When we launched C21 Accelerator earlier this year, we received a lot of inquiries right off the bat and saw interest from a wide variety of entrepreneurs. One that we were extremely impressed by was, in fact, the very first person to reach out and connect with us: Anthony Gonzales.
As one of the two founders of the Los Angeles based company, Force Impact Technologies, Anthony caught our attention for a few reasons. Dedicated to developing sporting equipment, he approached us in February with a product called FITGuard that had yet to be developed. FITGuard was to be a specialized mouthguard for athletes designed to detect head-injuries and indicate the level of impact through flashing colored LED lights.
Right away, we could see that this product could absolutely be a game-changer for safety and health measures in the athletic industry, particularly for full-contact sports. But we also were aware — and Anthony was as well — that building a hardware startup is a challenge much greater than most other projects like mobile and web startups. Because building hardware is both difficult and expensive, trying to get hardware startup off the ground with just a few guys in the company is an ambitious feat.
To us, Anthony embodies the classic entrepreneurial story. Working several odd jobs and launching a kickstarter to fund his project, he has continuously worked hard for the last few years to see his vision through. While there have certainly been several challenges and failures in building the mouthguard prototype, Anthony’s grit, drive, and determination has paid off. Just this month, he was featured on CNBC’s “Make Me A Millionaire Inventor” television show where he received guidance from professional engineers to get the prototype developed. In addition, it was announced last week that FITGuard would be one of the few companies onboarded by Make in LA, the first ever hardware accelerator initiative in Los Angeles.
We at C21 continue to be huge fans of Anthony and his work, and we are more than happy to lend him help and connections in any way we can. We keep in touch with him regularly about his progress and are positive about the future success of FITGuard.
If there is one thing Anthony demonstrates that should be a message to all entrepreneurs: Keep at it, no matter how hard it gets. Persistence is the greatest equalizer.