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How One Entrepreneur Survived Five Years of Errors Only now is this company poised to make money.

By Clint Carter

This story appears in the November 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Bobby Fisher
Cyrus Schenck atop Stowe Mountain Resort.

In 2011, my five pals and I were driving home from one of our weekend ski trips in Vermont. We were engineering students at the time and used to throw out all kinds of ideas during those three-hour drives. On this one day, my friend Donny suggested building skis that were based on engineering principles and thus unequivocally better. We loved the challenge. Surely we could build a better ski.

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During my material sciences class, I learned about a rare class of soft materials that harden the instant you apply force, which meant we could produce a ski that was soft in powder but stiff in icy conditions. We made a sample and ran some tests, and the numbers were astonishing: Because of the variability of their dampness (a ski's ability to adapt to conditions), our skis were 300 percent better than anything on the market. The other guys stayed in school, but I quit and took the lead on product development. I also had a side business washing residential windows, and every dime I earned went toward building Renoun. One of my clients had some business experience and was curious about my friends -- what do they do, exactly? I explained that they'd launched the brand with me. "But what do they do now?" he asked.

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