After her sister designed a fitness machine, Megan Price, a University of Nevada, Reno senior business student currently studying marketing and entrepreneurship, was inspired to get into the heath technology industry with a new way to workout.
On April 27, 2018, at the seventh annual Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition, FitnesSpiral was awarded first place and $50,000 at the awards ceremony at the Atlantis Resort Casino.
FitnesSpiral aims to target baby boomers, an untapped market in the fitness industry, with their workout machine that focuses on full-body strength training with more than 11 different exercise options. This machine is paired with a fitness social media app that wirelessly communicates with the FitnesSpiral machine to track workout progress and connect with other "FitnesSpiralers."
The goal of the company is to create a positive outcome from excessive social media interaction and address the issue of obesity and the corresponding medical issues that come with the epidemic. FitnesSpiral is working on the development of the app which to be used by their target market of baby boomers.
"The next step is to use our $50,000 award to develop a new prototype and get the real app going," Price said. "Then, we will get some testing going for people to try so we can begin our marketing."
The Sontag Entrepreneurship Award is made possible by a major gift from 1966 University alumnus Rick Sontag. The award is for $50,000 and is presented each spring semester to a finalist team to continue building their business.
Along with FitnesSpiral, four other teams presented their business plans to the judges. The finalists included:
- "Financially Fit Employees," a financial coaching service that helps individuals improve their financial decision making
- "Helix Gear USA," a camping equipment business that is specializes in their Mobile Design Platform that makes camp easier to set up and deconstruct
- "Perf-ic," an electrical prototyping and design firm that helps businesses develop their ideas to have a cutting edge in the market
- "WAVE Motors," a clean energy start-up that is designed to accelerate clean energy use in transportation for the masses, specifically for motorcycles in India
In his opening remarks, College of Business Dean Greg Mosier read a statement from Sontag about the growth of the competition throughout the years. "Several of these plans have evolved into real operating businesses including some that did not win the award," Mosier read. "While the judges deliberated, Denis Phares, a finalist from the 2014 Sontag Competition, spoke about the growth of his company, Dragon Fly Corporation, since the competition.
"Four groups here are about to relate to me really well," Phares said. "I learned more from this competition than from any of my engineering or business classes."
After he competed in 2014, Phares went on to compete in the Nevada Governor's Cup, the Tri-State Governor's Cup and the Cleantech Open competition. He said that the skills he learned at Sontag helped him develop his business further.
The Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition was created by Sontag to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs at the University of Nevada, Reno. During the course of five months, students develop their business plans with community business members and University faculty, who act as mentors for each team.
"All business plans have the opportunity to turn into real operating businesses," Mosier said. "Almost every successful business is built on effective collaboration and the best business people are the one that can build a successful team such as you have all done with your plans."