George Washington University School of Business
A few years after Brett Warner graduated from George Washington University in 2004, he and Anna Ercius Warner, now his wife, came up with the idea for an invention that would help athletes keep their bodies cool while running.
Called the BEX (Better Exercise Experience) Runner, the device is a padded bracelet that athletes place in the freezer before use. It slides onto the palm of the hand to help maintain the body's core temperature and extend peak performance during exercise. But in order to take the BEX Runner from the idea stage to a viable business, the Warners turned to Lisa Delpy, Brett's mentor and Sport and Event Marketing professor at GW, for advice.
Delpy invited Brett to speak to her MBA class about his idea and starting a business. Her students have since taken on the challenge of creating a comprehensive marketing plan, including social media and online advertising strategies, for his Austin (Tex.) company, Cool Palms. "Some students have already gone above and beyond the marketing plan and are actually calling meetings with major industry players," Brett says.
Reaching out to Delpy's class is helping the Warners tackle one of their biggest challenges: finding the right market entry point. The company has decided to focus on marketing to runners rather than just athletes. This summer, Cool Palms, which incorporated in August 2009, became a national sponsor for USA Fit marathon training programs.
Cool Palms started with about $90,000 of capital raised from the founders' family and friends, and in the spring of 2010, Denis Calabrese, president and founder of USA Fit, joined as an investor and strategic partner. They're not yet able to predict revenue and have yet to hire employees, but when that time comes, Brett says he'll look to hire from Delpy's class. -- Sommer Saadi, posted Oct. 18, 2010