Sterling Petersen has such a passion for mountain biking, he decided to make it his day job. Since graduating from the BYU Marriott School of Business’s entrepreneurship program in 2017, he’s helped create multiple startups aimed at giving avid mountain bikers a better experience. Despite many setbacks, Petersen not only helps bikers avoid flat tires but he also builds a collaborative work environment within the company he aided in making.
Originally an engineering major, Petersen frequently complained about his science classes but loved his finance classes. One day his wife suggested he switch majors to pursue a career he genuinely enjoyed. This push was just what he needed. That same day, Petersen decided to change course and pursue a degree at BYU Marriott.
“I thought that entrepreneurship was a perfect fit because I was already involved in creating my own startup, and the skills that I would learn in the program would help me with my side hustle,” he says. “I knew from my first class at BYU Marriott that it was the right choice.”
Petersen started participating in the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology and soon realized he needed to develop business insights to be successful. “My dad is a forestry professor, so all I knew growing up was plants,” he says. “I didn’t know anything about business, and I was terrible at it, but it was exciting and fun.”
A few of Petersen’s business ideas didn’t take off. “I had done two or three small startups before the one I am currently working on, and they were all flops,” Petersen admits.
In the midst of these setbacks, Petersen focused his energy on creating Tannus, a company that makes tire protection products. This time, Petersen found success as he partnered with others who had more experience with startups. “I started working with people who knew what they were doing. The results were fantastic,” Petesen says. “I credit my partners as to why our current business ventures are successful.”
Tannus is most known for Tannus Armour, an insert used to prevent flat tires on all varieties of pedal bikes. “Armour is about 85% of our sales, and it really blew up during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Petersen says. “During lockdown, people started biking, leading to more and more flat tires, and Armour took away that problem.”
The success of Tannus led Petersen and his team to start Boundry, a company known for their racks that secure bikes and motorcycles to a vehicle during off-road driving. And he’s using what he learned from BYU Marriott’s entrepreneurship program and from his own professional experience to make Boundry even more profitable.
“Branding is something that took us forever to figure out with Tannus,” Petersen recalls. “With Boundry, we are more strategic about branding.”
Recognizing that his team has created a successful company, Petersen strives to create and maintain a healthy work environment. “One of the best things about being a partial business owner is working with people who I really enjoy being around,” he says. “I grew the most when I realized I wasn’t the smartest person in the room but the smartest people are in the room.”
He adds, “Being able to work in a field I like is revolutionary because I don’t ever feel burned out. There are days where it’s really hard for me, but I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without that hardship, which makes those hard days so much better.”
Written by Maggie Olsen