The Story of Hövding
The idea of a new bicycle helmet was born in Sweden in 2005, when a new law made the use of bicycle helmets mandatory for children up to the age of 15 years old. This triggered a debate on whether bicycle helmets should also be made mandatory for adults. Two students of Industrial Design, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, decided to find out if it was possible to develop a bicycle helmet that people would actually be happy to wear – whether they had to or not. Their Master’s Thesis resulted in the concept of an airbag helmet.
Right from the beginning the airbag helmet gained a lot of attention for its innovative design. In 2006 Hövding won the Venture Cup competition, where young entrepreneurs get to develop their idea into a sustainable business plan. Hövding Sweden AB was founded the same year. It took seven years to transform Hövding from a concept into an approved and certified product. Today more than 130,000 Hövdings have been sold.
Developing a helmet that everyone would be happy to wear had an unexpected but welcome side effect: Hövding’s unique airbag system turned out to offer cyclists superior protection against head injuries. According to tests conducted at Stanford University in 2016, Hövding provides up to eight times better protection compared to traditional bicycle helmets.
At Hövding, we consider cyclists to be everyday heroes and we see it as our mission to keep them safe. We are very proud of the fact that Hövding over the years have helped protect more than 3 000 cyclists in accidents. Because we believe the world will become a better place if more people choose the bicycle – for inner city environment, health and climate reasons.
Most of what we have accomplished are things other people claimed were impossible: ‘It’s impossible to design an airbag that way’. ‘It’s impossible to understand the movements of a cyclist and detect accidents’. ‘It’s impossible to get an airbag helmet approved and certified’. But by constantly doing the impossible we’ve acquired a unique expertise in airbag helmet technology, which has resulted in several global patents.
Over the years Hövding has grown from just two people with a great idea, to a NASDAQ-listed company that handle everything from development and production to marketing and sales. Today Hövding consists of a team of around 35 people, all triggered by the word impossible, and Hövding’s airbag for cyclists is available in 16 markets across Europe and in Japan. The headquarters are located in an old chocolate factory in Malmö – the sixth greatest cycling city in the world.
Hövding is running a project called “The Invisible Helmet”. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 718705.