Research Foundation News

April 20, 2017

Purdue graduate’s startup launches product to help increase children's physical activity

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A startup created by a Purdue graduate has launched a smartphone app and fitness-tracking device aimed at encouraging children to be more physically active.

OWL LLC co-founder and CEO Ryan Ma, a 2015 graduate of Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts, launched the product during the annual 5K Run/Walk for the Kids to benefit the Purdue chapter of Asha for Education on Saturday (April 15). OWL was one of the event sponsors.

“The technology consists of a wearable fitness tracking device that downloads data to the free app,” Ma said. “The app is a game involving a virtual pet owl that can be grown, fed and otherwise improved as the user generates fitness points while wearing the tracker. It’s designed to be attractive to children.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of children with obesity in the U.S. has more than tripled since the 1970s. Today, about one in five school-aged children has obesity.

“There are 70 million children in the U.S., and many do not get the physical activity they need to be healthy and alert," Ma said. “Through the OWL fitness app, we’re hoping that we can assist in changing those alarming statistics.”

The company’s technology earned a third-place award and $1,500 at the 2016 Boiler Business Competition, an event held by the Anvil, a student-run startup co-space center adjacent to the Purdue campus.

Ma is receiving assistance from the Purdue Foundry, a startup hub in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

Information about the fitness-tracking devices can be found on the company’s website , and the accompanying free app is available on the iOS app store.

About Purdue Foundry

The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. Managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, the Purdue Foundry was named a top recipient at the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Designation and Awards Program by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at

About the Anvil

The Anvil is the largest co-working space operated by university students in the U.S. and is used by Purdue University students as well as the surrounding community. The Anvil is located at 320 North St. in West Lafayette, Indiana, adjacent to the Purdue campus.

Writer: Curt Slyder, 765-588-3342,

Source: Ryan Ma, 

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