Startup Q&A is an interview series showcasing health, fitness, and wellness companies.
In this Q&A, you’ll hear from Bridget Hunter-Jones, CEO and co-founder of Impact Biosystems, creators of a connected, muscle-scanning percussive therapy gun called Pact. Bridget discusses the need for tailored performance optimization for athletes and everyday exercisers, as well as how the MIT-made invention will shake up the booming recovery economy.
Can you tell us about what you’re working on at Impact Biosystems?
Bridget Hunter-Jones: Impact Biosystems is a Boston-based startup developing adaptive hardware and software solutions in the health and fitness space. Our first product, Pact, will launch this year.
Pact is the world’s first full-feedback connected massager. Inspired by professional trainers, the Pact system tailors your massage experience to your muscle profile and body conditions, giving you the most effective recovery treatment. With the Pact system, you’ll recover faster, feel better, and perform at your peak.
Pact Sense, a handheld muscle scanner, uses sensors to scan your muscles to assess their condition in under five seconds. Based on your muscle state, the Pact Mobile App curates a personalized routine for you. The Pact app is similar to a personal trainer and guides you through your warm up and recovery.
Pact Pulse, our recovery tool, delivers a precise and optimized massage. Unlike other percussive massage devices, Pact uses proprietary technology to objectively measure the condition of your muscle to give you a personalized treatment.
There are other percussive massage devices available to the everyday consumer that have helped pave the way by showing that massage therapy can be beneficial and improve recovery. However, Pact is the only system that measures and adjusts specifically to your body and has an app that gives guidance to maximize your warmup and recovery treatment.
How did you come up with the idea? What key insight led you to pursue this opportunity?
BHJ: In 2019, I was approached by my former MIT classmate Dr. Craig Cheney, who had co-invented Pact at MIT with Dr. Ian Hunter.
Ian had been working on this technology in his lab with Craig, and I was incredibly impressed with what they were trying to achieve with this brand-new product in the health and fitness space.
It was natural for me to join this team because of my experience in hardware and passion with the fitness space… and Ian happens to be the best inventor in town and is also my father — so it was a no-brainer.
How did you turn your idea into a company?
BHJ: The first step was building the founding team and raising the pre-seed capital. We were able to get several key investors to come in early who understood and aligned with our mission and believed in the core team.
Once we had the team and initial investment in place, we focused on the product development and continuing growing our team.
How big can this get? What’s the addressable market and how do you go about capturing it?
BHJ: The immediately addressable market of percussive massage is $500M. The immediately adjacent market of massage equipment and massage therapy is $42B.
We see a lot of hypermasculine, intense brands dominating this market today, and Pact will show up in a different way. We are leaning into the fact that the Pact system is completely personalized and adapts to the athlete—no matter the level, size, or gender—to show up as empowering and approachable.
Who is the core customer? How are you acquiring customers? And how will you grow the customer base?
BHJ: We have designed this recovery system to work for anyone from the casual or pro athlete to the physical therapist to the pain relief-seeker.
We have acquired 350 customers to date from our Indiegogo campaign and will continue to take pre-orders as we get ready for launch in May 2022. In the near term, we’ll grow and expand our customer base with some of the incredible partnerships we have in the works.
Looking at your road map, what are some of the milestones you’re targeting over the next 3-6 months?
BHJ: Over the next few months, we are hyper-focused on getting the product ready to ship by May. We have ongoing beta testing, where we continue to fine tune the user experience to make sure it’s simple and seamless.
We also have several studies underway showing the benefits of our system. And we have started working with some great partners that we’re excited to announce soon!
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