Under Armour takes notice of Austin-grown Handana

 

Katie Niemeyer's product, Handana, was runner-up at Under Armour's Future Show. Photo courtesy Under Armour.

Katie Niemeyer’s product, Handana, was runner-up at Under Armour’s Future Show. Photo courtesy Under Armour.

 

Congrats to Katie Niemeyer, who invented a snazzy little wristband called the Handana that’s perfect for wiping away sweat (or snot) when you run.

The Handana was named runner up at this year’s Under Armour Future Show Innovation Challenge. RaesWear, a company that sells pouches to carry things like phone, keys and cash, won the competition. (But hey, we’ve already got SPIbelt, from Austin’s own Kim Overton, for that!)

Under Armour invites a handful of entrepreneurs to participate in its Innovation Challenge, a sort of in-house trade show. Employees vote on their favorite items, and a few are chosen to be presented to company executives. (Think “Shark Tank,” that television show where people pitch their inventions to folks who might fund them.)

Handana was up against some stiff (and athletic) competition. Other finalists were CoachUp, Arccos golf performance tracker and Tangram Smart Rope.

RaesWear won the $50,000 prize, but Under Armour executive vice president of innovation Kevin Haley says the company will do some kind of business with all the finalists.

“Whether you’re talking to a well-funded Silicon Valley startup with $200 million in venture capital money, or that person in their garage, or to Dow Chemical who happens to have a new polymer with potential – they’re all in the same boat in some ways,” Haley says. “They lack the four things we can provide – the brand, the marketing, the distribution and the sourcing.”

 

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