In this episode of the SLN Podcast, John Peters speaks with Jeffrey Morin, CEO and Co-founder of Liteboxer, and Todd Dagres, Chairman and Co-founder of Liteboxer. Todd is also the Founder of Spark Capital, one of the leading venture capital firms, having successful exits in both Mirror and Runkeeper as well as many other technology unicorns.
Jeff spoke about the transition from building bomb squad robots to the early day iterations, and merging hardware and software when he co-founded Liteboxer. He also touched on how music and rhythm technology sets them apart from the fitness market. Todd explained how they landed on boxing as the fitness, modality of choice. He spoke about raising strategic capital, having just closed this round, and he also explained why he loves the fitness space so much as an investor.
4:30 – How Liteboxer was started: Jeff says, “Liteboxer was born in a way that was very organic and just out of necessity.”
6:20 – Initial design of the Liteboxer: Todd says, “It was basically going to be a punching bag that had targets on it that were synchronized to music. And you were going to punch based on the beat and tempo of the music, kind of like a Dance Dance Revolution applied to a punching bag.”
7:20 – Liteboxer is not your ordinary punching bag: Todd says, “It’s not just you working out on a punching bag, it’s having the trainer there giving you that encouragement, that instruction. And it’s more than just punching, of course. It’s all the other exercises and movements and techniques that you get when your trainers are with you.”
9:00 – Liteboxer’s data for users: Jeff says, “You’ll see that the device is so dynamic and there are so many things we can do with it in terms of collecting data and portraying data back to the user.”
10:10 – Boxing gives you an aerobic workout: Todd says, “The thing about boxing, is it gives me the same or better aerobic workout using my arms rather than my legs. There’s something about punching and boxing that is a stress reliever.”
12:22 – People are intimidated by boxing: Todd says, “There were a significant number of people that were intimidated to go to a boxing gym. They didn’t want to look stupid. They were worried that they’d be surrounded by meatheads and things like that. So we think this is a significant market segment that has always been curious about boxing and comes to understand the benefits of boxing but didn’t want to go to a gym and do it, and we’re going to give him a chance to do it at home.”
16:00 – Liteboxer’s design: Todd says, “I kind of challenged Jeff. I said I want this thing to look like it could be in a Marvel comics gym. It could be in Ironman’s gym.”
18:15 – Launching Liteboxer: Jeff says, “We’ve had a lot of great comments like we’ve been waiting for something like this in boxing and that’s been super validating for us. “
19:40 – Liteboxer’s Rhythm Technology: Jeff says, “When your ears and eyes and your brain all sync together, doing an activity, you get into this zone where it’s called the flow zone where your experience level is meeting a challenge. And when you get to that point, it’s like time kind of just melts away and you get absorbed into the product.“
22:12 – Helping people stay in shape: Todd says, “It’s just so hard for people to get and stay in shape. It’s extremely, extremely hard. It goes right into brain science where exercising hits the pain points and, you know, eating sugary and fatty food hits the pleasure points. We’ve been kind of likely predisposed through evolution to this point to kind of resist pain and go for things that build up our fat so that we can last through the winter and we’re still trying to move away from that evolutionary predisposition.”
24:48 – Making punching fun: Todd says, “What we try to do is instead of giving you a bag and say go punch it, we said, we’re going to give you an interactive sparring partner for your home. We’re going to challenge you. You’re going to have to basically play in this game where you are punching.”
26:30 – Finding the best trainers: Todd says, “We’ve had to look for trainers who combine that personality, that motivational personality with skill and expertise.”
32:00 – Choosing the right investors: Todd says, “Pick investors that both have the demeanor and the kind of personality that matches what you want but also that has the network in the area that you care about and has expertise in the area.”