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Friends and founders Peter Fomin and Matt Phifer developed the Fitness Tech prototype at Home Depot.

Summer Founders: Fitness Tech

UD Summer Founders explore improvements to patient recovery process

(Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of articles about participants in the Horn Entrepreneurship Summer Founders program.)

Fitness Tech is one of six participating student teams in the Horn Entrepreneurship Summer Founders program at the University of Delaware.

The venture is searching for ways to improve the patient recovery process through digital accountability and exercise equipment. The founders will be able to utilize Horn Entrepreneurship resources to further develop and validate their idea for potential future customers.

The company was started by two friends, Peter Fomin, Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, and Matt Phifer, College of Health Sciences, both Class of 2018, last summer.

“I was running out of my house one day and knocked an ID reel off the fridge and when I picked it up and pulled on it, I realized with increased resistance it could stimulate muscle growth,” said co-founder Phifer, as he described the spark for the idea.

Phifer immediately called Fomin because of his entrepreneurship experience and Fomin continued, “We walked down all the aisles of the Home Depot looking for what we could build the device out of. In the PVC aisle we attached the springs to a hook on the shelf when an employee walked up and pulled on it himself and knew immediately that it was for exercise. That’s when we knew we had something special.”

The longtime friends and VentureOn graduates will use the resources from Summer Founders to grow their contacts within the fitness and health industry while also focusing on in depth customer discovery.

The original prototype of the device is still used today and the pair aim to add refinements to the product over the course of the three-month program. The pre-accelerator program provides the founders the safety to explore the possibilities and potential full time in order to develop a strong unique value proposition.

“We want to expand our contacts in the industry at Summer Founders beyond the physical therapists we both know. The prototype is very raw and crude but we are working on doing some 3-D printed design to give it a finished look,” said Phifer as he described his goals for the company’s progress over the coming months. “We also want to get some scientific research to prove that our hypothesis about the device is true.”

About Summer Founders

Summer Founders serves as Horn Entrepreneurship’s premier startup pre-accelerator. The 12-week program provides student teams with resources and support from experienced entrepreneurs and faculty in addition to free and discounted services from the Venture Development Center.

Through participation in Summer Founders, students receive a stipend while working full time on customer discovery and idea validation. Summer Founders concludes with Demo Day, a day to present and pitch the progress of the ideas to successful local entrepreneurs in the community.

About Horn Entrepreneurship

Horn Entrepreneurship ignites imaginations and empowers world changers through educational offerings that emphasize experiential learning, evidence-based entrepreneurship and active engagement with entrepreneurs and other members of the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Through participation in Horn Entrepreneurship offerings, students gain the knowledge, skills, personal capacities, experiences, connections and access to resources needed to successfully manifest innovation and thrive in a rapidly changing world.


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