The winners of FIT‘s second annual Pete Prize for Entrepreneurs are FIT grads Habin Lee, Technical Design ’23, and Mary Addison Davis, Fashion Design ’23. Their business is called Ranea: Courage to Move, which manufactures and sells athleticwear that facilitates proper muscle movements and reduces stress for chronic injuries for men and women.
Chosen from among 96 applications, Lee and Davis will receive $30,000, along with office space for one year and marketing, legal, financial, creative and operational guidance on how to build and launch an innovative company. They received their award at a breakfast at Spring Place in New York on Thursday.
“What’s really important for Ranea is to promote and to remember the joy of having an active lifestyle without getting injured,” said Lee.
By incorporating compression garment technology in its designs, Ranea aims to stabilize major core muscle areas to prevent injuries. “I started developing the idea when I was suffering from sciatica earlier this year,” said Lee. “I was hoping that there were garments that could give me enough stabilization to move, yet would not limit my movements like braces. [Kinesiology tape] was a good temporary solution, but it was too irritating to my skin and very disposable. Ranea started out of my desperation for comfort and function.”
Lee and David plan to use the $30,000 to build a strong foundation for the company, starting with solid garment prototypes.
The Pete Prize is inspired by Peter G. Scotese, chairman emeritus of the FIT board of trustees and an entrepreneur. Seed funding was provided by Edwin Goodman, former chair of the FIT board of trustees, and a partner of Activate Venture Partners, and was matched by Laurence C. Leeds Jr., of L Leeds Holding LLC and a member of the FIT Foundation, along with Jay Baker, former president of Kohl’s Department Stores, former FIT trustee and former chair of the FIT Foundation.
The Pete Prize is administered by the FIT DTech Lab as a jury-picked merit award competition, which recognizes excellence in the development of ideas that are envisioned through execution-focused business plans that demonstrate innovative, design-oriented thinking.