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Developing a Smart Resistance Band during the Pandemic

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Stefan Weiss STRAFFR

Stefan Weiss of STRAFFR tells us about the intelligent fitness band.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?

Stefan Weiss: Everyone is very cautious. Fortunately, we are all healthy at the moment.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded STRAFFR.

Stefan Weiss: I worked as a consultant after finishing my master’s degree in industrial engineering. During this period, I stayed in a lot of hotels. As a former athlete, I was desperately looking for a solution to train my whole body in the hotel room or on the go. After trying hundreds of apps and gadgets that didn’t quite satisfy me, I bought a classic resistance band and was impressed by the versatility of this training device. However, I wasn’t able to see my progress with these resistance bands since you never know how much force you apply. STRAFFR, a smart resistance band that connects to a fitness app to provide personalized and effective training – anywhere at any time, was born.

How does STRAFFR innovate?

Stefan Weiss: We have invented a patent-pending smart resistance band that tracks your workouts and provides real-time feedback. We integrated unique expandable sensors inside the band which makes the whole band a sensor. No matter where you pull, the band will measure the force, velocity, and repetitions while you train and provides you with real-time feedback. At every level of our customer journey, we focus on convenience and ease of use. We constantly test our software and ask our customers how we can improve the training experience. We test features and functionalities almost every week to improve our software/ hardware product constantly.

How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?

Stefan Weiss: As we have just started serial production in 2020 when the pandemic was in full swing, we had to adjust our processes very quickly. We couldn’t visit our suppliers and the lead times for key components increased. This led to an adjusted cash flow that we had to monitor and control regularly.

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

Stefan Weiss: As we just started shipping the first units of our smart resistance band, we had to also take care of delays as a result of the pandemic. We improved our communication with our customers to keep them informed on the new schedule. At the same time, we experienced that the home-fitness market is booming due to many closed gyms and sports clubs. We learned to adapt quickly and to stay positive during these uncertain and challenging times.

How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?

Stefan Weiss: We have experienced that our customers reach out to us via very different channels: e-mail, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, AppStore, etc. We have adjusted our tools to be able to communicate with our customers on every level. However, we still need to improve our omnichannel communication and we want to fit it into one tool in the future.

Your final thoughts?

Stefan Weiss: I think the pandemic showed us how quickly people and organizations can adapt to changed circumstances. The newly developed vaccines are a major achievement and showcase the power of innovation. I look into the future with optimism.

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