Who we are
In 2005 we started working together on a joint master thesis in industrial design after four and a half years studying at LTH, the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University in Sweden. The law that had just been introduced in Sweden making bicycle helmets compulsory for children up to the age of 15 had triggered a heated debate on whether it should be extended to include adult cyclists too. To people like us, who wouldn't be seen dead in a polystyrene helmet, the thought that we might be forced to wear one by law was cause for concern. Producing a bicycle helmet that people would be happy to put on looked like a much better way to go than legislation forcing people to wear one or else. We realised that our industrial design master thesis was the perfect place to find out whether the traditional bicycle helmet could be improved on.
We started out with a survey, asking people on the streets why so few people wear bicycle helmets. They came up with plenty of reasons: "They're a pain to carry about, they all look hideous, they ruin your hair, nobody else wears them, you can't get your hat on underneath." Some good arguments, it's true, others more like excuses. It was clear that bicycle helmets are a hot topic that everyone has an opinion on and strong feelings about. Bicycling is something we do every day and there's a sense of freedom that goes with it. Although people are well aware of the risks on the roads, the vast majority are choosing to bicycle without a helmet. When it comes down to it, people do really want to protect their heads in road accidents, but there are limits. It isn't the bicyclists who need to change, it's the product.
When we asked people what they'd ideally like the bicycle helmet of tomorrow to look like, we got responses like these:
"Like a cool hat with a built-in helmet."
"Something small that you can fold up and put in your pocket."
"Something that lets you change what it looks like, like you can with mobile phone skins or wigs."
The instant we heard the word "invisible", we realised that was what the world was waiting for. An invisible bicycle helmet. That wouldn't ruin your hair.
Since that day we've learned that nothing is impossible. We've learned that people who call themselves "realists" are actually scaredy-cats who just aren't brave enough to think big enough. Hövding is the Swedish for "Chieftain" and our Hövding is a leader and a role model, with its sights set on changing the world. We want to encourage others to follow in our footsteps and dare to demand something better, to stand out from the crowd, and believe in themselves and their own capabilities. We may be a small company but we think big and we aim high. Delusions of grandeur are exactly what it takes!
/Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin
At the moment there are 16 of us working at Hövding. We are a group of wonderful people with different skills and we work very closely together. We've got an R&D department with mathematicians, electrical engineers and airbag experts. We've got a design department with industrial designers and pattern designers. We've got customer services, a marketing department and a finance department. So far.
Our head office is in Malmö, but we've also got a small subsidiary in Kungälv.
Hövding's final assembly is performed by the Swedish company Alva with production site in Portugal.
Come and work
At the moment Hövding is not hiring.
|2011||Index:Award winner||100 000 EURO|
|2011||Enterprise rookie of the year in Malmö||30 000 SEK|
|2010||SKAPA finalist||20 000 SEK|
|2008||VinnIP||70 000 SEK|
|2007||VinnNu||300 000 SEK|
|2007||Öhrlings PWC & LUAB's Innovation Award||50 000 SEK|
|2006||Venture Cup||215 000 SEK|
|2006||Innovationsbron's Ideas Grant||100 000 SEK|
|2005||Ik2 pilot study funding||15 000 SEK|