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U of A program helps outdoor recreation programs

The University of Arkansas' Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program announced its third cohort of startups. It's picked 6 companies to help them scale globally.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Arkansas' Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP) announced its third cohort of startups.

The program announced it'll be helping 6 companies for their latest cohort. Five of the companies focus on cycling while one is geared toward mountain climbing. 

According to the press release, GORP will support these startups with workshop training, team mentoring and dedicated product/service development to help them scale globally.

Eliot Jackson is the founder of the website Reggy. Jackson explained his background in racing downhill mountain bikes, and with traveling, said he faced the issue of integrating into the cycling community at new locations.

"Think of it like an Airbnb page," said Jackson. "Reggy is this platform that enables cyclists to find anything they want to do on the bike. So that could be races, coaching and riding stuff like that."

Marley Blonksy is another entrepreneur in the program's third cohort. She looked at expanding her already existing non-profit, All Bodies on Bikes, in order to bring inclusivity to cycling.

"We are a community organization, we lead rides we do consulting, to make the industry more inclusive. And then the number one request we're getting from our community was clothing. So I said, Okay, let's make a clothing line that fits all of us," explained Blonsky. "If you're any bigger than me, which I'm the average size of a woman in the US and size 18. That's my size. You can't find it in most places."

 Its 12-week program also provides up to $15,000 in "non-dilutive seed funding" per company. The funding means owners won't be required to give up equity in the company.  

"Most of us that are in the cohort, don't know the first thing about starting your own business or being a small business owner. So they're really taken us from ground zero up to hopefully production and launch," said Blonsky.

"It's really kind of giving you the tools that you would need to develop a business, especially like in the early stage," said Jackson. "A lot of times an accelerator would be like, Okay, you we're going to take some equity in your company, which then puts you on the path of like venture capital and raising more money."

In a press release, the University of Arkansas listed the following companies for Gorp's Spring 2023 Cohort: 

  • All Bodies on Bikes Clothing Co. - Bentonville 

All Bodies on Bikes is a size-inclusive cycling brand that believes all bodies should get to enjoy the thrill of cycling with clothing that fits well and looks good. Co-founded by Marley Blonsky, All Bodies on Bikes Clothing Co. seeks to make cycling clothing available in sizes XL to 6X. 

  • Best Ride of Your Life (B-Royl) - Bentonville

B-Royl is designing high-performance cycling apparel that prevents skin irritation and discomfort while enhancing performance. Co-founded by Ironman triathlete Tracy Byrd and Andrew Jacuzzi, B-Royl's product will allow cyclists to comfortably ride longer. 

  • Cloud Pad - Bentonville 

Composed of passionate rock climbers, Cloud Pad is building innovative products that make outdoor bouldering safer, easier and more affordable. Co-founded by Alex Huesing and Pedro Somarriba, Cloud Pad is eliminating barriers to entry in this sport and pushing bouldering to new heights. 

Greenway Bike Company is helping people live their best lives by electrifying every unused bike in America. Founded by Brent Robinson, GBC converts run-of-the-mill analog bikes into electric assist bikes using an electric "mid-drive" motor. 

  • Reggy - Multiple locations 

Reggy brings world-class tools to coaches and event organizers that help them connect with cyclists. Founded by Eliot Jackson, Reggy makes creating experiences lightning fast and eliminates the need for multiple scheduling, payment, email and website solutions so they can focus on doing what they love. 

  • UNCL Co. LLC - Bentonville 

UNCL Co., short for Universal Network Controlled Lock, is an app-enabled security device that retrofits to public bike racks allowing riders to secure and monitor their bike while frequenting local establishments without the need to carry a personal bike lock. UNCL Co. emerged from the New Venture Development course in the Sam M. Walton College of Business and is co-founded by Master of Business Administration students Michael Burton, Clayton Woodruff, Payton Lenz and Chris Roderick. 

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