Boston-based Nix Biosensors recently won the grand prize at the third-annual Sports & Fitness Industry Association's (SFIA) Start-Up Challenge, held in Denver on Sept. 26. The company received a $15,000 check via Black Lab Sports and an all-expense-paid trip to visit the Under Armour Innovation Team.
Nix's award-winning product is a single-use patch that monitors sweat rate and electrolyte loss to support hydration management while running or exercising. The patches were tested at the Boston Marathon earlier this year, according to Boston Magazine.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by SFIA as part of the Start-Up Challenge,” Nix founder and CEO Meridith Unger said in a media release. “We are fortunate that we have a story that resonates with athletes across all segments of sports and fitness and grateful that SFIA is an organization that appreciates the contributions of early-stage companies aiming to improve sports, health, safety and the industry as a whole.”
The Start-Up Challenge is part of SFIA's Industry Leaders Summit, which offers two days of networking opportunitites and educational programming to industry entreprenuers. This year's challenge featured six finalist companies with each having 10 minutes to pitch their product to the Industry Leaders Summit audience of executives, investors and a panel of judges.
“[The patches are] like an insurance policy on your hydration for the day,” Unger, a marathoner and former college basketball player, told Boston Magazine. She describes the patches as functional Band-Aids that help athletes know when they should reach for water or Gatorade.
“The Start-Up Challenge franchise is thriving, and we are so proud of what it has become ," John Peters, vice president of business development at SFIA, said in a media release. " The entrepreneurs who presented today are undoubtedly driving the sports and fitness industries forward. The demand for this contest is highly attributed to the people in the room — with industry-leading investors looking to deploy capital, retailers looking for new products, distributors looking for new partners and the real-time feedback from CEOs who are running some of the biggest brands in the world.”
The other Start-Up Challenge finalists are listed below.
- A-Champs: A-Champs is developing a system that combines video game play patterns and technology to prompt kids to play and adopt active lifestyles.
- Blinktbi: Blinktbi's is calling its EyeStat software the easiest and most accurate brain injury measurement tool in the world.
- Elevate Hockey: This company has developed a unique hockey stick that improves players’ ability to handle, pass and shoot.
- FlexIt Inc.: FlexIt's mobile app allows users to access health clubs without a membership and only pay for the exact amount of the time they are using the facility.
- Total Body Board: This company's portable fitness equipment product uses resistance bands to improve strength, endurance, quickness and range of motion.