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The team.
The team.

Editor’s note: Nike Accelerator Spotlight takes a look at the ten startups participating in the Nike+ Accelerator, a three-month startup program based in Portland, Ore. and put on by Nike and TechStars. GeekWire is featuring each company leading up to the June 10 demo day. Check out past Spotlights below. 

There are countless fitness activity trackers available on the market now, but often times those devices only spit out numbers with no other context or visualizations that make the information easier to understand.

Enter The startup is all about pairing exercise data with your other digital accounts, allowing for better understanding of how the quantified self is connected to the rest of your life.

nextstepio12The Iowa-based founders of actually arrived at the Nike Accelerator nine weeks ago with an adult sports team management platform called RecBob, but their focus has since changed.

“RecBob is a great product that we still love a lot, but we ultimately decided that it’s a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have solution,” said co-founder John Schnipkoweit. “We are really excited to take our experience from building RecBob and create a solution for a really big problem.”

We caught up with Schnipkoweit to find out more about what is trying to do.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: makes sense of physical activity by visualizing how it’s affected by your everyday life.

Inspiration hit us when: We continued to hear people ask for more than a graph or a number from their activity tracker. In order to do that, we combine physical activity data with your other online information like Google calendar or Facebook, showing you context.

Our “secret sauce” is: Our ability to take a very hard to understand, technical problem and present results in a simple, understandable way. We focus a lot of energy on design and user outreach.

How do you plan on using the Nike+ platform and NikeFuel?: While we support other activity trackers, we’ve focused on NikeFuel because of the unique way it measures activity.

Who will use your product?: Individuals who use an activity tracking device are going to enjoy what we’re building. Tracking activity is pretty captivating when there is an additional layer of context.

We also have a great tools for companies that incorporate users’ physical activity into their product. We’re giving those companies a lot of insight on their users that becomes incredibly helpful for targeted marketing or analyzing product features.

The smartest move we’ve made so far: We followed our passion to define our focus, as well as listened to our mentors and peers. We chose to take advice from people who were once in our position, had a passion for a vision and executed well.

nike_acceleratorWould you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner?: As the only team at the accelerator using all PC’s running Windows, we have to pick Gates. :) While all of these guys have had their share of good and bad criticism as CEO’s, we really applaud Gates ability to not only build a successful company, but to really give back through his Foundation as a result.

Would you rather have Michael Jordan, Muhammed Ali or Tiger Woods in your corner: Michael Jordan of course, we all grew up watching his rise to stardom and aspiring to achieve flight with those shoes!

Rivals should fear us because: We’re a lean team that has proven the ability to move fast. We make calculated decisions seconded by direct user feedback.

Inside the Nike+ Accelerator office in Portland.
Inside the Nike+ Accelerator office in Portland.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: It’s most dangerous to build a product without the opinions of potential users. You should also take full advantage of the seasoned entrepreneurs willing to help you out.

Whenever you are having a challenging moment, always look to other entrepreneurs for advice, chances are, they have experienced something similar and will give you some useful advice.

The greatest tech-related invention in sports is: The trampoline — because it was invented in our hometown of Cedar Rapids, IA. Seriously though, wearable sensors are revolutionizing every aspect of sports from training to competing. It’s been really exciting to see how fast the market is growing.

Your first impressions of Portland are: We drove the 2,000 miles from Iowa, so besides being relieved from getting out of the car, the approach in the Gorge truly was breathtaking. Our team likes being outside, riding our bikes and drinking nice beer and bourbon. Needless to say, Portland grew on us rather quickly. We are big foosball players, but we realized early on that we’d have to adapt and switch to ping pong because there are just not very many foosball tables here. Did we mention the food? Amazing.

Past Nike Accelerator Spotlights: 

Previously on GeekWire: Slick video shows why Portland is an awesome city for tech startups … Portland just isn’t where young people go to retire: It’s where they get their VC money, too

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