By Jim Benemann
BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– There’s been so much excitement along the Front Range about Amazon possibly bringing a second headquarters to the area, I thought it would be interesting to get to know one of the hundreds, if not thousands much smaller companies that have already made the move to Colorado.
Didn’t they know about the bad traffic and soaring high prices? I decided to drop by a start-up located off 28th Street in Boulder.
Fitbot has designed an online workout platform that lets coaches and trainers deliver a client’s individually-designed workout routine right on that person’s cell phone. It allows the coach to be in touch with many more clients at a time. That lets the coach and trainers make more money, and also lets their clients benefit from the convenience of having their workout routine right at their fingertips, even if the trainer can’t be there.
The Fitbot platform is used by 2,500 trainers around the country who’ve used it to draw up 600,000 workouts last month alone. Fitbot co-founder Casey Jenks graduated from college in Florida and owned a CrossFit gym there. His childhood pal Robbie Jack was also looking for a new challenge. They both had a strong technical aptitude to go with their dedication to fitness.
They came up with the idea for Fitbot, and with some financial backing, decided they could make a go of it. But where to locate? They say the Boulder-Denver area has been a perfect fit.
“We were looking for three things. A tech-friendly environment with a lot of activity in that regard. This area fit the bill. We also wanted a place with a lot of people interested in fitness and again this area is perfect. Finally, we loved the outdoors and obviously that was a huge draw to Colorado,” said Jenks.
The Fitbot team consists of just eight people right now, but the company expects to be hiring soon. For now, every employee came to Colorado from another state.
AJ Self is a software engineer who lives in Denver with his wife. She commutes to Children’s Hospital every day. AJ heads north to Boulder. He admits the traffic is a downer of living here. But he tries to adjust to limit the hassles.
“I try to leave earlier in the morning to beat the worst of the rush hour. And some days I’ll ask Casey if I can work from home and he’s always fine with it. Just as long as I get the work done, even if that means having to work the occasional Saturday here at the office. I’m always tempted to hop in the express lanes on Highway 36!” said Self.
Emilie Hester is another software engineer who wanted to move to Colorado. She owned a couple of gyms in Bellingham, Washington and was ready for a new adventure. Hester found an ad for a job opening at Fitbot on Craigslist.
“I followed it back to the website and saw what Colorado is all about and was excited they were hiring. I sent my resume hoping they would be excited about joining the team. Luckily, the company felt the same way. I shot my resume over and the rest is history!” said Hester.
Jenks is always thinking of ways to grow the business. And he’s lucky. He lives close enough to the office that he rides his bike in every day. That’s one way to beat the traffic!
Jim Benemann is a longtime anchor at CBS4. He’s coming up on 40 years in the TV news business and loves reporting on the stories Coloradans are talking about. Send him your story ideas and follow Jim on Twitter @jimbcbs4.