Sproing Fitness is a company from Chicago, IL, that has invented a new device to help the 85% of indoor runners who injure themselves every year. The entrepreneurs, one the former CEO of Bally's Fitness and the other the former head of engineering at Life Fitness, claim that the treadmill itself if the problem.
Because runners run in an upright position, rather than leaning forward when they run on a treadmill, the entrepreneurs claim that the force of the footfalls adversely impact the knees and hips. So they have re-invented the treadmill.
Their new device mimics the effect of "falling forward" when running on pavement by tethering the user via a bungie cord to the back of the machine to that runners can lean all of their body weight forward. Additionally, they have replaced the hard running deck with a springy surface more like that of a small trampoline. It is used by wearing the the resistance tether on a harness, leaning forward with all of one's bodyweight, and running in place.
After participating in the demo, Robert said that he had thought it was a joke but that he "really felt the workout" and that the feeling of running was like that of "running in sand." The entrepreneurs claim that other fitness activities can be done with the machine as well, such as body weight squats and rows.
Because the machine costs $6,499 to purchase, clearly the buyer is intended to be fitness clubs and workout studios. In two years, the company has grossed $1,000,000 in sales and has sold some machines to rehabilitation centers and private studios.
However, due to this mixed reception, the entrepreneurs stated that they intend to get into the "studio fitness model" by setting up their own studios following the spin or barre model. They have opened four studios in the Chicagoland area and grossed $400,000 in the first year. These studios use the machine as the center of their high intensity interval workouts.
Mark dropped out of the business saying he saw future problems with the business model being so heavily based on the equipment, citing the cooling off of other equipment based studios after an initial burst of excitement, and the inability to easily change equipment because that is part of its novelty.
Lori likewise dropped out due to her primary interest being in consumer products.
Daymond said that he liked the machine but was unsure of how he could help get the word out about it and, because of that, didn't see any benefit to being involved and also dropped out.
Ultimately, the entrepreneurs could not convince a shark to come on board and left the tank without making a deal.