REMEMBER JEFF NYQUIST? He’s the guy who opened NeuroTrainer, the “world’s first brain gym” on West Washington Street, about five years ago.
Super high tech stuff. Designed to help an athlete, or an older person, or anybody really, improve the brain’s performance.
Nyquist struggled for a few years here trying to gain traction for his brain gym, but just couldn’t do it. Not enough money or investors here. Not enough potential clients. Not enough of a high-tech mentality to make a go of it.
So a year and a half ago, he pulled up stakes and headed out West to the high tech heartland–Silicon Valley, San Francisco. He was pursuing his dream with the realistic understanding that he might fall flat on his face. These were the big boys he’d be playing with, the big money, the big brains..
So how’s he doing a year and a half later? Is he a dismal failure, living on the streets, panhandling, and eating in soup kitchens? Nope.
Is he The Next Great Thing in the world of technology, sitting atop a pile of cash? No, again.
What he is, however, is the founder and chief science officer of NeuroTrainer, a small business based in San Francisco. His office is in the Presidio, one of the most beautiful areas in the city, near the Golden Gate Bridge.
He has well-funded partners in the start-up, along with 15 employees.
“After a few years of dead ends,” Nyquist says, “I can now honestly say we’re getting traction. I’m a skeptical scientist by nature but I’m no longer worried we’re not going to make it.”
He reports that they’ve signed up a dozen professional teams in Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL as clients. Paying clients.
The idea is to design software–games really–that helps athletes improve their performance–through greater awareness, anticipation, peripheral vision and such.
He says the athletes actually like the software games and have become highly competitive with each other.
The technology is still being refined, they’ve still got a ways to go, he says, and taking NeuroTrainer public, if it ever happens, is still years away.
But Nyquist is upbeat. He and his wife, April, live in Mill Valley, a charming little town just across the Bay from where he works. She works in a flower shop. These former Yoopers are loving their West Coast lives, he says.
And the dream is still alive.