We’re celebrating Indiana University student innovators and entrepreneurs who are clients of the Shoebox, the university’s student-startup incubator. Located in the Shoemaker Innovation Center in Luddy Hall on the Bloomington campus, the Shoebox provides 24/7 office space to help student entrepreneurs build, launch and sustain their businesses.
Meet Prolific Sports Lab
Nicholas Coppola, a senior from Rye, New York, majoring in entrepreneurship and management at the Kelley School of Business, founded Prolific Sports Lab. Its client base is athletes who want high-quality protective gear.
“Prolific Sports Lab uses the highest-quality materials across multiple industries and an athlete-centered approach to keep athletes safe and on the field, playing the game they love,” Coppola said.
The company’s signature product is the NXT Foot Guard, designed to protect the top of the wearer’s feet.
“Athletes in all sports are constantly being stepped on or experiencing some other force to the top of their foot, which puts them at risk for injury,” Coppola said. “The NXT Foot Guard is currently targeted at football players who experience impacts to their feet such as being in pile-ups, but it is applicable to any athlete participating in a cleated sport like lacrosse, rugby, soccer or field hockey.”
Coppola said the product uses exclusive technology and revolutionary design to protect athletes’ feet.
“We have access to exclusive foam, the same material used in many U.S. military helmets,” he said. “The foam is soft, lightweight and flexible but on impact hardens to dissipate energy seven times better than the industry-standard foam. This, coupled with our patent-pending design, ensures that the athlete receives maximum protection with no interference.”
Prolific Sports Lab client testimonial
Preston Greto, an offensive lineman on the Cornell University football team, is one of the early users of the NXT Foot Guard.
“The NXT Foot Guard gives me the peace of mind and protection I need while playing football,” Greto said. “It is not noticeable and looks great on my cleats. I could not be happier with it.”
Prolific Sports Lab’s present and future
Prolific Sports Lab launched the NXT Foot Guard in August 2020 after working on it for more than four years.
“We have generated revenue through both merchandise sales and NXT Foot Guard preorders,” Coppola said. “We have also had the opportunity to send products out to both collegiate and NFL athletes, which we are very proud of as well.”
Coppola said Prolific Sports Lab successfully dedicated 2020 to proving its concept and building brand awareness.
“Our next step is looking into potentially raising capital to fuel our sales strategy for next football season,” he said. “We are also looking to potentially partner with athletes as well to get our brand adopted at the highest level.”
Praise for the Shoebox
“Prolific Sports Lab has greatly benefited from being a client at the Shoebox,” Coppola said. “The Shoebox community has given me the knowledge and guidance to find resources on campus to get my business off the ground. Among the best resources is the IP Clinic in the IU Maurer School of Law, which has helped me with intellectual property and other legal questions.”
Student startups can apply for 24/7 access to the Shoebox’s office space, which is located in the Shoemaker Innovation Center, Luddy Hall 2150. The Shoebox also collaborates with the Hoosier Hatchery pre-incubator at the Kelley School of Business, as well as Bloomington’s Dimension Mill startup accelerator. To apply for coworking space, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.