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Hit N Move is aiming to give boxing equipment a long overdue revamp

Aug 05, 2023

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The Hit N Move gloves, made with DR-T padding technology, were prominently featured in the film, "Creed III."

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World's shortest elevator pitch: "HIT N MOVE is bringing products and gears into the boxing world that have never been made before."

Company: HIT N MOVE

Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Year founded: 2020


Funding round to date: "We are self-funded."

Who are your investors? "The investors are my wife, Alaina, and I."

Are you looking for more investment? "No. We are open if someone comes in and they have the same vision and agree with our core values. We are emotionally attached to the product and we want to continue that, otherwise we’re like everyone else. It's a passion project and we want to keep it passionate. The people who buy from us are niche and they recognize this passion. It's becoming a bigger value."

Tell us about yourself, founder Ozhan "Ozzie" Akcakaya: "I went to school in England at Leeds University Business School. I was working in America for a pharmaceutical company and still am working in pharmaceutics, I’m a manager. I learned boxing in Chicago, I started with UFC and turned to boxing. My goal was to be good enough to spar with professional fighters and I got to my goal. I learned fast and dedicated my time. As I learned boxing, I recognized the products in the market were not good enough. I’m a picky chooser. In 2019, my wife and I were at a sparring event. One guy was denied from sparring because the gloves were dented and they weren't good and they told him he can't spar with those gloves. I thought, ‘What's a bad glove?’ I looked at the market and they sell you bad gloves, they sell you sparring gloves and training gloves. It's like a marketing gimmick. I thought, ‘Let me double up on padding’ because my father was a shoemaker in Turkey. I understand padding and how to build the product. I started designing and, having a background in pharmaceutical, orthopedics and dermatology, I understand anatomy and muscles. I started designing very scientifically and I said ‘I’m going to make a glove that is going to protect the fighter, last long and be ergonomic.’ That's how this business started. My story is I find gaps in the boxing gear industry and I fill it with my medical knowledge and sports knowledge. I can box and I’m medically trained."

Who are your co-founders/partners? "My wife, Alaina. She is one of the best consultants I’ve ever seen in my life to create a brand. She is everything to me. We created the logo together and how it appears. She is good at what we say to the public, how we look on social media. When we have a product, she is testing it as well. She tests it as someone who is just starting boxing. I test it as a pro. That's a very good balance."

How does your product work? "Our company is making products that carry the quality of the 1970s because I miss those days when companies were just proud of the quality and durability. Unfortunately, not all those things are being spoken of now. There's marketing gimmicks. I want to change that because boxing deserves better. That's our motto. Everything we do and every product has to fit ‘Boxing deserves better.’ When we launch a product: ‘Is this a boxing deserves better product?’ If it is, then it has to hit the core values. Authenticity, it has to be authentic. Is it different, is it the only one in the world? Is it innovative? Or did we just send our logo elsewhere and say ‘put our logo on your product.’ That's what 90% of the industry is doing right now and that's not good, that's not boxing deserves better. The third one is family oriented. We don't work with athletes who go to strip clubs and show off money. We choose athletes like Jalil Hackett, a very family-oriented athlete. Jahmal Harvey. I pick the athletes not based on their followings but an ambassador for us is their personality. Jeffrey Yu. He's so good. He's a family man, he's innovative and an educated boxer. We’re bringing education into the boxing world through our products. Our Boxing Reflex Trainer is an at-home machine with a spinning bar and a body pad. It's a great way of working out at home, whether or not you’re a professional, it's a good movement workout that gets your hand coordination, stamina, cardio, muscles going. For professionals, you can simulate certain situations. The boxing gloves we make come with the DR-T padding technology. We have this glove padding technology that reverses the shock. Instead of absorbing the shock, there's a section – there's five layers actually, one layer is bouncing it back for you – we did that with the gloves. The Turtle mitts are the first mitt that has another side. I was inspired by a turtle. When I was thinking about the product, I was running and I literally saw a turtle. I moved the turtle away because he was moving toward the road. As I moved him, I was like, ‘That's it.’ I was designing it and it looked very similar and we trademarked the name. Turtle mitts allow coaches to flow faster, fighters like it better because it's better and more realistic angles. Everything we make is unique. Sometimes people ask me why we don't make headgears. It's because we have a headgear coming and it will be the most different headgear out there. It will be the most different but it's innovative. We’ve only put products in the market if they belong to us."

What problem is your company solving? "We are solving the education problem with boxing, definitely the medical education problem. I made another innovation with 24-ounce gloves for conditioning. In the past, fighters were using 24-ounce gloves, which is a heavier glove, for conditioning. Those gloves were watermelon sized and you couldn't do anything with them. You can only hit the mitts, you can't spar. We found the technology where we made the glove as small as a regular glove but it weighs 24 ounces. We solved that problem. The bigger problem we solved is punching with dumb bells. A lot of boxing coaches, unfortunately, didn't have chances for education. They aren't certified. It's not like football coaches, where most are certified. Boxing coaches are either ex-boxers or someone who has been in the ring a long time. They don't understand autonomy nor the kinetic chain. They tell the fighter to take dumb bells and start doing shadow boxing. We did the research. As soon as you go above two pounds, you’re hurting your rotator cuff. So many young boxers are suffering labrum tears because of so much interior work. Dumb bell punching is very dangerous and doing three minutes with five pounds is like the worst thing to do. That's what we’re solving. We’re solving the education problem, medical knowledge and anatomical problem because the products haven't had, in my opinion, an anatomical approach before. We’re becoming the luxury and scientific brand for boxing."

What does your product cost and who is your target customer? "Our products cost from $229-$289 for the boxing gloves. Our top customers are everyone who's interested in everything from boxing and kickboxing to mixed martial arts. A lot of people think to get a good, expensive glove they need to be good at boxing. Actually, if you’re not good at boxing, if you just started, you should get the best glove. Most of our customers are picky customers who understand boxing and want the best of the best and they don't fall for popularity. They know popularity doesn't mean quality. They figure out quality on their own. What has been happening in boxing is big companies who want promotions, who organize the fights, and they give them free gloves and these promotions push these gloves for the fighters and you watch a boxing fight and see Everlast or see Brand X or Brand Z and think they’re the best and they’re not. Pro fighters don't pay for their gloves. It's not an indication of success. Your favorite fighter wearing it doesn't mean it's the best glove."

How are you marketing your product? "Social media, word of mouth. We do offer an affiliate program and boxing training modules on our website. Word of mouth has been strong. It's incredible how people are emailing us saying, ‘I’ve seen it with a guy, my coach told me about your products.’ It's self-researching."

How do you scale, and what is your targeted level of growth? "We’ve been growing 200% per year. We are scaling by increasing our production capacity and hiring more people in the warehouse to do shipping, working with Amazon. Our products are on Amazon right now so that helps us a lot. We’re scaling by getting new distributors. We discussed if we’re looking for funding - we’re looking more for distributors. If there are distributors in the U.K. or Europe and want to work with us, we’re open to it. We have two shops that approached us from the U.K. and they’re very happy, and I’m open to doing more not just in the U.K. but in the other European countries as well."

Who are your competitors, and what makes you different? "Generally speaking, our competitors are the established boxing equipment and sporting goods companies. But I would say that we don't have a direct competitor. We are looking to fill the gaps within this space and are more of a specialty item company. Boxing equipment has never seen innovation like ours before, and we have a true focus on safety and performance."

What's the unfair advantage that separates your company? "Top medical and boxing/sports knowledge. You have to hire a good strength and conditioning coach, a medical coach and a boxer who knows the ins and outs. I’m creative and understand business. My wife understands branding. It's a perfect blend. We’re equal to 10 people."

What milestone have you recently hit or will soon hit? "We hit a milestone of 1,000 products sold. Another is that Gervonta Davis used our Reflex Trainer in one of his camps. He is using our weighted gloves, 1.5-pound conditioned gloves. His coach, Calvin Ford, is using the Turtle mitts. He's exclusively using our mitts and he used that on Showtime. He has access to every brand and the fact he picks our products and he's with Gervonta Davis. We’ve been on TV. Our mitts appeared in Creed III without us paying for it, and that says a lot about the product. The fact the coach picked those and every company is going after this coach. He has access to all products. The fact he chose HIT N MOVE and used it in the movie, that's a big milestone. That's the product speaking for itself. Another milestone is there's a YouTube channel, Fit2Box. He isn't paid by anyone, he's honest. Companies send him products and he ranks them. He ranked us No. 1 out of hundreds of products. He's a big YouTuber. I want to thank him. Him and another user, csquaredboxing, it opens an opportunity for up-and-coming companies to show what they're doing."

What are the values that are core to your brand? "Authenticity, boxing valor, family oriented and innovative."

What does success ultimately look like for your company? "Of the 1,000 pairs we sold, only three were returned and those were for personal reasons. That shows me it's great. Our Reflex Trainer, we sold about 500 units and only one was returned. That's very valuable and that means when people get the products, they love it, they use it and it's unique, and they respect it enough to keep the product and continue to use it."

What should investors or customers know about you — the person, your life experiences — that shows they can believe in you? "I am great at business and product development and very creative. I think outside the box. I am a boxer and also in pharmaceuticals and I’m very transparent because being a pharmaceutical rep, it's all about transparency. Everything we say and do we have to prove. I have an evidence-based mind. When I get a product, I test it myself first. The samples we have when we get a product have to go through me first, and I’m a very picky chooser. That means it's good enough, and I go through seven other people like me to test the product too. By the time one of our products goes to the market, eight people have tried this product and all gave a yes."

What was it like to see HIT N MOVE used in Creed III? "It was very honorable and it was a surprise for us because the coach (Patrice ‘Boog’ Harris) bought one of our mitts. He texted me one day that he used one of the mitts in the movie and I was like ‘Wow, thank you so much. What can we do for you?’ He said, ‘Nothing. You’re a good man, you guys make good products and I love your products and when I was going to the movie I wanted to take them with me.’ It was amazing for me and I appreciate that. We didn't pay a penny for the movie while other companies probably paid a lot. We made it as a two-year-old company. That was a big sign that we are doing something right here."

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Tech World's shortest elevator pitch: Company: Location: Year founded: Website/App: Funding round to date: Who are your investors? Are you looking for more investment? Tell us about yourself, founder Ozhan "Ozzie" Akcakaya: Who are your co-founders/partners? How does your product work? What problem is your company solving? What does your product cost and who is your target customer? How are you marketing your product? How do you scale, and what is your targeted level of growth? Who are your competitors, and what makes you different? What's the unfair advantage that separates your company? What milestone have you recently hit or will soon hit? What are the values that are core to your brand? What does success ultimately look like for your company? What should investors or customers know about you — the person, your life experiences — that shows they can believe in you? What was it like to see HIT N MOVE used in Creed III? How college football's national champion Georgia Bulldogs are leveraging Perch's 3D camera in the weight room A look at the workplace collaboration software designed to eliminate groupthink, and why it's gaining traction in MLB front offices SPONSORED CONTENT ADDITIONAL SECTIONS PODCASTS SBJ TV