Most Innovative New Product Awards: Sport & Active Lifestyle Technologies Finalists

Contributor: Raffaella Giampaolo, Marketing Manager at CONNECT

SPORT & ACTIVE LIFESTYLE TECHNOLOGIES

While technology, biotech, and life science companies are synonymous with San Diego, a variety of lifestyle companies also call San Diego home. From Active.com to GoPro and Reef, we’re lucky to share our city with several sports and active lifestyle brands – and sometimes we forget how much of an impact these businesses have on our local economy and culture.

The three finalists in the category for the Most Innovative New Product Awards are continuing to expand the sports and active lifestyle technology fields in San Diego. Today, we’re spotlighting a few groundbreaking new products. 

Bixpy, LLC

Weighing in at 2 lb, the Bixpy Jet is the world's first portable and modular personal water propulsion device, capable of motorizing personal watercraft such as kayaks and standup paddle boards or used as a personal diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) for snorkelers and scuba divers.

CONNECT: What’s your biggest achievement to date?

I think our greatest achievement was designing a product that was truly modular and fits all of the applications we had intended when we first started the project.  We learned that truly modular products are much tougher to build than one would ever imagine and we’re happy to have had a creative enough team to come up with some incredibly simple yet effective solutions for our product. 

CONNECT: What’s the biggest obstacle or challenge you’ve overcome?

Personally, I have had no training in engineering or product design or development.  So although I had a vision of what I wanted and how I wanted it to work, I had no idea where to start.  I have had to learn a lot of things very quickly. 

CONNECT: What does being a finalist in the Most Innovative New Product Awards mean to you?

It means so much.  Firstly, it is an honor.  I have been truly humbled by the number of incredibly smart and innovative people I have met over the last two years and I am honored that our efforts are recognized as being worthy of acknowledgement within that group.  Secondly, it is validation.  When you work on a product that has never really existed, there are many instances when you have doubts about your own sanity.

ElliptiGO Inc. 

ElliptiGO created the world’s first elliptical bicycle to revolutionize your fitness. Combining the best of running, cycling and the elliptical trainer, ElliptiGO® elliptical bikes provide a comfortable, fun and effective way to exercise outdoors. ElliptiGO bikes are distributed through specialty running, cycling and fitness retailers, and directly through www.elliptigo.com.

CONNECT: What’s your biggest achievement to date?

Our biggest achievement to date is building a brand new category from nothing to selling more than 18,000 units and generating more than $30 million in revenue over the past 7 years.

CONNECT: What’s the biggest obstacle or challenge you’ve overcome?

The biggest obstacles we’ve overcome have been the engineering challenges that have accompanied developing our product lines. By forging out in a new direction, we had to pioneer every aspect of the product and do a lot of testing and learning. It was a lot of work, but we’re very happy with the results.

CONNECT: What does being a finalist in the Most Innovative New Product Awards mean to you?

We’re thrilled to have been chosen as an MIP finalist. The two other companies in our category have great products as well, so we’re proud to stand beside them. It’s an honor to have an organization like CONNECT conclude that we’ve created something special.

FlyDive - X-Board™

FlyDive is the leading innovator in the fast-growing hydroflight industry. Our flagship product, the X-Board™, connects to a personal watercraft for hydro jet propulsion, empowering riders to hover and fly above the water. FlyDive’s patented technology makes it the easiest-to-fly, best-in-class hydroflight product. FlyDive's CMO, Dave Cynkin took the time to answer a few questions for us here: 

CONNECT: What’s your biggest achievement to date?

At FlyDive, we're grateful for many achievements in our young business, including media hits like being featured on the MSNBC TV 10th Anniversary episode of "Your Business", and a special episode of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians", reaching millions of homes. We've already opened accounts selling to some of the largest powersports dealers and rental operations in the US in our first year, so our momentum is building...But, most importantly, we've achieved our mission with the product to deliver an enjoyable, satisfying customer experience. That's really the foundation in fulfilling the objectives of the company, and paving the way to a healthy business into the future. If we deliver on our promise, everyone will win including us, dealers and customers who make the choice to purchase our product. The X-Board was designed to be the easiest-to-learn hydroflight board in the world, and we keep getting feedback from dealers and customers that it's the easiest, most fun water sport product they've ever experienced. To us, that's a huge achievement, one we're very proud of.

CONNECT: What’s the biggest obstacle or challenge you’ve overcome?

Securing I.P. for our product design (and product development roadmap) was a daunting obstacle, but we've overcome it in a big way. Our engineers innovated early and created product design features which solved multiple performance objectives, and established a superior product design versus competitors. We'd filed for patents, but some of our key engineering achievements were being patented by a third party without our knowledge. Just this Summer, we acquired an all-encompassing patent portfolio which, combined with our own I.P., puts us in a leadership position for our industry. A cloudy future in terms of I.P. has turned to into a blue sky for FlyDive.

CONNECT: What does being a finalist in the Most Innovative New Product Awards mean to you?

Firstly, it was an honor to be selected as a finalist among other talented innovators and passionate entrepreneurs. It takes tremendous dedication, ingenuity, resourcefulness and guts to create new product solutions in a competitive marketplace and charge forward building a disruptive business. Then, when we learned this was the largest entry pool in the 29-year history of the program, we felt incredibly fortunate to make it into the finals. No matter who the overall winner is, it's gratifying to just be counted among such talented and innovative companies. There are many people behind each finalist's product story making all this possible; hard-working teams, investors who were willing to take a chance, and supportive families and friends too. It's a long road to reach these spotlight moments, and it means so much to everyone at FlyDive to be recognized for innovation, and to inspire others just getting started on their product journeys.

For more information on the 2016 Most Innovative New Product Awards click here. 

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