TCU Student Pumps Up College Workouts
Young entrepreneur Brent Skoda is making a business out of keeping fit.
The college years aren’t always kind to the waistline. But Brent Skoda’s done all right.
The senior at Texas Christian University has stayed trim and, recently, has turned his years playing on an elite youth baseball team—surrounded by professional trainers and nutritionists—into an innovative method of fighting the “Freshman 15.”
“Kids [at TCU] would come up to me and say, ‘Hey, Brent, would you mind taking me to the gym for a week or two, just to show me how to put a routine together?’ ” Skoda says. “Or, ‘I know you’re eating at the same restaurants that I’m eating at. Why am I gaining weight and you’re not?’
“But I didn’t go to school to train all these kids. I came here to focus on business.”
It didn’t take Skoda long to realize that a business was staring him in the face. So in 2007 he founded CollegeFitness.com, an online social network designed to help students stay in shape that’s part Facebook and part drill sergeant.
Skoda spent the next two years crisscrossing the country, meeting with investors to raise $3 million to cover start-up costs.
“This young man is a born entrepreneur,” says David Minor, director of TCU’s Neeley Entrepreneurship Program.
Minor is working closely with Skoda to refine College Fitness’ business plan.
“He is always thinking, always trying to figure out the next best thing and find an opportunity to make some money,” Minor says. “He’s just wired a little bit differently than most people.”
For his concept, Skoda was named a Global Student Entrepreneur Award finalist for 2009.
But it wasn’t until this year that College Fitness made a dime.
The company inked its first deal in January, providing a customized web site for the University of Oklahoma (CrimsonFitness.com). Skoda is in talks with half a dozen other universities about similar deals.
This year, College Fitness could pull in about $200,000. Within 24 months, Skoda hopes to have 60 to 80 schools on board and $3 million in revenue.
By then, he will have graduated and will apply himself full-time to College Fitness.
At that point, Minor says, watch out. “This is a name that Dallas-Fort Worth is going to see around for a long time,” he says.