On May 16, 2017 six ASU tech startups joined the inaugural 8-week summer accelerator program, Arizona Prosperity Initiative 2X, API2X for short, at Skysong. API2X takes founders from MVP to VC, walking them through each step to find their critical path to traction with in-depth, bi-weekly business and financial modeling, applied learning projects and 1:1 mentoring. Their intense entrepreneurial training will be tested on Pitch Day on July 5, when each entrepreneur will pitch their innovation in front of a panel of experts. Six more weeks to go!
Throughout the summer, we will feature one of the ventures we are proud to collaborate with. This week, let’s meet Tyler Fellman, founder of Fellman Watch Co.
Fellman Watch Co. is a startup company specializing in wristwatches designed for outdoor elements. Sourcing directly from the manufacturer, Fellman Watch Co. assembles in the US for high quality control and incorporates elements from luxury watches at an affordable price.
Don’t miss out on the exclusive deals only available through Kickstarter, which will end on June 10!
Tyler, what is your tech background?
I have a technical background and a Mechanical Engineering degree from ASU. Through university and after graduation, I worked in the aerospace field. Most recently I was and engineer at Raytheon until I returned to ASU to pursue an MBA and MSE in Systems Engineering. In parallel to returning to university, I launched Fellman Design and Enterprises and our flagship product, Fellman Watch Co.
Why did you start a watch line?
Something was missing. It started as a project four years ago when I could not find a watch that was affordable and stylish enough for the weekend nights, but rugged enough for the backcountry. After years of shop work and field testing, I have now reached a point where I can use my engineering skillset to bring this watch to life. I realized a market gap and was able to implement my own experiences and skills to create a product that has value for the consumer.
What’s the best part about your new role as an entrepreneur?
The best part of being an entrepreneur is building a business upon my passions and interest. Every amount of effort I put into this venture, I see how it progresses a company and product. I am learning a new role every day and it’s pushing my limits to make this vision a reality.
What’s the most challenging part?
Just like every other startup company, we’ve had our challenges. My most challenging aspect is marketing. I enjoy the strategic planning and high-level approach, but it is difficult for me to actually implement an effective campaign. Never the less, I am proud of the support I have received and the traction the watch line has gained on our Kickstarter campaign. After the hurdle of raising capital, we have even more challenges of scalability with the supply chain, manufacturing and finances. That’s why when ASU Entrepreneurship and Innovation offered me the opportunity to join the API2X accelerator program, I didn’t hesitate. It’s only been two weeks but I already had the opportunity to work one-on-one with a Fortune 100 company CFO with experienced in international manufacturing.
How can the community support you?
I am now laser focused on pre-sales. I encourage my fellow hikers, campers, and outdoor-goers to check out and order our unisex watches on Kickstarter. I appreciate all of your support by liking and sharing our Facebook page and Instagram.
Learn more about Tyler’s story and see how a watch is made here. As part of their initial release, they are offering a limited-edition watch that uses 3D printing and laser etching. The case and back of the watch are 3D printed in steel for an industrial appearance. The dials are also laser etched and compliments the case. Each timepiece is made specific for the customer and are limited to only 20 pieces.
API2X is powered by Altima Business Solutions, business accelerators who cultivate and ‘rise’ entrepreneurs who are creating today’s job given access to capital, expertise, skills and talent. The API2X track is reserved for cities, universities and business associations. As featured in the Phoenix Business Journal, for individual startup or a small business, applications are now live for API10X accelerator program.