Neofit roller founder Sebastian Kipman and Outerspace Design

The Neofit roller is the brainchild of Seb Kipman, a writer with a passion for keeping fit. A lightweight collapsible exercise roller, Neofit easily collapses from 30 to 10cm in length, so you can carry Neofit in your bag, or store it in a small space. Rollers are great for massaging tight muscles but cumbersome to carry around and store, so Neofit elegantly solved these problems.

Seb worked for Cricket Australia for seven years, travelling with the team and lugging gear everywhere he went. The idea for Neofit came about in 2015 after experiencing back-breaking cricket tours.

“I wrote the idea down in my notebook,” says Seb. He then toyed around with designs, coming up with different concepts. “At one stage, I took an inner tube from a roll of paper towel and fashioned it into all sorts of clumsy concepts,” he explains.

“Eventually I got bogged down with full-time work so forgot the idea for a while. I kept coming back to it over the next year. I knew there was something to it but I was unsure whether there was a market for it,” he says.

In 2016, Seb was accepted into a business incubator and one of the big lessons he learnt was how to work on due diligence and how to determine whether or not there is sufficient market demand for a proposed new product. “Once I went through about a month of due diligence on the idea, it became clear there was a strong market for Neofit,” says Seb.

Seb quit his job in August 2016 to work full time on the idea. He sold his car and most of his belongings, rented out his apartment, took up freelancing to pay the bills and moved to South East Asia to cut back on living costs, while working on the product. “I kind of went all in with the idea,” Seb says.

“The idea that something I’ve created, with the help of my design team at Outerspace, is desired by people around the world is a pretty cool feeling,” he says.

The design process started in September 2016, about a year after the initial idea. Seb approached Outerspace with a concept and model for Neofit. “As a writer, coming from a creative background meant my mind wasn’t constrained by engineering logic or reality. Perhaps if I’d had a really deep understanding of engineering I might have dismissed early ideas for Neofit outright,” explains Seb.

Outerspace Design and Seb worked together on concepts. “The design team applied their expertise to convert some of my early ideas into workable concepts while others, they told me,  weren’t feasible. It was a good combination to have,” he explains.

Neofit was launched on Kickstarter on 17 October and reached its funding goal of $30 000 within 24 hours.

Seb chose the Kickstarter platform to accurately determine market interest. “Kickstarter also allowed me to embark on a full-scale manufacturing stage without giving away large chunks of equity in my company to fund production,” says Seb.

He had studied many crowdfuning campaigns, and felt Neofit was perfect for Kickstarter. “I was confident it would resonate well with the early adopters the site caters to,” he adds.

As with all new products, developing Neofit presented interesting challenges. “Staying committed to it and keeping the faith in the end result, despite frustrations, was the hardest thing,” explains Seb.

He says the highlight was getting the final working prototype and putting it in the hands, and under the muscles of people and seeing their positive response.

Over the journey, Seb has received requests for Neofit from Premier League soccer clubs in England, multiple Olympians, Major League Soccer teams, professional athletes and the USA national rugby team and the requests keep coming.

Update: Pre-orders

After reaching nearly three times the funding goal in 30 days, the Kickstarter campaign has ended, but you can still pre-order your Neofit Roller on Indiegogo Indemand.

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Sergei Plishka
About the Author
Sergei Plishka
Sergei has a particular interest in eco architecture and design, including alternative materials and sustainable energy management. Following a passion for travel and knowledge he’s studied in Canada, Singapore and Australia, achieving degrees in commerce and industrial design.

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