At this years New Venture Competition, members of the Palo Alto Software team had the pleasure to not only read the business plan for Klymit Technology, but see their management team present to the judges.
Their presentation was energetic and solidly put together and we left the event feeling that their team and the company had very bright futures ahead of them. Palo Alto Software awarded Klymit with the award for Best Written Plan at the NVC.
We asked Nate Alder, the President and CEO of Klymit Technologies, if he would answer a few questions about taking his business to the business planning competition circuit for funding and exposure.
The Klymit technology was invented by Nate, an undergraduate student at BYU with past successful experience in inventing and taking a disruptive technology to market. Alder has now organized a management team of graduate students with the right training and experience to take this new disruptive Klymit technology to market.
PAS: I know you are very busy these days, so I appreciate your time in virtually sitting down with me and talking. I’d like to get right into it and start first with, what exactly is Klymit?
Nate Alder: The Klymit Technology – hailed as “The Holy Grail of Insulation” by Tom Berry, former President of Salomon – is warmer, thinner, and more adjustable than current products and promises to revolutionize the way the world thinks about insulation. Klymit replaces fabric insulation in jackets, pants, boots, gloves, sleeping bags, tents, Special Forces gear, body armor, etc. with its revolutionary form of adjustable insulation technology, which utilizes noble gases. This technology is licensed to major brands in the outdoor gear and apparel industry. Klymit’s technology is five times more effective than fabric insulation and the hand-adjustable dial allows the user to determine the amount of gas (the insulating component) in each product, to provide customizable Warmth on Demand. These gases are 100% eco friendly as you will never see them in a landfill because they are extracted from the air we breathe, and released back into it. The gases are safe being non-flammable, non-toxic, colorless, and odorless. Isn’t it about time you Kontrolled the Elements?
The technology is priced to replace the cost of existing fabric insulation and generate a residual income for both Klymit and its partners through the selling of proprietary refill gas canisters similar to the printer industry. The Klymit technology is just a few months away from finalizing agreements with a number of tier one OEMs and top brands of outdoor gear and apparel.
PAS: I have to admit, when I first read your executive summary, I immediately thought, “who in their right minds would want a jacket full of gas?!” But the idea and the science is sound and you’re getting quite a lot of buzz about it. Which brings me to my next question, you’ve been hitting a lot of business planning competitions; are they terrifying or exciting? How do you get ready to present your idea to the judges? Any kind of “good-luck dance” you do before hand?
Nate Adler: At first we were very concerned going up against such prestigious schools as Harvard, Yale, Duke, MIT, Cambridge, etc. but as we started winning competition after competition, each new one we would arrive to the name Klymit preceded us and many teams started to view Klymit as the Goliath of each competition but with lots of positive support and enthusiasm of all other schools as they would always tell us “this is actually a product I want to buy, not just a sales pitch on biomedical devices”.
In preparation for each event we would spend our nights at the hotel refining our presentation based off of practice round judges feedback and stay up rehearsing our presentation as opposed to going out late drinking with the rest of the students from other schools.
We have always treated this as a serious business from the beginning and not just an extracurricular activity we do for fun on the weekends but we have sacrificed a lot of personal time, social life, entertainment, grades, and even other job opportunities to make this company a success.
We just have so much fun with it that it makes up for all our other sacrifices. Before each event we always made sure we had gotten plenty of sleep, ate a health meal, always avoiding alcohol, tobacco, or any other substance that could impact our minds or bodies. All these things combined really helped us stay relaxed and focused to perform well and have a lot of fun doing so.
PAS: Your business plan has really been key for starting your business, both in guiding where you’re going and gathering funding via business planning competitions. What would you say was the best decision you made regarding writing your plan?
Nate Adler: Committing the necessary time to get it done well and face the cold hard facts, analyzing every detail, having a complete SWOT and addressing every elephant in the room. From there it was how to make it stand out, the whole “WOW” factor, like a sales document.
PAS: Any advice for someone out there who is teetering on the decision point of writing a business plan vs. not taking the time to?
Nate Adler: Either commit and go big or go home. This is not a job for those of simple mind or weak commitment. You need to be willing to make some of the biggest sacrifices to become successful otherwise you are just wasting yours and everyone else’s time. Part of evaluating a good business idea is analyzing it through from start to finish and that is part of business planning.
My thanks to Nate for taking his time to talk with us about his company and journey so far. Everyone here at Palo Alto Software looks forward to hearing more about Klymit’s successes down the road!
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Palo Alto Software