Complete a university degree or take the plunge as an entrepreneur? AUT engineering alumnus and Avice co-founder Parn Jones discovered it doesn’t have to be one or the other.
Less than two years after Parn completed his Master of Engineering degree, his start-up has released its first wearable device, edging them closer to their ultimate goal of licensing the core technology.
The device developed by the Avice team provides real-time feedback during weight training exercises, allowing individuals to train at their optimal level for muscle growth.
Company director and CTO for Avice, Parn says he and his co-founders came up with the idea while working on their research projects at AUT’s Institute of Biomedical Technologies (IBTec).
“It was a really cool environment. I was studying and doing my research at IBTec and I was surrounded by smart, like-minded people working on interesting medical research and projects. Sam Paritotokkapron and Miguel Jo Avila had an idea around portable ultrasound technology and the beginnings of Avice grew from there and conversations in the IBTec kitchen.
“The conversations later went to AUT Millennium where we found Eric Helms who is also a cofounder and an expert on strength and conditioning.”
AUT staff have also been vital in helping Parn and his co-founders establish their start-up – from the AUT professor who acts as an advisor to the University’s commercialisation team, AUT Ventures.
“We’re all geeks and nerds who started this process knowing a lot about technology and almost nothing about commercialisation or intellectual property or how to go about getting funding, so the AUT Ventures team has been a huge help with that side of things,” says Parn.
AUT Ventures client outreach manager Amber Taylor says the team is committed to fostering student entrepreneurship.
“We have access to seed funding to kick-start business ideas and more substantial funding opportunities available through our partners and investor networks. We specialise in market validation, intellectual property protection, and commercialisation strategy.”
Early successes for the Avice team and their idea have included awards and funding from AUT, Callaghan Innovation, KiwiNet and Zino Ventures but Parn says they have even bigger goals for the future.
“We aim to be experts in using advanced technology to provide meaningful, science-based information to the weight training market to optimise muscular fitness. We want the large wearable technology companies to be using our technology.”