Photo courtesy K-MOTION

Business Buzz

Written by Leah LeMoine Category: Valley News Issue: January 2018
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Forward Motion

Scottsdale’s K-MOTION is poised to bring high-tech instruction to the world’s fairways.

When you think of golfing and vests, your mind’s eye is more likely to conjure visions of argyle than visions of motion sensors. Brian Vermilyea aims to change that with his company K-MOTION and its signature K-VEST, a wireless, wearable technology that “measures your body’s ability to create energy from the ground and ultimately deliver it to the golf club and golf ball.”

Vermilyea got into golf technology after he graduated from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business in 2003, mainly to support his brother, a Scottsdale Community College golfer who was then trying to break onto the pro circuit. The Vermilyeas took up with a Vermont golf instructor who was trying to take the teaching tool du jour – video analysis – up a technological notch. 

“We started bringing in all sorts of technology: 3-D motion-capture systems, systems like insoles that you put in your shoes that measure how much pressure you’re putting into the ground,” Vermilyea, now chief operating officer, says. “We had early versions of what we call launch monitors that actually measure what the ball is doing and predicts how far it will go.”

After developing K-VEST – an actual vest that measures those things and provides biofeedback so golfers can improve their swings – and incorporating in 2005, Vermilyea and three partners bought out the venture capital firm funding the company and relocated from New Hampshire to Scottsdale in 2009. 

“Obviously, Arizona being the golf mecca that it is, it was kind of a natural fit for us,” Vermilyea says.

The company has grown to 17 employees, and the K-VEST ($4,795, k-vest.com) is used by golf courses and instructors in the Valley and is accredited by the PGA. It spawned a take-home unit, the K-PLAYER ($2,495) “a subset of everything the professional product does,” Vermilyea says.

And Vermilyea’s own swing?

“I was not a golfer before, but now I use the technology all the time,” he says. “I’ve really learned how to swing a golf club.”

 

APP CORNER

Photo courtesy goodtil22 Legit 2 Quit
Phoenix foodies Mark and Kasia Blum were at a loss for finding great deals at local restaurants – especially ones that kept more generous hours than the early bird special joints so prevalent in the Valley. They took matters into their own hands and developed GoodTil2, an app that aggregates coupons from locally owned restaurants that are good until closing time on the day of the download. (The app’s moniker is a nod to the fact that many bars close at 2 a.m.) Download the app for free on Apple or Android devices. goodtil2.com

 

Owning It
At press time, there was a kerfuffle over AT&T’s proposed $85 billion purchase of Time Warner Inc. There’s a lot less money thrown around in local media, but following the ownership trails is still intriguing.

DRAFT magazine
Founded in 2006, the Phoenix-based beer magazine was acquired by Durham, North Carolina’s All About Beer LLC, publisher of All About Beer Magazine, in August 2017. Shall we pour a Magazine Merger IPA to celebrate?  

Channel 3 & Channel 5
Media megalith Meredith Corporation, which bought TIME in November 2017, also owns Phoenix channels 3 (KTVK) and 5 (KPHO-TV) in a cozy little duopoly. Arizona’s Family keeps expanding.

KPXQ
Salem Media, publisher of right-wing political website townhall.com, owns local conservative Christian talk radio station KPXQ of Faith Talk fame. Insert your own witch hunt joke here.

Cities West Media
After the 2016 passing of Cities West patriarch Bill Phalen, co-owner Leslie Rudd added PHOENIX and Phoenix Home & Garden to his LRIco portfolio. Also in the portfolio: Rudd Winery & Vineyard. We’re fans.