Experience with ESU’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Center Helps Pedone ’05 Invent “Quiet Punch,” Boxing Training Device
As boxing enthusiast and trainer Brian Pedone sat in his New York City apartment one day about a year ago, he glanced over at the pull-up bar mounted in a doorway. As he turned to watch television again, his mind kept drifting away from the show he was watching, and instead he conjured up an image in his head. He ran to find a duffle bag and hung it from the pull-up bar and started punching it.
“It was a crude prototype, but I thought, this could work,” said Pedone, a 2005 East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania graduate. “It hit me as something that could be produced and sold.”
After about a year of development, which included going back and forth with the prototyping and manufacturing companies and applying for a patent, that “something” has turned into “Quiet Punch,” a boxing training device that consists of two, lightweight bars and one extremely light punching bag that fits in any standard-sized doorway. Nothing is permanent and absolutely no damage is done to the door frame upon installation. The bars have soft, rubber cushioning on the ends and sit snugly in the door by simply rotating the bars until they fit in place.
Quiet Punch has been designed to cater to people of all different heights. So if you’re 5-foot-1, or 6-foot-1, Quiet Punch will work for you. The entire system weighs fewer than 10 pounds and transports easily if you’re going on vacation or a business trip.
Quiet Punch, which sets up in less than one minute, isn’t on store shelves yet, but it can be pre-ordered at quietpunch.com while Pedone works on a campaign for an infomercial.
“I’ve always done website work,” Pedone said. “[Quiet Punch] is nice because it’s something that shows the work that has been done. I have it physically in hand as opposed to a web service or a subscription. This is almost more rewarding. I have pictures of people with it set up in their houses, and it’s really cool to see that. If I get a foothold in the development side, this could be my springboard to the development of another product.”
Pedone’s desire to create Quiet Punch was borne out of his love of boxing – he began at age 13, later started the ESU boxing club and then trained and ran a boxing club for 10 years – and his hunger to be an entrepreneur, which was nurtured at ESU.
In 2006, Pedone and former classmate Michael Moynihan ’06 M ’08 competed in the Great Valley Technology Alliance Business Plan Competition, a regional competition designed to stimulate innovative thinking to leverage a technology-driven economy while retaining our region’s talent. Pedone and Moynihan took first place, got incubator space free for a year and a $20,000 gift in kind. Just two years later, “Businessweek” named Pedone one of America’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs ages 25 and younger
“That was probably my first introduction to entrepreneurship, and it was a good start for me,” Pedone said of his experience in the business plan competition. “It was a huge push, and I came back to ESU to work for [Vice President for Economic Development and Research Support] Mary Frances Postupack for a while. I was the coordinator for the Entrepreneurial Leadership Center (ELC) in 2011 and was asked to mentor current ESU students in the business plan competition.”
His experience working with Postupack and the ELC helped guide Pedone during the intricate process, which began with — what else – Google.
“I didn’t know the next step so I Googled ‘prototyping companies’ and I talked to the owner and I made a video of a crude prototype,” Pedone recalled. “Four months later, the prototype company made a mock version of Quiet Punch for me to send to the manufacturer. I couldn’t figure out how to do the bars and they set the bars up beautifully. It’s a tension rod with a spring. The spring is covered in rubber so when you’re hitting it, it doesn’t make much noise.”
Pedone then exchanged pictures and videos with the manufacturing company in China. Finally, three months later, Pedone received his first sample.
“It was amazing to see it and to see the logo in the middle of the bag,” Pedone said. “It looked like a real product, not something I thought up.”
Chris Santos, a well-known chef and restaurant owner in New York City who has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s Early Show, The Martha Stewart Show, The Rachael Ray Show, and has been a long-running judge on the Food Network’s most popular series Chopped, is a self-proclaimed boxing guru and Pedone’s partner.
The two met a couple of years ago at a gym where Pedone was Santos’s trainer. Even when Pedone left that gym, the two remained friends and threw around the idea of either opening a gym together or creating a product to replace the punching bags that are $125 and weigh 40-plus pounds.
“He brought it to me and I thought it was an amazing product,” Santos said. “I can’t really take much credit for it; I’ve put my two cents in with wear-and-tear issues, but it’s mostly Brian’s brain child. And I think it’s brilliant. I have, over the years, purchased all kinds of things for the house and they’ve never worked out. They’re not compatible with the home; they’re too heavy for a ceiling to support or too bottom heavy and scrape against floor. And you can’t travel with them.
“Once I had it in my hands and started working with it, I started to see the potential of not only what a great workout it can give you, but how convenient it can be.”
So far, the venture has cost Pedone about $30,000, with approximately $12,000 going to the prototyping company. The patent, which is pending and could take two to four more years, was about $7,000. The rest went to the manufacturer, who has supplied Pedone with 10 samples for potential vendors.
If the infomercial works out, Pedone then hopes to sell Quiet Punch on either the Home Shopping Network or QVC. Being on shelves in stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Modell’s and Wal-Mart will be the last leg of the journey.
“He’s such a nice guy, so smart and passionate about this sport and fitness, and he’s been training fighters for so long,” Santos said. “When it’s finally on the market, I will be incredibly happy for him because I know how much work he’s put into this. For Brian, it’s his life right now. I truly respect his passion for it.”