Published: Nov. 6, 2023 By

Ryan BurbaryRyan Burbary (Acct, Fin’22) is owner of Velociti Tennis, a Boulder-based company committed to limiting single-use plastics and incorporating biodegradable technologies for products. In 2022, Burbary created the world’s first fully biodegradable synthetic tennis string, which he hopes will reduce the thousands of pounds of tennis string that end up in landfills each year. 

Why did you choose to work in the tennis industry?

My dad owns tennis retail stores, so I grew up around tennis my whole life. I’ve seen the waste that happens. Whether it’s cutting out strings, putting a new grip on a racket or throwing tennis balls away, I knew there had to be a better way. Biodegradability seemed to be the best way to do it. People realistically won’t completely change their buying habits for sustainability. But if it’s an added benefit to the products they already enjoy, there is a better chance of making
a difference. 

What was the process of making the string like? 

Growing up, I accumulated knowledge on the materials used to create tennis products. During this time, I found an additive in other manufacturing industries that makes their products biodegradable. I made the connection that this additive could be used in the tennis industry. Once our factory implemented the additive to our tennis string, I immediately sent it for testing with the United States Racquet Stringers Association to do a full play test. None of the testers knew it was biodegradable, and it scored highly on performance. 

How would you like to influence the future of sports equipment? 

The biodegradable technology we utilize in our products can easily be implemented in industries beyond tennis. One local string brand may make a small impact in terms of sustainability, but if I get a national sports retailer to implement this technology, it would make a huge difference. Most tennis strings sit in the landfill for hundreds of years, but the string I created would biodegrade in just three to five years.  

What are your future goals? 

First, I’d like to expand our current line to create more sustainable products. Second, I’ve always wanted to do my own thing as an entrepreneur. I am currently working a finance job that I enjoy, but I would one day love to make Velociti my full-time job. 

What advice do you have for recent graduates looking to be entrepreneurs? 

The hardest thing for me is having patience. It’s easy to want and expect the things you want to get done quickly, but you have to remind yourself that things take time. And find some good mentors you can bounce ideas off of. I have a great one, CD Bodam (PE’69), a family friend in the tennis industry. Having him as a mentor has made a huge impact on my time in this industry.