A new app for people wanting to gain strength, build muscle and make real progress in the gym was one of the winning ideas at UTS Venture Day, an event that showcases innovative startups developed by students in the MBA in Entrepreneurship (MBAe) program.
RESISTx founder Tim Cochran says Australians spend millions on gym memberships because they want to lose fat, gain muscle and get healthier, but they often fail to make progress and give up on their goals, leaving their gym membership unused.
“Even when people take a notepad with them to the gym, or use a tracking app to record data, this doesn’t tell them what they need to do to make progress, so they lose motivation,” he says.
The RESISTx platform collects data and creates a feedback loop to inform future training based on previous results and, like running and cycling app Strava, it tracks your progress along the way.
“RESISTx mimics what a personal trainer might do for you – pushing you that little bit further and knowing the right number of reps you need to hit to make real progress, but without the exorbitant cost,” says Cochran.
The app will launch on 31 March, on both Android and iOS platforms. From there, Cochran hopes to get feedback from his customers, iterate and build more features into the platform.
Cochran won the UTS Venture Day Kazacos Family & Foundation Prize, securing $10,000 in cash and $10,000 in advisory services, which he says will go towards developing design features and connecting with potential users.
Fellow MBAe student Livia Leskovec secured the UTS Business School Dean’s Award for Best Social Venture, a $7,500 cash prize, for LoopdKidz, a venture that aims to engage, educate and empower kids to have a positive impact on the environment through toy-swapping.
UTS PhD student and aerospace engineer Mahya Mirzaei, founder of personalised online maths learning platform LearnedHub, was another Venture Day prizewinner. Mirzaei received the UTS Business School Dean's Award for Best For-Profit Venture, also a $7,500 cash prize.
MBAe student Kent Boehm, a former Qantas pilot, was recognised for his startup, SpeedSight, which produces action sports cinematography using high-speed drones. Boehm received the Paul Thorley $2,500 cash prize and the Gilbert + Tobin $5,000 in-kind IP services prize.
Rounding out the prizes were Brayden Beaumont, Rio Weerasinghe and Nora Sanders – who received the BDO Australia $5,000 in-kind prize and the TCF Services $3,000 in-kind prize for their tech start-up Floetic, which aims to improve operational efficiency in the hotel industry.
Cochran says when he was a high school student he wanted to be an entrepreneur, but after graduating with a computer science degree, he found himself following a traditional career in sales and IT, which paid well but didn’t fulfil his entrepreneurial aspirations.
“I got a job because it pays the bills. I blinked and it was 20 years later. What the hell happened,” he says.
Cochran describes joining the MBAe program as a “phenomenal” experience, one that helped him develop his start-up idea and gain the courage to quit his job to focus on his business full-time.
“This enterprise is at the intersection of my love for IT and my love for weight lifting and I’m now able to use my skills to really help people achieve their goals at the gym,” Cochran says.
“I’d say the most important trait for me as an entrepreneur has turned out to be really caring about what I’m working on,” he says.
The UTS Business School MBAe is now in its third year, and is a unique, on-campus intensive MBA for entrepreneurs and innovators, designed and delivered in collaboration with the entrepreneurial community.
Dr Jochen Schweitzer, who directs the MBAe and teaches two core subjects in the curriculum, says what makes the MBAe so special is working with students intensively for a whole year.
“That’s what I love. Seeing the students develop the skills to accelerate any project. The MBAe is not about creating a particular startup. It’s about developing an entrepreneurial mindset, and applying it to whatever problem you want to solve.”
The 12 other entrepreneurs who presented their start-up venture to the expert judging panel on Venture Day were:
Freya Whereat from Nable, helping people connect with their neighbourhood community
Geoff Bullen from WallSync, providing a virtual platform for your post-it notes
Celina Tang from Pijinhole, combining learning platforms to make life easier for students
Karlo Alvaro from Kakilala, providing small task services for the Philipines
Jolien Dirven from START, helping organisations achieving creative confidence
Rahul Prasath from Farm to Table, a new concept for grocery shopping in India
James Rabin from Investors Inspired, helping millennials find inventing strategies
Julius Tjong from GetShare, providing an app to find share bikes faster
Anne Wiggins from GWGlobal, providing sustainable consulting services
Synthia Huynh from SheIsStrong, providing shelter and services for homeless women
Azal Khan from Kan & Khan, supplying sustainable and ethical handmade wearable art
Vanouhi Nazarian from Kindershare, a platform that connects owners and renters of baby equipment