Laurel Walzak (pictured), Ron Bettin & Devon Bolton, co-founders
Queen's Executive MBA
2014

Fitneff Inc.

Our company, Fitneff™, is dedicated to creating innovative products and solutions that increase the activity levels of busy people both at work and at home. Our name is derived from “Fitness” and “Efficiency”, our guiding principles.

Our ‘aha moment’: Laurel reports, “After an inspirational lecture on Business Venturing by Prof. Elspeth Murray, my EMBA’14 classmate Ron Bettin and I headed to the pub at the Donald Gordon Centre. Over glasses of wine, Ron shared his idea for a treadmill desk that he was in the process of developing. He highlighted its benefits, including the improvement of mental agility, of blood circulation in the legs and of productivity. The EMBA curriculum includes an optional New Venture Project, and I encouraged Ron to use this project to test his concept. I told him that if his venture proved to be potentially viable, I’d invest in the company. His new venture passed the test and Ron and I, along with our classmate Devon Bolton, became business partners and co-founders of Fitneff™ in 2013.”

What business problem does your company solve? With physical inactivity being linked to an increase in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, the effects of long-term sitting have been compared to those of smoking. In an effort to combat these health risks, we’ve introduced our inaugural product, the WalkTop™ Treadmill Desk. It’s a stylish, light, compact and adjustable desktop designed to fit onto most of the popular treadmills on the market.

What the business needs most right now: Financing, namely cash flow. We certainly remember our Accounting 101 classes and Prof. John Moore’s mantra, “Cash is KING”. Maintaining a cash balance is challenging during the initial start-up phase. We need cash to operate; we need cash to manufacture; and we need cash to market and sell. It’s plain, but not simple.

March 17, 2015 update: The FitNeff Walk Top™ Treadmill Desk got a workout when Canadian Business magazine's Executive Editor Carol Toller tried one at her office.  "I was asked to try out a treadmill desk and came to love it, fast!' she says in a video accompanying the online feature.

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