How Curtis Kennedy is using Vertiball to provide precision muscle care products to make the back more accessible than ever before.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Curtis Kennedy: We all doing as well as can be expected in unusual and trying times. Being in the health and fitness sector, we’re especially sensitive to the challenges and issues that we are all facing.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Vertiball.
Curtis Kennedy: Back and muscle pain has always been a part of my life, and I never could find a way to relieve it. I tried using a tennis ball between my back and the floor or the wall, but I could never quite hit the right spot, or if I did, the ball soon rolled out of position. I wished I could somehow mount that ball to the wall without having to use my body to hold it in place. A few years and a couple of hundred prototypes later, I created the perfect solution: the Vertiball.
How does Vertiball innovate?
Curtis Kennedy: The Vertiball is a wall-mounted massage ball that uses an industrial-strength suction cup to stay secure, and it’s portable and removable without damaging walls. Along with it being the only one of its kind in the marketplace, our unique anchoring system will allow us to create a range of other health and fitness devices that will slot into the housing.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business, and how are you coping?
Curtis Kennedy: Vertiball is a fairly small team, so we were able to relocate to our home offices and stay connected via Zoom and Slack fairly easily. Communication between team members becomes even more important when working from home. We changed our marketing messaging to “bring the massage home” when massage and health clinics were closed during the first months of the pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Curtis Kennedy: During the pandemic, we had the option to present on the Canadian TV show “Dragons’ Den,” which was a 14-hour drive from our homes since flights were limited. We decided this was a great option for the company and went for it. The 14-hour drive and quarantining in a hotel room for a week was difficult but proved to be a great stepping stone for the business since we landed a deal with Arlene Dickinson.
What specific tools, software and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Curtis Kennedy: Zoom and other video chat software became very important. Slack is another great tool to stay organized and ensure everybody is connected and getting everything completed in a timely manner.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Curtis Kennedy: There are many massage tools on the market, and it is important for Vertiball to be the best tool for dealing with and solving back pain. We have both professional athletes and medical experts who recognize our unique value, and we’re working on expanding our offerings using our patent-pending technology as a base for future products that naturally relieve muscle pain.
Do you have any final thoughts?
Curtis Kennedy: Having recently secured equity funding from District Ventures Capital, we’re truly excited about developing products and tools that improve overall health and help individuals reach their maximum potential.