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June 30, 2020

#1 When COVID came knocking

We are an American startup founded by Argentines with European, American & Latin-American investors – that designs in Patagonia, manufactures in Asia and operates in the US & Europe. Yep, a handful.

More importantly, we are a team of designers, engineers & business builders with a knack for creating stuff that makes an impact.

Our mission since day 1 hasn’t wavered: to build a global brand and improve people’s experiences through innovative products, making them better, safer and smarter. While simple enough at a first glance, it’s actually quite tricky to pull off.

The first thing you need is a problem, an experience that needs upgrading. We found ours in snow-sports while looking at protection, audio & communications. Sure, we all wore helmets with headphones or the occasional audio-kit and our phones to keep in touch with each other, but it was a patchwork of incomplete solutions. We then set out to rethink all that – and we did. Here’s a video with the result.

“These guys are doing a great helmet concept (and I never ever say that)”

Stefan Ytterborn – Ex Founder & CEO @ POC

We designed it, tested it, improved it and finally launched it into the market. It was a wild ride that ended on a happy note: we sold out in under 3 months and we can now say there are thousands of skiers & riders out there with our helmets. Even Stefan Ytterborn, founder of POC and helmet guru, had nice things to say about it. Not bad for a start.

So there we were, ready to take off and go big: another financing round – our biggest one yet – a bigger team and more inventory to play with.

We soon encountered a challenge outside our control. COVID-19 was – and still is – not to be trifled with. Fundraising amidst such a storm was going to be impossible, as would travel, manufacturing, etc – but what good can come out of a list of all the things we couldn’t do?

A startup is usually funding-dependent at first, more so if what you’re building is a large scale hardware-based operation. But hey, every startup has to overcome bad odds – this might very well be one more to throw into the cocktail!

So here we are now, each of us at home, Zooming away into our next move (pun intended) and trying to make the best of this hand we’ve all been dealt. 

This ‘new normal’ is coming fast and bringing change along with it. With change come new experiences, new problems, new needs – and that’s the stuff we’re always looking for!

So as we cook up our next move we are opening up our operation to you guys: this will be a portal to the real stuff, the nitty-gritty version of entrepreneurship.

We’re excited and happy to have you tag along for the ride. It’s going to be a wild one.

The UNIT 1 Team