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How Impact Wrap made it to Fallon’s SXSW event, against all odds

Dan Fradin and the Impact Wrap team were thrilled when they were selected to show their punching bag device at an event hosted by one of the world's top ad firms. But a series of obstacles arose with only weeks left. Would they make it?

Impact Wrap fought to make it to Austin. (Photo by Flickr user Kristin Wall, used under a Creative Commons license)
Oh, man. What a crazy last few months.

We had an amazing opportunity after Fallon selected us to participate in its SXSW event to determine the next crowdfunding project for its Starterkit program. Fallon is one of the most reputable ad agencies out there, having developed Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign, among many others.
The Starterkit Program helps startups produce and execute crowdfunding projects on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Basically, you get help from some of the top minds in the industry for telling your story both visually and through a well thought-out narrative.
The only problem is that we kept facing hardware delays for the one and only prototype of our product, Impact Wrap, a device that makes your punching bag smart.

  • Almost every week a significant delay struck. UGH!
  • There were out-of-stock parts, back-ordered boards and integrated chips that melted. D’OH!
  • Even my engineer broke his tooth and got an infection that almost went to his brain. WTF!

He’s OK now but, I had some serious karmic self-reflection to see if I had done something to the universe to be hit so low.

Dan Fradin

Dan Fradin at the boxing gym. (Courtesy photo)

We were on a very tight schedule to hit the March 15 event in Austin, after having lost almost 3.5 weeks.
On the week leading up to the event, after three months of trying to pull together a functional demo of Impact Wrap, I was literally waiting to the final moment before heading down south.
I met the engineer at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 13. And yes, the date hung over my head like an ill-fitted hat. Marcus, my partner, was poised to jump on a 10:25 a.m. flight from Florida to Newark, N.J.
I watched in amazement as Impact Wrap finally worked, for real. As usual for my wussy self, I got emotional seeing this (quite unpolished) prototype actually work and show the count of impacts made on the bag, plus the force of the punches.
It friggin’ worked! So awesome!
I scrambled to get Marcus on the phone to give him the green light, and off he went. He had been waiting at the gate for confirmation.
I met him three hours later in Newark. Carrying a 90-pound punching bag and hanging frame, we headed to the city that wants to be weird. I decided that driving was the only way to get down there by March 14 at 5:45 p.m., when we had our prep meeting.
We drove through the night and went 30 straight hours, switching often and only stopping for gas, food and shitloads of coffee. By the end we were peeing like 80-year-old men with bladder problems every 20 minutes. But we made it! We made it.

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