Kansas City Startup OYO Brings NASA Fitness Technology to Earth

While rarely thought of as a form of technology, exercise equipment is indeed getting smarter. According to Tech.co, the fitness and wellness industry generated $542 billion in revenue last year and OYO Fitness, a Kansas City-based fitness firm, wants a piece of the action.


Paul Francis, CEO and founder of OYO Fitness, created a device that differed from traditional fitness technology by no longer relying on steel springs that are more apt to breaking. Instead, Francis’ designs use a molded elastic polymer to create a lighter, longer-lasting spring. He called his invention SpiraFlex.


According to Startland News, SpiraFlex was originally developed for NASA and is used by astronauts on the International Space Station to prevent bone and muscle loss while in space. Francis also licensed the technology to Nautilus, Inc., best known for its Bowflex brand, but once he regained the rights to the technology he formed OYO and focused his startup on portable fitness devices.


He utilized his SpiraFlex technology in the design of OYO’s DoubleFlex, a portable device that can create as much as 25 pounds of resistance and connect to mobile devices using bluetooth.


To obtain funding for his new device, Francis utilized the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. Kansas City Business Journal recently reported that the DoubleFlex device blew its $30,000 crowdfunding goal out of the water, raising more than $650,000 to date! If that wasn’t enough, the SpiraFlex is currently the second-most funded fitness product in Kickstarter’s history.


Vice president of client services of Twentyseven Global Matt Henley, said, “One of the biggest challenges for any startup – arguably moreso for Kansas City-based companies – is securing that first round of funding to get their idea off the ground. That’s why it is always exciting to hear about a local company exceeding their funding goals. We can’t wait to see where OYO fitness goes from here.”

In the future, Francis plans on using the SpiraFlex technology in midsize to large home gyms.

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