No pain, no gain

Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places, even in the middle of a Chicago street.

Photo by Steve Jennings

“I got hit by a bus,” says Doug Hoang, ME’10. His arms, shoulders and elbows sustained injuries in the 2012 accident. “I went through physical therapy, and I knew it could use a lot of innovation.”

Inspiration led to innovation, and the idea for Enflux — a line of athletic wear with sensors to track and record a user’s movements — was hatched.

Hoang was developing engines for Power Solutions International at the time of the accident, but he left in December 2014, cashed out his stock options and plunged full time into getting Enflux up and running. Investment also came from Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley business accelerator known for investing and jumpstarting billion-dollar startups like AirBnB and Dropbox.

In mid-March 2017 Hoang returned from a month-long, jetlag-inducing trip to China to secure development and distribution chains. Partnerships in China, Cambodia and South Korea produce the clothing, and he says Enflux has $14 million in purchase orders.

“What sets us apart is we’re much more cost-effective than all other competitors,” Hoang says.

It isn’t just athletes who use Enflux clothing to improve their workouts. The clothes also have applications in physical therapy, film animation, gaming and virtual reality products.

Matt Brown, ME’09, leads a team that develops the software for those applications. “Overall, I keep my thumb on the pulse of where the business is going and try to figure out what code is needed to support that,” he says.

Brown was visiting former roommate Elijah Schuldt, AE’10, EE’10 and Enflux’s chief technology officer, when Hoang recruited him to write algorithms for the company. Hoang and Brown were lab partners at S&T in Mechanics of Materials, and although Brown had a good job with an oil and gas company, he left to join Enflux. “Being in a startup seemed like a worthwhile challenge,” he says.

Apple, Microsoft and Ford Motor Co. were all startups at one point. They didn’t stay that way, and that’s the way Hoang wants San Francisco-based Enflux to be.

“We want to keep growing and be a huge company,” he says.

Around the Puck

By the numbers: Fall/Winter 2018

8,607 Students enrolled for the fall semester at Missouri S&T. Classes started Aug. 20. 91 Percentage of first-year freshmen who receive scholarships and financial aid.

[Read More...]

Making tornado alley safer

Growing up in northeast China, Guirong “Grace” Yan didn’t see many tornados in a country where the number of documented twisters is a fraction of those that hit the United States. But as her academic career took Yan to several postdoctoral fellowships and then faculty positions in Indiana, Missouri and Texas, the assistant professor of […]

[Read More...]

Living laboratory houses lead battery research

This past November, Missouri S&T installed two new advanced lead battery microgrid systems at the EcoVillage, a “living laboratory” that is home to S&T’s solar-powered homes.

[Read More...]

Partners for progress

An expansion of the partnership between Missouri S&T and Missouri State University will allow students to pursue a mechanical engineering degree on the Missouri State campus with courses taught by faculty from both institutions. Students began applying this fall. The program will begin in fall 2019.

[Read More...]

Chancellor search is underway

This past August, University of Missouri President Mun Choi announced the formation of a 23-member committee to lead a nationwide search for a chancellor at Missouri S&T.

[Read More...]