[Photo: Winning this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Student Startup Madness 2012-13 national championship were Benny Ebert-Zavos (second from left), Adam Proschek, Phil Getzen and Josh Leider.]
Title: Founder and Co-Founders
App Launched: May 2013
Offices: East Lansing, Mich.
Activity: An iPhone app that makes running easier and more enjoyable by categorizing all the music on a runner’s phone by tempo so the runner always can run to the beat. The app also provides streaming radio for running.
Annual Revenue: In positive territory
School Attended: Michigan State University
Degrees: Josh – B.S., Marketing, May 2013; Benny – B.S., Hospitality Business, May 2013; Phil, B.S., Computer Science, December 2013; Adam, B.S., Computer Science, December 2013; Ryan, B.S., Computer Science, May 2014
Company Website: www.temporunapp.com
“It kind of started as one small idea, and it’s mushroomed into much more than that.”
If you’ve ever been out on a run and really hit your stride with the right song, only to lose the beat when the music changes, the creators of the TempoRun iPhone app have come up with a solution.
TempoRun founder Josh Leider of Farmington Hills, Mich., came up with the idea for the app when he was running on the Michigan State University (MSU) campus in 2012 to the perfect beat, then found his stride was thrown off by the next, slower song on his playlist. He joined forces with fellow runner Benny Ebert-Zavos, then a senior from Frederick, Md., and turned to computer science students Phil Getzen of Lowell, Mich., and Adam Proschek of Royal Oak, Mich., to develop the app. The foursome won first place in March in the South by Southwest (SWSW) Student Startup Madness 2012-13 national championship finals in Austin, Texas, beating out teams from the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, Emory University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Illinois at Chicago, St. Louis University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Ryan Tempas of Midland, Mich., was brought on as a co-founder and the TempoRun app was launched in mid-May.
Josh said he learned to do market research for TempoRun through his MSU product innovation classes. TempoRun’s creators also got a lot of help from the entrepreneurial community at the university and in East Lansing. While developing the TempoRun app, they worked out of The Hatch, a student business incubator provided by MSU, the city of East Lansing, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership and Spartan Innovations. Spartan Innovations gave the team $5,000 in funding from two MSU endowments. The team also won $5,000 after taking first place in the Eli Broad Business Pitch Competition in December 2012 and the same amount after winning the Michigan Green Light Competition’s college division in March 2013.
“The best thing for us was The Hatch. We had all these in-house experts who could help us.”
At The Hatch, the TempoRun team found adult mentors as well as student entrepreneurs who developed the company logo and helped in other ways. When Benny decided to star in a video promoting the app, his girlfriend and a couple of other friends grabbed instruments and jumped in. The company has been written about in magazines such as Entrepreneur and Men’s Health and featured on Fox and CBS. The app’s creators also do a lot of marketing by word of mouth – LOUD word of mouth.
“We hand out a lot of T-shirts on the street. Benny and I just tend to run up to people on the street and scream, `TempoRun!’” said Josh, noting that they handed an X-large T-shirt to former MSU basketball star Draymon Green. So far, more than 6,200 people have bought the $2.99 app, and TempoRun’s creators are sure interest in the app will continue to grow.