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Scaling Olympus

Scott Tsangeos leans on his MMM lessons and the opportunities the program provides to build his strength-training app into a powerhouse in the fitness community.

Editor's Note: Scott Tsangeos, founder and CEO at Olympus, took home third place and $25,000 in the VentureCat 2024 Public Showcase.

In a digital world flush with fitness apps that enable enthusiasts to map their runs or track their rides, Scott Tsangeos (MMM ‘24) sees a void – strength training. 

Tsangeos launched Olympus, a tracking app that empowers users to find community, motivation, and accountability in strength-based workouts. To turn his dream into reality, he is leaning on the support available to him through Northwestern's MBA + MS Design Innovation (MMM) program — a dual-degree program between Northwestern Engineering and the Kellogg School of Management. 

Scott Tsangeos“When you tell someone that you are starting a business in the real world, you'll get a lot of skepticism. People are quick to poke holes,” he said. “With people who are in MMM, the response is, ‘That's awesome. How can I help?’” 

That help has assisted Tsangeos as he works through his second year leading Olympus. The app’s goal is to provide a place for those interested in starting or continuing strength training through weightlifting to build customizable workout plans, track their progress, and find a community to share their successes. 

Tsangeos founded Olympus in 2022, but the idea for the app started brewing a decade ago while he was an undergraduate student.

“Back in my college days, my buddies and I had a shared Google Drive with an Excel spreadsheet where we would track our progress and hold each other accountable,” he said. “We thought it would be so cool to have a platform that we could share this on and follow along.” 

When his undergraduate days ended, he started a job as a product design consultant with Kearney, a global management consulting firm. His college friends moved to different parts of the country. Tsangeos missed the camaraderie of the gym and the accountability from his friends, so he started thinking more seriously about creating a platform for both. 

The only obstacle was that he didn’t have all the skills needed to be successful. For that, he turned to the MMM program. 

“I didn’t have the toolkit, personally, or maybe the risk appetite or confidence to do it,” he said. “I thought the MMM program specifically was the place to strengthen some of those more design-thinking skills.” 

Tsangeos started the MMM program in June 2022 and launched Olympus four months later. Since then, he has worked to build the app, his team, and the reputation of the platform. To do all three, he leaned on his lessons from the MMM program, most notably its emphasis on human-centered design. 

That principle holds that the best way to create truly useful products and services is to start with the end users and identify their pain points before starting the design process. Tsangeos said he found this approach vital to Olympus’s early success.

Last summer, Tsangeos worked on his company full-time through The Garage, an innovation and entrepreneurship space for students at Northwestern. He also was named to the Zell Fellows Program, an opportunity for select students interested in starting a new venture or acquiring an existing one. The program gives students mentorship, resources, community, and applied experiences to help them further their entrepreneurial idea.  

Olympus is available on the Apple App Store.

Tsangeos plans to continue building Olympus during the rest of his time in MMM and push for it to become the go-to strength-training app. Through The Garage, he found interested students to join his team, which has now grown to 10 people. 

“I'm excited to work with this team, push on social media, as well as some other campaigns and partnerships and collaborations,” he said. “The next big unlock for us is how we can, in a more scalable way, get people to adopt, love, and advocate for Olympus.”

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