My Entrepreneurship Journey in the NYU Stern Accelerator Program

Celer (pronounced "Sell-Air") means quick and swift in Latin and is the first athletic company to utilize active resistance to realign and retrain joint movement during sport. Better movement patterns lead to a lower risk of overuse injury and improved performance, and our first product, the Celer Running Straps, help to retrain the body to run with better form. I started the innovation journey to create Celer Running Straps in 2016 after experiencing running injuries from years of overuse and feeling burnt out by solutions and methodologies that only resulted in temporary relief. Everything on the market only provided a band-aid solution for an existing overuse injury. There wasn’t anything that actually helped me improve the root cause of my issues, which stemmed from my poor running biomechanics.

The NYU Stern, Berkley Center's SVF accelerator program is designed to help launch a business into its next growth stage over the next ten weeks of the summer. My experience as an entrepreneur in the NYU Stern accelerator program has been extremely rewarding yet also highly challenging. Every day I am forced to step out of my comfort zone. Though our Instagram (@MoveCeler) may tell a different story, my comfort zone is working behind the scenes. I like thinking of new ideas, researching, and understanding insights. As the founder of an athletic start-up, I realized that growing a business is all about making personal connections. SVF has given me the confidence to put me out in the New York City running community, pop up at races, and cold call runners and doctors alike. This confidence has helped me learn so much about the running community and Celer’s market fit within it, in addition to learning about myself.

The biggest takeaway in my entrepreneurial journey: No matter how great a product is, it will NOT sell itself! Apart from the development of a sound product that fits a true market need, launching a business requires a lot of marketing, both in person and on social media. As a product developer with a strict engineering and analytical background, I had no experience (nor interest) in marketing and design. When I was advised at the beginning of this program to delegate nearly all of my operational responsibilities to my co-founder so that I, as the creator of the Celer Running Strap, could focus on marketing events and social media as a creator, I nearly had a panic attack. I transitioned from being an expert who knew her exact next move to a rookie who had no idea what to do. I definitely felt (and still do!) a bit of imposter syndrome, and now believe most entrepreneurs can relate. Regardless, I threw myself into these new challenges in an effort to push through new boundaries and grow my brand. Now I find myself spending early mornings and late nights learning graphic design, video editing, and website design, as well as the ins and outs of social media platforms.

Fast forward two months, and both Celer and my personal life have incredibly evolved. Not only has my presence and my brand grown, but I’ve also learned that I really enjoy the marketing and creative side of the business. I even switched my MBA focus from operations/strategy to marketing as a result of this experience. Throughout the course of this accelerator program, I came to the revelation that I am actually pursuing (and achieving) dreams I’ve had since I was 8 years old when I ran my first 5k race. I dreamed of changing the athletic industry with a product(s) that helped people move better. SVF is the family and community support system that I never knew I needed, and this program has enabled me the confidence, backing, and support to turn a product I developed for my own personal problems into a business that is able to help people live a healthier lifestyle every day. I am thrilled to continue my entrepreneurial journey with Celer, and I encourage each of you to check us out if you, too, wish to elevate your run and receive all the good that comes with better movement.

Best,

Sarah