hard—and Phillip Lapuz and his team have proved it!
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