Brian Brasch and his company PRx Performance launched a March 7 Kickstarter with great anticipation. Their newest product, the Talon, was sold on the concept that it revolutionized how we lifters secure plates on our barbells for CrossFit and weightlifting.
The Talon follows a long line of innovative products developed by PRx Performance in Fargo, ND with the purpose being to "Lift Big in Small Spaces". The Talon looked to be a safe bet and the Kickstarter world of backers responded.
The Talon was funded on Kickstarter very quickly, in under 7 days, and eventually raised $20,532 to help develop the Talon and bring the innovative barbell clamp to market. In full disclosure, I am an original backer of the Talon, so when I got the July note from Brian indicating a delay in the backer delivery, I wasn’t surprised. Many Kickstarter Projects have unanticipated issues which arise and those problems can slow production. No big deal.
Between September and November 2016, PRx Performance sent Kickstarter Backers three more notes explaining there were delays which would slip the delivery of the product to the first quarter of 2017. Why the delay for a product which seemed to be fully baked and ready for the masses?
When we spoke with CEO Brian Brasch, he indicated a pivot was needed. The initial prototype was not meeting the performance needs and there were some design and material issues which caused utility problems. The tough decision was made to “Do It Right”, even if that meant giving some refunds to unhappy backers and sending out the product later than promised.
A full scale redesign was underway. Through this process, the utility of the Talon was improved by providing a rivot-less design that allowed great adherence and surface area on the barbell. Enhanced aesthetics would give the product a proper finished look. To make all of this happen, the material was changed from a fabric product to a rubber molded unit.
Tangential to this, PRx Performance become notably popular due to the February 2016 appearance on the Shark Tank. In that Shark Tank episode, PRx Performance sealed a deal in which Kevin O’Leary (AKA Mr. Wonderful) would by 20% of the company for $80,000.
I asked if the uptick in business from Shark Tank and the deal with Kevin O’Leary negatively impacted the Talon project. The answer, “Not at all, one had nothing to do with the other”. In fact, Brian said after the Shark Tank appearance, Kevin O’Leary recommended Kickstarter as a means to bring the Talon to the market, validate the idea and get customer feedback.
I am still sold on the idea of the Talon, and I hope PRx Performance hits a homerun with this product. I love simplicity in design, and the potential for enhanced utility value. The direction PRx Performance has taken, although frustrating to some, is a necessary evolutionary step in product development. Kickstarter was not meant for “Pre-orders” or “Retail Purchases”. The goal is to help an inventor or developer bring their project to life…to that end I am glad to support PRx and I can’t want to play with the Talon in 2017.
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