By Aurora Dominguez
The founders of Phlex are on a mission to bring tech to the swimming world. They know that world well -- they are all former University of Florida competitive swimmers.
The startup’s first product is Edge, a swimming fitness tracker featuring heart rate feedback, stroke analysis, and professional workout planning that can be attached to a goggle strap. The tracker relays to the Phlex app all the data a swimmer needs to review their workouts -- and improve.
The team is one of 10 teams currently taking part in EndeavorLab, a two-month accelerator program for early stage founders. We had a chance to talk to Marcin Cieslak, one of the Phlex founders and a former Olympian, about the future of the company and what swimmers can expect from Phlex, whether they swim competitively or for their health and fitness.
What was your inspiration behind Phlex and what can people expect from the company?
The inspiration behind Phlex was bringing swimming up to speed with the ongoing wearable revolution happening. The founding team consists of former collegiate athletes, coaches and I myself am a 2012 Olympian.
We've been a part of the sport for most of our lives and have experienced it from inside out. We were frustrated that swimmers didn't get to enjoy the same experience as runners and bikers did. We wanted to see if we can add value to the swimming world by becoming the swimming technology company.
What is Phlex all about and what services does it provide?
Phlex uses technology to provide data to swimmers. On the very bottom of the pyramid, we have our machine learning algorithms that crunch the data that we collect with our devices. Once the data is processed, there's a whole lot we can do with it. We tell swimmers how hard they exert themselves, we break down their workouts and suggest areas to improve.
We are now building educational experiences, swimming games and challenges and an online community where swimmers can engage with each other.
Who's involved with Phlex and what are their roles? How did you manage to gather the team and how was that experience?
The team has grown over time but the core founding team consists of 5 former University of Florida swimmers. The four of us: Myself, Ryan Rosenbaum, Harrison Gibson and Luke Torres (team pictured below) all trained together at UF at the same time. What connected us was passion for swimming combined with passion for technology. We all understood both of these areas well and saw the opportunity and that brought us together.
The fifth member of the team is Eric Donnelly, who also swam at UF but 15 years before us. He joined the team as the CTO to lead our technology development as an experienced engineer.
What makes for a great startup and how do you feel Phlex represents that?
At the core of each startup is the team. If the people on the team are dedicated, you are halfway there. The precursor to dedication is definitely passion, which is fuel for the demanding work at a startup. Startups are unique because the roles are very broad and frequently one person covers a few areas of the company. That requires a lot of focus and mental agility. One of Phlex's strengths is definitely the team is fueled by the passion for swimming.
What's up next for you, your team and the future of Phlex?
We are working on our expansion. Going forward we want to be more centered around software and serve people with all kinds of watches and hardware devices as we believe that will allow us to reach an order of magnitude more people.
The team is growing and we've onboarded some exciting partners that we can't really talk about yet. Hoping to share the news with the world soon.
Photos provided by Phlex
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