At that time, a new law had just been introduced in Sweden that made it mandatory for children up to
the age of 15 to wear bicycle helmets. Immediately, all over the country debates
arose on whether this law should be applied to adults as well. Everybody was
concerned about the thought of being forced to wear bicycle helmets, but unlike
the rest, Terese and Anna decided to do something about it. The two graduates
set out to collaborate on their master thesis and find a better and new
solution that would encourage people to wear their helmets. The two
entrepreneurs were sure of one thing: “It was not the bicyclists who needed to
change, it was the product.” After conducting surveys and interviewing people on the
street, it was clear that what was most desired was something innovative and cool,
something that you could fold up or that would not mess up your hair. Terese’s
and Anna’s moment of eureka finally came when an interviewee mentioned one
word: “invisible”. Struck and inspired by the power that this word conveyed,
the two students decided to achieve the unimaginable and build an invisible
helmet. When sharing their idea with others, Terese and Anna were mostly
discouraged and told it was impossible. This did not hold them back – quite the opposite; it fuelled their
drive and made them dream even bigger. Seven years of research and hard work later, what had started out as an exam project became “Hövding”: the invisible
helmet. The two designers had invented the first cyclist-airbag and proving
everyone wrong, accomplished the impossible. Not only does Terese’s and Anna’s invention
work, it looks good too. In recent years, their invisible helmet has gained
international acclaim and won numerous international awards.
Today, Terese and Anna continue to lead their company Hövding. They now have 16 employees, each
with unique skills and backgrounds. Their invisible helmet is being distributed across the globe and is testament to their perseverance and hard work.
Why did you agree to become Amazers?
Amazers is a great initiative, to collect people that are doing things that hopefully can inspire others to turn their dreams into reality. Seeing other people reach their goals is one of the best ways to realize that you can do it too. We did what people told us was impossible. It wasn't. So, what else out there is not impossible? You tell me.
What was the hardest thing to do during your seven years of research? Any tips for those with similar ambitions?
We had a lot of employees during our development time, from electrical engineers to airbag specialists and mathematicians, obviously they needed to get paid and this was very costly. So for us, finding good investors, the right investors, was the hardest part; it took us a lot of time and effort. A tip would be to work for yourself or with a small team, it is much better to do that from the start and not include investors at the early stage. This because the hard thing with investors is that they have a time horizon and they are quite stressed getting the product into the market. It could
be really time consuming to just keep them happy and in a good mood so that they support you. Do not use venture capital if you do not need to. Just believe in yourself because the capacity in every human is really really big.
Were there times when things were difficult and you were afraid you were going to fail or thought about giving up?
Yes, and there are still times that can be really hard actually. Now we are in a
phase where we are selling the products, and there are always new challenges along
the way. It can be that the future will be even harder as we focus on the development of future
care of our customers in the best possible way, and at the same time also try to find the right distributors in every country. At the moment it is really frustrating that due to the huge time and effort it takes, we are not able to distribute to all our global demand; especially that in Japan and the USA.