A Slice on Josh Hsu, Co-Founder and CEO of Introhm
A rower on ASU’s collegiate team, Josh Hsu spent years (compounded by countless hours) in the gym weightlifting and bodybuilding until he suffered a serious injury. This injury would eventually lead him to change the entire trajectory of his biomechanic career path and turn him into an entrepreneur. Hsu founded Introhm in March of 2018, it serves as a wearable device, capable of full-body motion capture geared towards trainers, and their clients. It provides insights on the type of exercise, sets, reps, tempo and form. It’s currently in its seed-stage and looking to raise capital prior to its series A.
It all started on leg day, when Hsu was doing a workout on a squat rack. He felt a tweak in his back but didn’t think too much of it at the time. However, after the pain increased exponentially, he found out that tweak he felt was actually a disc herniation in his L5-S1 lumbosacral joint. He sought help from three different physical therapists for about a year, but all the while couldn’t stop thinking about the “how.” How had this happened to him? What went wrong within his body? How could he prevent this from happening to others? Led down a research rabbit hole, fueled by his biomechanic background, he searched to find out what had gone wrong with the biomechanics of his body. He eventually learned there were likely a few culprits for his injury, most of which would have been preventable with proper knowledge and better information on things like form adjustments, foundational stability and posture.
Being reduced down and chained by your physical health can be very frustrating for people. Not being able to engage in activities like a run, long hike, or (for the older population) not being able to throw the football around with your grandchild can cause people to slowly lose confidence in themselves, Hsu explained. He believes that a large majority of these frustrating injuries people endure are solvable, but only with the right resources.
Armed with the help of his co-founder a certified strength coach, former football player and bodybuilder, they set out on their mission to help others prevent injuries. Hsu noted it’s an ideal set-up as they are both their own customers, while also having the knowledge to build the solution.
Having a solution, or a big idea, however, isn’t enough for a company to accelerate. There are other pieces to the overall puzzle needed, one of which being funds. Hsu takes a different approach to fundraising than perhaps the typical entrepreneur. He enjoys talking to investors because he knows at the end of the day, it’s not personal. Investors may not be looking to invest in your particular industry, but even so, they can still offer valuable insights regarding the product. Hsu feels that based on conversations with investors he’s now able to better identify the most appropriate investors for Introhm.
As a first-time founder, Hsu has learned quite a bit along his journey with Introhm, the main thing? He’s learned about himself. Hsu reflected on how he’s developed as an individual since his start with Introhm saying that in the beginning, he was still unsure “what was going on” within a typical startup ecosystem. Now, he feels he’s gained a level of tenacity that cannot be learned within a classroom. “It’s amazing how taking on that immense level of responsibility, and all that pressure… how much it grows a person. I was very surprised by how sure of myself I became through the process, having the courage to say ‘no I don’t know that, teach me.’ I started to worry less about the superficial things… it became more of ‘help me, or get out of my way.’”
Hsu relates to those who may also just be starting out on their entrepreneurial journey and recommends that they try to learn from their investors. He feels that understanding what’s on the other side of the table, i.e what investors are actually looking for, gives founders a unique perspective. By putting yourself in their shoes, and understanding what makes them different from one another you can better position your product and pitch. Hsu treats his investors as his customers, “selling” first to them.
Josh Hsu has a degree in biomechanics from Arizona State University, where he competed on the rowing team. Prior to founding Introhm, Hsu held various positions from marketing to product management. Connect with Hsu on LinkedIn.