Scott Walker knew his chances of winning the Utah Student 25’s student entrepreneur of the year award. After placing second in a similar competition at BYU only weeks, Walker was so confident he wouldn’t win that he hadn’t bothered to write an acceptance speech since only the winner would be required to give a speech.
Then the Utah Student 25 announced the first-place winner of their student entrepreneurship competition: Scott Walker for his company Underwater Audio.
“Winning the event completely shocked me,” Walker said. “My speech that night may have been worse than the first speech I ever gave as a 12-year-old at our church.”
Walker’s speech may not have been very compelling, but his business figures impressed the judges enough that night to win him the competition. Walker grew his company, Underwater Audio, from two to 40 employees between late 2011 and early 2013, and brought in around $2 million of revenue during 2012 by selling waterproofed iPods and headphones.
The numbers are remarkable for a small business just over two years old. Underwater Audio hopes to bring in revenues of $4 million during 2013. The company currently sells waterproofed iPods and related products in over 15 countries. Even more impressive than the numbers is the fact that Walker built the company as an undergraduate at BYU.
While many full-time college students would view running a business as an extra challenge, Walker said the timing was a blessing. While he knew that running a company and going to school concurrently were definitely difficult, he felt lucky he had good professors and classes that helped him apply coursework to his business.
Walker said the help made it easier for him to manage the Oregon-based business from Provo.
“I was fortunate to be in multiple classes where I could combine my school work with work on Underwater Audio,” Walker said. “Coursework in my business strategy class helped me choose a direction for Underwater Audio that inspired new product ideas, and my entrepreneurial marketing class helped me further develop those original ideas into something unique that we are currently developing.”
Walker said having a great business partner was also crucial to his success with Underwater Audio.
The idea for the company actually came to Walker’s business partner and father, Todd Walker. After getting extremely bored doing physical therapy in the pool, Todd Walker shopped around for a waterproof iPod but couldn’t find any without bad reviews. That’s when he decided that he could make one himself. The Walkers have steadily grown the business from there. Scott Walker handles the marketing side of the company, and Todd Walker handles the manufacturing side, which includes supervising the waterproofing processes.
Some of Underwater Audio’s success may have come from Scott Walker’s experience with previous ventures. Underwater Audio wasn’t actually his first business. It wasn’t even his first family business.
“My first experience with Scott’s entrepreneurship was discussing the start of a band,” Todd Walker said. “We would sit on the corner and play the theme song to ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ and people would give us money. It was not a profitable venture, but it was a seed.”
Scott Walker created numerous other ventures during his childhood and teenage years. During a local fall festival when he was in his early-teens, Scott Walker hooked up a printer to a car battery and printed children’s photos for their parents on the spot. In high school, he started a lunch delivery service. Scott Walker kept his entrepreneurial spirit all the way through his college years at BYU, and he has no intention of slowing down now that he’s graduated.
To learn more about Scott Walker and Underwater Audio, visit www.underwateraudio.com.