When muscle pain strikes, there isn’t anything better than a massage and a common product used for pains and strains is a muscle roller. ThermFit Tech has developed a powerful innovation that hopes to make therapists and their clients lives easier.
ThermFit Tech has recently been part of the JMH LaunchPad Pitch Competition, a student start-up comeptition hosted by Mount Royal University to help launch ideas into real products.
We met with Jesse and Jamie, the brains behind ThermFit Tech and asked them about their recent journey…
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the program you are enrolled in at university? Why did you choose it, and what do you hope to do after graduating?
Jesse: I have completed three years of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Calgary. I chose engineering because I enjoy the technical work involved with the discipline. I hope to work in the oil and gas industry as an engineer upon graduation.
Jamie: I have completed three years of accounting at Mount Royal University. I chose accounting because I felt it could help broaden my knowledge of business. My initial plan was to work in oil and gas, aiding companies in making key sound financial decisions.
Q: What has your entrepreneurship course(s) taught you?
We’ve both always been intrigued by the thought of building a company/product that provides value. Entrepreneurship offers the ultimate blank canvas to help develop, and build a company from the ground up.
“Don’t be afraid to fail. You can’t be paralyzed by the fear of failure, you truly have to jump in with both feet and buy into the overall process. If you do fail, so what? Your overall knowledge of business will broaden/grow, and so will your network.”
Q: Tell us about your entrepreneurial venture. What was the problem you were trying to solve?
Over the past decade, muscle rollers have gained a tremendous amount of popularity. Once just considered a therapeutic tool used in clinics is now being marketed and scaled to a broader audience as you can find a muscle roller in practically every training facility. Muscle rollers help to break down any sort of adhesion or scar tissue within the muscle, improve mobility/flexibility and lengthen and stretch tight or sore muscles. So we went out and spoke to a dozen physiotherapists to see how effective they were. Therapists indicated a continuous heating and rolling process was used on their patients, as heat aids with the increased blood flow, and the flush of lactic acid. However, this process was time consuming and a lengthy one.
So we took both factors, a muscle roller and heat therapy and implemented them into one tangible product in the most convenient and effective way possible. Therapists agreed that our product would help cut down on lengthy procedure times.
Q: What was the spark that inspired the idea for this project? What steps did you have to take (or are taking) to make it a reality?
Growing up playing competitive sports throughout the years, I noticed coaches and trainers always placing a great emphasis on injury prevention and proper recovery practices. These practices stuck with me as I diverted my attention to the fitness industry which enabled me to notice a growing trend that was muscle rollers.
I’ve always been a “tech geek”, constantly fascinated with the latest gadgets and innovations in the technology sector. My passions in tech and fitness we’re the driving forces in developing the world’s first ever temperature regulated muscle roller. We’ve spoken to a number of manufacturers and suppliers overseas, and in North America to aid us with product development. We’ve established relations with big name companies (The Forzani Group) to aid us in distributing the product.
Q: Did you enjoy the pitch experience? What was the best part/highlight of the experience? (either in preparation, or on the day of the competition)
The entire experience was amazing! From the preparation weeks before to the night of the event. The networking was also crucial as we were able to gain key insight from entrepreneurs and investors about the product. We were able to walk away with $10,000 in cash to aid us further advance with product development.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge for you/your team as an entrepreneur?
Our current challenge are some of our capital costs. As developing our product is quite capital intensive.
Q: What advice would you give to youth who are interested in entrepreneurship?
Throughout this whole process I’ve learned so much on how to take a business outside of the classroom and into the “real world”. Here are a few things that I’ve learned:
- You have to step outside your comfort zone. I’ve never been a fan of networking events or presenting in front of big audiences, but I knew if I wanted ThermFit Tech to gain traction I had to step outside my comfort zone. I started attending several events, and local pitching competitions to get myself out there and gain awareness.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. You can’t be paralyzed by the fear of failure, you truly have to jump in with both feet and buy into the overall process. If you do fail, so what? Your overall knowledge of business will broaden/grow, and so will your network.
- Be passionate. Find something you love or are interested in and pursue it. Pursuing an area you are passionate about will definitely get you through those inevitable setbacks that start-ups face.
Q: Tell us a bit more about your background (education, past ventures and experiences). What are some of your interests?
Jamie: I’ve played sports at a high level throughout the years, this is my first venture and I’m truly enjoying the whole process. Aside from fitness and sports, my interests include aviation and the stock market.
Jesse: I grew up in Chilliwack, BC. I played hockey in WHL for parts of three seasons. This is the first venture I have been a part of. Golfing and fishing is what I do!
Q: Have you always been interested in entrepreneurship? If not, when did you first become interested, and how did you get involved in the field?
Both Jesse and I have always wanted to be financially free in life, and we’ve always wanted to run our own company. Essentially, entrepreneurship was able to deliver that platform to us. It’s been able to teach us to step out of our comfort zones, and really go for it all.
I first became involved when I met Ray Depaul at Mount Royal University. He was able to expose me to the overall process, and really help me understand what entrepreneurship was all about.
Q: Do you think entrepreneurial spirit is important in the world today? Why/why not?
Absolutely, by fostering a robust entrepreneurial culture it will aid in stimulating and growing the economy.
Q: What do you think our world would be like if we did not teach entrepreneurial spirit to young people in school?
The thought of that scares me. With entrepreneurship not being taught in schools it would hinder the development of the economy and overall businesses. As all businesses that have created jobs for thousands were fueled by entrepreneurship (Facebook).
Q: If you could travel back in time and tell yourself anything about your experiences, what would it be?
I wish we started this venture sooner. Being exposed to the overall entrepreneurship community has been amazing, and extremely supportive.
Check out www.thermfittech.com to learn more about this innovation!