The 2010 winners of the Be Your Own Boss Bowl are experiencing unforeseen challenges.
Four Temple students started an engineering company that produced a shock-absorbing product for motorcycles, entered it into an entrepreneurial contest and walked away with more than $65,000 in cash and prizes in Spring 2010. But since winning, the company has experienced some turbulence.
Chaitanya Sakhalkar, Francois Sagna, Kevin McCardle and Steven Trinh came up with the idea and business plan for Next Engineering, which won against nine other finalists in the Fox School of Business 2010 Be Your Own Boss Bowl.
The company’s plan and product to allow motorcycles to absorb shocks and thus adapt to varying road conditions helped earn the team its winning title. According to the company’s website, still under the Next Engineering name, the shock absorbers sell for $999 for single shock bikes and $1,899 for dual shock bikes.
In order to win the Be Your Own Boss Bowl, the team took advantage of Temple resources, including the TECH Center, labs and professors, said Sakhalkar, the CEO of the company, in an e-mail.
“Pretty much every night we went to [the TECH] Center at around 10 [p.m.] or so and got out at around five in the morning,” Sakhalkar said.
Since winning, Sakhalkar said the company has had two major setbacks.
The company’s name, Next Engineering, wasn’t approved, so the founders were forced to create a new name – Next Innovations, LLC. Additionally, the motorcycle used as the business’s prototype was stolen.
Sakhalkar said the money the team walked away with funded different aspects of the company.
“Part of the money was used to buy our prototype that was stolen. Other purchases included computers and softwares for designing purposes,” Sakhalkar said. “A small portion was allocated for basic personal needs like rent. We still have some with us but not enough to purchase a new prototype.”
Aside from company-oriented setbacks, Sakhalkar said two of the members were international students and faced immigration struggles. They had to find jobs to stay in the country.
While the company’s first year may have been bumpy, Sakhlalkar said the team’s members are currently working in the industry and plan on having careers with Next Innovations, LLC.
“The moment we feel we have enough experience, and the immigration situations are taken care of, we will put all of our time into [Next Innovations],” Sakhalkar said.
Angelo Fichera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.