Founder Spotlight: Isis Ashford & Kehlin Swain
This month, we’re excited to introduce you to Isis Ashford and Kehlin Swain, DivInc’s alumni featured in our Founder Spotlight series. Isis and Kehlin are co-founders of Xplosion Tech, a startup that provides wearable sensors coupled with The Homer Technique™ to provide training staff comprehensive reports about each athletes susceptibility to injury. With this information, they can characterize the body, set expectations for it, and determine what’s needed to finish strong.
Isis B. Ashford is pioneering the new genre of sports analytics for injury prediction. She’s a leader in sports technology and a health tech entrepreneur with a penchant for fusing data analytics insights, wearable tech and content into game-changing products and solutions. Her expertise ranges from storytelling and product development, where she designed the software for mobile and web applications for major college athletic programs including the University of Miami and Delaware State University. Isis received a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering and currently resides in Houston.
Kehlin Swain is an innovative sports technology leader and sports media entrepreneur with a passion for pushing the boundaries for traditional entrepreneurship. Throughout his training from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Intel corporation he has become a thought leader on the use of Machine Learning to give Sports organization actionable insights. He’s built several software and hardware products that are now being used and implemented into Collegiate and Professional organizations including University of Miami and The Miami Heat.
Below, Isis and Kehlin answer a few questions about their path to becoming entrepreneurs.
Tell us about your company, what it offers, and how it’s unique.
Xplosion Tech is a sports-technology company based in Texas, centered around a cutting-edge human performance software platform. Think Google Analytics for athletes. Our state of the art, patented data collection process prevents and identifies key injuries among players. Xplosion leverages validated testing methods coupled with wearable sensors to provide training staff comprehensive reports about each athletes susceptibility to injury. College and Professional organizations leverage this unique data set to make better data-driven decisions about draft candidates, return to play, and at home rehabilitation recommendations.
What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve faced as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Our biggest obstacle was finding product-market fit and being able to survive a pivot. Our team is mainly composed of engineers and athletes. However, we discovered that although we had the insight of the user, we did not have the same insight as a trainer or coach who is the main buyer and influencer. Without this key insight, it stifled our ability to talk the same language as the coaches and ultimately affected our ability to sell. We overcame this by first recognizing our team's strengths and identifying all of our weaknesses of why we weren't being successful. Once we realized we had to understand the coach's world view we began on a quest to interview 100 customers. From there, we pinpointed market trends and under-served areas within their workflow.
What was your experience like with DivInc?
If I could describe DivInc one word it would be: incredible. DivInc equipped us with all the necessary tools to be successful including their network, curriculum, and personal advise they give to each company. We entered the program as two college students, and graduated as entrepreneurs. When I think of my network now and all of the people who are making intro's for me and sending me exclusive invites to certain events, 80% of them came from DivInc. As a founder of color the statistics alone will discourage you from starting a business, but with DivInc backing, we were able to get into rooms and meet key decision-makers to improve and grow our business.
Have mentors played a role in your success?
Mentors are every business’ secret weapon. Really good mentors will help you see 100 moves ahead through their experience and illuminate the best way to approach a customer.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business?
Don't worry about scaling today or getting investment. Focus on getting one customer and how to keep that customer engaged. Then you can slowly build up from there.