Ty Frix came to the University of Georgia from Calhoun High School in 2008. The son of former Bulldog long snapper Mitch Frix, he walked on at snapper and redshirted his freshman year before completing a streak of 54 consecutive games started—a school record.
What Frix accomplished in between those fifty-four straight starts is equally impressive; he came away with a degree in biomedical engineering in 2012, and earned his MBA in 2014.
His startup is a marriage of his scholastic and athletic pursuits: Ichor Sports, co-founded with former UGA defensive back Andrew Johnson, is a multi-platform fitness monitoring service that aims to give coaches a more holistic approach in overseeing player fitness.
I recently spoke with Ty about Ichor.
First off, in your own words how would you describe the services provided by Ichor?
“What we set out to do is create a platform that gives the complete picture of an athlete’s life to a coach, gives coaches a glimpse into every way their athletes are being worked every day.”
Frix told me that, in the life of a college athlete, there are five groups of people vying for the time you don’t spend sleeping: teachers, trainers, coaches, nutritionists, tutors.
“They all want you to think their part of the day is most important—reality is they’re all important. Nobody communicates how active their athletes are in each of the five facets, how little sleep they get, and how drained their bodies are. We set out to complete health platform, and trying to improve their kids well-being.”
The software monitors heart rate, calories burned, suggested water and caloric intake levels (based on each individual workout or extended period of physical exertion) for entire groups of athletes. The software calculates averages among group members, making it possible to see who falls above and below average time spent sleeping, quality of sleep, time doing physical activity, and distances traveled.
“Every athlete has to train, rest, and have a recovery regimen. Our platform is set up to help in those three pillars—our platform sits on top of all those and monitors them together, giving coach access to each of those.”
Coaches may not have the time or the personnel to extrapolate all the data across multiple devices. Ichor solves that.”
That could be a basketball team of 15 or a football team of 100. However,
“A coach may coach 100 kids, but if he’s a QB coach he only cares about 5 of them, he can make a watchlist of just his position players to monitor. He can then view each athlete individually. You can compare one athlete to another athlete, seeing who is working hard and who is not.”
How would you say Ichor is different than other fitness monitor devices?
“We can hook up to devices people already have— a fitbit, a Garmin, an Apple Watch. It gives us extreme flexibility and allows us to change and develop as the market changes.”
We know you got your degree in biomedical engineering, how long was an idea like this in the back of your mind?
“It came out of our experience playing at UGA, seeing the use of cutting-edge technology in the SEC, at the highest levels of football, and realizing that there’s a need for that at every level.”
If you could, just give a brief overview of what the development process was like.
“You have these areas that you’re passionate about, and you want to help people in these areas.”
Like he said, the idea came to him during his undergrad, but he really began work on the idea while earning his MBA.
“It took us two years of going back and forth in customer discovery to find that niche, but it was a long process that was worth it, one we’ll continue to do. It’s important for any company to be willing to continue that process.”
The time he spent doing market research allowed him to realize the product’s potential.
“We have a great market segment from coaches, to groups of athletes like athletes to gym members, to school PE classes. The customer segment demanded a multi-platform software. It’s so easy, it’s very simple. If you look at all the performance monitors on the market, we’re the easiest-to-use and most affordable, which gives us a big segment.”
Who have you been working with primarily? High school/College/Pro players?
Right now we’re focused on college athletes; especially since that’s our playing background. Right now I’m sitting in an office with five people: all former college athletes. My partner’s dad was a coach, my dad was in sports medicine. But we do work with high schools, including come PE classes, so we can offer parents and teachers online management to ensure their kids are getting enough activity throughout the day.”
What should a coach or player who wants to use Ichor do to get in touch with the Ichor team?
“Go to our website, IchorSports.com, there’s a contact form, and we can help get your group set up.”
Ichor isn’t limited to just athletic applications:
“People are doing this in the corporate wellness world. As in, insurance companies have figured out monitoring people can keep people out of the hospitals.”
Featured photo: AJ Reynold / Online Athens