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Competition calendar    Jan 28, 2021

Q&A With The Render Competition Winners – SplitPass

Splitpass, one of the winners of the Render Competition, is scaling the fitness class industry by making purchases of memberships and class sessions more affordable. Learn how they are using the $100k investment from the competition to drive their business!

Last fall, we announced the eight winners of the inaugural Render Competition. Each startup received a $100,000 investment to scale their solution within and beyond the Greater Louisville region. Now, we’re catching up with each of the winning founders to hear about their Competition experience, including lessons learned and advice to future applicants, as well as getting an update from the company about what’s ahead.

Today, we’re sharing our conversation with Alex Plonsker, CEO and founder of SplitPass
SplitPass is like StubHub for the everyday economy. They create liquidity for membership days, classes and sessions (starting with fitness)! Buyers can purchase discounted passes, sellers can sell their membership days and classes for cash, and studios convert and retain more members. It’s a win-win-win that makes fitness more affordable for everyone. To learn more, you can check out their video pitch here.

Why did you decide to apply for Render Competition?
You guys reached out to me after hearing about us in another pitch competition! After getting to know the firm, I felt a connection to their mission of empowering people in the Midwest with economic opportunity.

What was something you learned from the application process?
VCs are inundated with incoming pitches and (many times) will overlook great companies. So when you find investors that are actually willing to spend time learning about your business, you need to take advantage of that opportunity and give them enough info to see the entire picture as you do.

What attracted you to Greater Louisville?
You can tell they’re really putting in an effort to support startups. It’s also much easier to get peoples’ attention and launch something in a smaller city than in New York or LA.

How are you using the $100k and how will it help you scale your startup?
We’re using it to test different marketing channels as we launch in different cities to refine our launch playbook. We’re developing metrics and case studies to prove that our playbook is scalable.

What advice would you give to a company applying for the next round of Render Competition?
Make sure you bring your enthusiasm and excitement. Even if you’ve given the same pitch a million times, investors are looking for this.

Would the current efforts of your business look different today if you did not receive this funding? If so, how?
Funding came at a crucial time. Even though we had proved the initial concept, we didn’t necessarily have the traction to attract larger VC investment yet. Render’s investment helped us cross the valley of death that many startups face and reach the next milestone in getting this off the ground.

What role do you see your startup playing in the regional economy over the next 5 years?
Most directly – our product will be putting money directly back into consumers’ pockets. We’ll also have a hugely positive impact on brick n mortar businesses that we partner with and grow their jobs.

How has your business had to pivot or adjust over the past year?
The biggest thing is to stay lean and keep our burn low until the fitness industry reopens. We’ve also added the ability to exchange digital classes on our platform.

What’s next for your company in 2021?
2021 will be the great reboot of the fitness industry. We think there’s going to be an explosion in health & fitness after the pandemic and we are excited to help our partner companies capitalize on it and grow.

What inspires you to continue to grow and push forward your business every day?
You have to short circuit your reward system. Just focus on the next step – that’s it. Put one foot in front of the other. The big picture goal is great at pushing you to make the leap to start a company, but it won’t necessarily inspire you on a daily basis when you get into the weeds. Building a company is such a long and grueling process – it’s unnatural for people to work on something where the reward is so far out. I bring enthusiasm to each task – like each thing is an exciting new activity on its own.

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We envision a robust and thriving regional economy where entrepreneurs see the Midwest and South as a place they can find appropriate risk capital necessary for them to start and grow.

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