Tejpar wants his company to be the Nike or Under Armour of the underserved sport of Ultimate
Rumi Tejpar, 29
Founder + CEO, Be Ultimate Apparel
Life Story: A competitive squash player growing up in Vancouver, Rumi Tejpar turned his attention to Ultimate Frisbee when he left the city for McGill University. Tejpar, who would eventually represent Team Canada at the Ultimate world championships, was serving as president of McGill University’s Ultimate team when he went to Singapore in 2012 for a co-op internship with a sourcing company.
“We weren’t that busy, so my boss said, Rumi, if you have an idea, feel free to explore it,” Tejpar recalls. “And I thought, OK, I’m having to buy jerseys for this team. Why don’t I try and source a kit for them?”
That spark of an idea led Tejpar to designing and sourcing jerseys, shorts and other paraphernalia (hats, socks, hoodies) for Ultimate teams around the world. “I realized that there wasn’t really a company out there built for athletes in the Ultimate sphere,” he says. “You go play football, there’s Nike, Under Armour, Adidas; all these companies are athlete-focused. In Ultimate, we’ve never really had that.”
Bottom Line: Be Ultimate Apparel is in 10 countries and sells some 30,000 garments a year. Tejpar estimates that the company, which has 10 staff, owns 7 to 8 percent of the global market for Ultimate Frisbee apparel.
“There’s still so much growth to come in Ultimate,” he says. “Eventually this will be an Olympic sport–in the next 10 years. And if we can play a part in building the legitimacy of the sport and then also be outfitting the teams that go there, that’s an ultimate goal for us... And I did not mean to make that joke.”