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An eLab Spotlight on Bolt

This month we would like to introduce the Bolt team- a duo that “is leveraging cutting edge technologies” to help ice hockey players become better skaters. Dan Wedman (‘18) initially came up with the idea for the Bolt company during his time at Cornell on the varsity men’s ice hockey team. He “was always one of the faster runners on the ice hockey team but one of the slower skaters” and knew something “was biomechanically inefficient in the way [he] skated.” His passion for learning what elite skaters did differently and how to translate this into a product, came to fruition a few years after his graduation. Once he formed a more solidified idea in his mind, Dan contacted Kyle Betts (‘21). Kyle is a current senior on the varsity men’s ice hockey team at Cornell studying electrical and computer engineering. Kyle was the perfect fit to start the company with Dan as “he had the skill set needed to build Bolt.” Once on the team, he immediately recognized the vision of the company and brought to it the enthusiasm and drive needed to build a startup company.

The pair started their company around a year ago, exactly the time that the COVID-19 pandemic hit. However, the pandemic gave both men more free time during their day. This allowed them to be able to work on this project by coming up with more ideas and spending time fleshing out their product. Although the virus did free up their schedules, it also brought about challenges in trying to test out their product on actual people. Dan remembers one time he had arranged a time to meet with NHL players who were excited to try out their technologies. He drove all the way down to a rink in New Jersey from his home in New York City only to find out that the rink had closed due to a Covid outbreak that started the day before. Despite these challenges, the Bolt team has continued “to build their company together, brick by brick.”

Moreover, the pair has utilized the opportunities granted by the eLab incubator. ELab has provided Dan and Kyle with the platform to learn about all aspects of building a company and granted them a plethora of diverse ideas and opinions about entrepreneurship in general. Additionally, the mentorship program within eLab has been instrumental in deciding the direction and success of their company. Dan commented that the eLab mentorship has given them “insights and advice that has probably saved us months or years of future issues”. These advisors within eLab have also given the company a reliable community of Cornellian entrepreneurs— a supportive network that wants to see each startup succeed.

Right now, Bolt’s immediate goal is to have their initial product ready for testing by this summer. Their current product is a technology that utilizes Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) and video motion capture to optimize a skater's form and speed. Since they do not have a finalized product yet, doing this will allow them to get feedback and have a finished product ready by next year. For ice hockey players, the summer months are key for fine-tuning their skills, making this goal a perfectly timed endeavor. Down the road, Bolt wants to be working with hockey players of all different levels to help people become the best skaters they can be. By “leveraging cutting-edge technology, including motion capture and machine learning, to identify deficiencies in skating biomechanics,” the Bolt company is positioned to grow into a successful company that helps as many skaters as they possibly can.

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