Entrepreneurs of Austin: Atlas Wearables

Feb 19 2014, 12:29pm CST | by

Entrepreneurs of Austin: Atlas Wearables
Photo Credit: Forbes Business
This begins a new series by Gay Gaddis entitled “Entrepreneurs of Austin2014-02-18T17:31">.” 
The city of Austin is booming with big business, but has remained small in feel due to its strong entrepreneurial character that different visionaries have brought to the city. As an entrepreneur from Austin who started her business in 1989, Gay will be highlighting the intriguing successes that can be found in the city today. 

Peter Li, Founder of Atlas Wearables, sat down with me to discuss his team’s recent success with raising over $470,000 via crowdfunding on Indiegogo and what it is like to be an entrepreneur in the fast-growing wearables industry.

Gay Gaddis: Peter, give me some background on you, your team and how Atlas came about.

Peter Li: I actually grew up in North Boston with Michael Kasparian and then I met Alex Hsieh at Johns Hopkins University where I went to undergrad and graduate school. While Michael was at Boston University getting a degree in electrical engineering and later working at Phillips Health Care, I was at Johns Hopkins working with tissue engineering and getting my graduate degree in biomedical engineering. Things seemed to come together at the right time. It also helped that we all saw the same problem. Writing down our workouts to keep track wasn’t working for us and we wanted to find a solution.  Alex swam at Johns Hopkins, I would work out 5 to 6 times a week and Michael did athletics too, so it was a pretty consistent frustration. We put our heads together and Atlas Wearables was born.

GG: How does Atlas stand out in the sea of wearables?

PL: Wearables are huge right now. Jawbone, Fitbit, etc. have really created product awareness, but from a health and fitness perspective, they are limited. For people who log workouts, they aren’t valuable enough. Where we shine through is at the gym, where we can dive deeper into the data. Atlas reads on an –x, -y, and –z axis so it leads to more motivation to get off of the couch. It not only follows your workout, but it will also lead you through a workout if you don’t have one. I also love that gym-lovers can still compete with others through apps like Map M yFitness, and Fitocracy. It really helps that people can purchase an Atlas, but not feel pressured to change the applications they already know how to use.

How has crowdfunding impacted your experience?

PL: It’s great because you can share your ideas and reveal the concepts before having something, which causes for some humility in the process, but the benefit is to be able to test traction and build a connection before the product is built. Our Indiegogo campaign was just extended to target us at the half million mark. It will allow us to create 50-100 meter waterproofing so we are interested to see the responses in demand. We can already tell people want our product, but now the question is what do they really want it to do?

Did you expect to become an entrepreneur when you were in school? Biomedical engineering into entrepreneurship doesn’t seem like a typical path.

PL: No, not really. After being in research, I wanted a change of work environment. I loved my studies, but it took so long to see any results. Once I talked to Michael and we saw the difference in metrics between general pushups and triangle pushups (6 to 12 inch difference) on a wrist sensor, I was sold. The awesome thing about Atlas is that it took us two years since first starting work to get something real out for use.

What’s the hardest thing about being an entrepreneur?

PL: The uncertainty is always hard and emerging tech will always be expensive. There are a lot of tiny costs that go into the development. Whatever you guess you think you will need in time and money, add 50-100% more and you are probably hitting the target. [Being an entrepreneur] also forces you to have to create your own habits. If you have a normal job, there is structure. The perk is that you have your own choices, but that can also be a hazard in disguise.

What advice do you have for emerging entrepreneurs?

PL: Three things,

Be receptive to feedback. It isn’t always easy, but you have to be comfortable with what your vision and passions are, but also be willing to realize that other people may not have the same visions.

Immerse yourself with the kind of people that you believe can make a product successful. The people you recruit have to know what to do before you make your product, but they also have to be adaptive. For example, Alex is software design, but he has had to put on multiple different hats. Flexibility and having the same passion is key – someone told me when I first started that if there is poison in the well, it will spread everywhere.  As an entrepreneur, that foundation of support is necessary.

Try things: Before Atlas, I founded Froots & Co. at Johns Hopkins. It is like Netflix, but for fruits. My mom always complained about me not eating enough fruit, but I never had the time to consistently purchase produce. Instead of continuing to have the “missing link”, I created a solution – Froots & Co.We would deliver fresh fruit to customers every week. From that experience, I learned a lot from logistics and operations. It also helped me realize that finding things I know and love motivate me and makes work not feel like work.

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Martian structure reveals signs of life on Red Planet
Washington, Aug 20 (IANS) A new mineral-rich structure discovered from a Martian meteorite has led scientists to believe that there may be niche environments on Mars subsurface that support life.
 
 
New vaccine offers protection against tuberculosis, leprosy
Washington, Aug 20 (IANS) In a breakthrough, US researchers have found that an improved tuberculosis vaccine can offer strong protection against leprosy.
 
 
Handwashing with antibacterial soap may not be a good idea
New York, Aug 20 (IANS) Next time when you buy an antibacterial soap for a germ-free day for your kids, check if the soap contains a widely-used chemical or not.
 
 
Transparent solar device that doesn't block the view
Washington, Aug 20 (IANS) Imagine a solar device that, when placed over a window, creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Emraan Hashmi's foreign film 'Tigers' to premiere at TIFF
New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) Indian actor Emraan Hashmi's debut international project "Tigers", directed by the Oscar winning Danis Tanovic, will have its world premiere at the prestigious Toronto International Film...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Martian structure reveals signs of life on Red Planet
Washington, Aug 20 (IANS) A new mineral-rich structure discovered from a Martian meteorite has led scientists to believe that there may be niche environments on Mars subsurface that support life. The ovoid structure...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
New vaccine offers protection against tuberculosis, leprosy
Washington, Aug 20 (IANS) In a breakthrough, US researchers have found that an improved tuberculosis vaccine can offer strong protection against leprosy. "This is the first study demonstrating that an improved vaccine...
Read more on Business Balla
 
IS claims beheading US journalist
Damascus, Aug 20 (IANS) The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed beheading a US journalist who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago, a media report said Wednesday. The Sunni militant group has released a...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Jennifer Hudson's brother arrested for 'stabbing love rival'
Jennifer Hudson's half-brother has been arrested for allegedly repeatedly stabbing a love rival in the face. Stephen Simpson is being held in custody in Michigan and is expected to be charged with attempted murder and...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Gary Busey claims Patrick Swayze's ghost connection
Gary Busey claims he was visited by Patrick Swayze's ghost last week. The 'Lethal Weapon' actor believes he has a connection to the spiritual world after his heart stopped during brain surgery after a motorbike crash...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Handwashing with antibacterial soap may not be a good idea
New York, Aug 20 (IANS) Next time when you buy an antibacterial soap for a germ-free day for your kids, check if the soap contains a widely-used chemical or not. Handwashing with antibacterial soap may expose people...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Transparent solar device that doesn't block the view
Washington, Aug 20 (IANS) Imagine a solar device that, when placed over a window, creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window. Researchers at Michigan State University has developed a...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Spain knock out India in squash championship
Windhoek (Namibia), Aug 20 (IANS) Spain defeated India 2-1 in the quarterfinal of the WSF World Junior Squash Team Championship here Tuesday. In the first singles, Madhav Dhingra lost to Iker Pajares 4-11, 9-11, 6-11...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Aaron Paul in awe of David Beckham
Aaron Paul was shocked when David Beckham asked him for a selfie to send to his wife Victoria. The 34-year-old actor - who shot to fame playing meth manufacturer Jesse Pinkman in US drama series 'Breaking Bad' - was...
Read more on Celebrity Balla