Three former Cal Poly soccer players are turning their passion for fitness into an entrepreneurial endeavor. Fourth year computer science major Michael Bautista has partnered with his friends Zack DiDonato and Rigas Rigopoulos to create EVO Athletics, a startup working to build an iOS application that allows users to explore new ways to achieve their health and fitness goals.
“We had this idea of creating a training facility and an application, and we decided why not try and pursue it as a sort of side project,” said Bautista. “Then one of our members found the Hatchery, and we decided to join and try to pursue it as a startup idea.”
The Hatchery, an on-campus Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) program that helps students develop their innovative ideas into viable startups, has been a valuable asset to the EVO Athletics team. While Bautista and his colleagues entered this project with the technical skills needed to create the EVO Athletics app, building and maintaining a business was entirely new to them.
“I think the Hatchery is a great opportunity for all Cal Poly students,” said Bautista. “We decided to join the Hatchery because we had little to no business knowledge and, being a computer science student, I had very little resources to acquire those business skills. The Hatchery has really helped us in the business side of our company, while I can really focus on the technical side with my degree.”
One undertaking the Hatchery is currently helping the team with is customer acquisition. This means endless strategic interviewing of potential customers to identify the problems they face and innovating solutions for these issues.
Meanwhile, Bautista is developing their iOS application. The app will double as both the first step in the growth of EVO Athletics and Bautista’s senior project. He will be working with a Cal Poly mobile development professor through two quarters to develop the minimum viable product (MVP), or a simplified version of an app that allows a product team to quickly receive user feedback that they can use to improve their product.
“My personal next step for our startup is to get the MVP out, which I’m working on for my senior project,” said Bautista. “In terms of business, our next step would be to pitch to some investors, apply to Innovation Quest and hopefully get into the HotHouse to develop the business.”
Although EVO Athletics is still in its early stages, Bautista hopes that he can one day grow his startup into a nationally-recognized brand.
“I’d say one of our long-term goals is to be one of the top health and fitness apps in the app store and maybe create some sort of partnership with an athletic brand, like Nike or Adidas,” he explained.
For now, though, Bautista and his team are focusing on growing EVO Athletics into a sustainable business — one that Bautista hopes he can fully devote himself to after graduation.
“I definitely want to be able to work on this full time,” he said. “My two passions are technology and fitness, and this is the only thing I’ve found that combines the two.”