ISPO Munich 2014 – Visions become reality

rockWinter hesitantly arrived just in time for ISPO – making it all the more appropriate to check out the latest winter sport gear and clothing. ISPO is a great, colorful place for me to meet people and network, especially as this is an industry most removed from all my other daily business encounters.

After all the hype around this year’s CES in Las Vegas, I was pretty excited to check out the latest wearable tech on offer at ISPO. This year the organizers even dedicated a special wearable technologies show. I am amazed at the multitude of fitness trackers but none really stuck out. Probably most noteworthy was SenseCore . According to the Swiss startup, SenseCore not only can track the “regular” data but also has an EKG functionality, body temperature, acceleration and more. The sensors can be integrated into clothing and that way produce a multitude of data  In addition it is waterproof up to 5m. With a price tag of approx. EUR 900 this little wonder will most likely be used more for the professional sports people and possibly even whole teams.

hyperNot necessarily wearable tech but definitely wearable was Hyperice – a joint specific neoprene bandage that offers cold treatment. If you don’t mind looking like something out of Terminator it sure seems to produce great regenerative results.

While I always enjoy to check out the latest clothing, ski and snowboard gear the best place for me to go is ISPO BRANDNEW. This is where ISPO features the newcomers, the pioneers, the startups with a passion and vision. Having launched the Zipflracer myself at the trade show 6 years ago, I love spending time and talking with people who are at that same place as I was.

The most prominent new kids on the block this year were the bike crowd.  I particularly liked Loopwheels, a British startup that has truly “reinvented the wheel”. Funded by Kickstarter, loopLoopwheels has the suspension in the wheels, making riding much more comfortable. You can just buy the wheels or check out their foldable bike. Cool design. I got a great kick out of Ass Savers. There are so many bikers going passed me who look a little muddy on their be-hind. Well ass savers – basically bicycle mudguards will take care of that problem. They come in cool colors too. ass

And then there is also Pub Peddles. Never will have an excuse again not to ride my bike in my high heels (fortunately or unfortunately). They are attachments that will let you use any type of shoe to pedal. Easy to attach, many colors, how perfect is that.

filmThe other two startups that definitely got me excited were Fimbulvetr from Norway and Oru Kayak from my old home, California. Fimbulvetr has developed this amazing snowshoe that is lightweight and consists of only 12 pieces. But even better is the “all direction” hinge which gives your foot excellent flexibility while walking. Hopefully one day I can actually test this (please let it snow more again please!)

Oru Kayak of course got my heart beating faster as we have been looking for kayaks that we can take with us on our sailboat without taking up too much space like the one we have now. kayakAnother startup funded by Kickstarter, Oru Kayak gives you a kayak that comes in a bag, weighing approx. 12 kg and unfolds into a 3.66m long kayak. Brilliant. Discussions are already happening at my house how we can get one of these from California over the Adriatic!

beardAs an aside – even though I am known to have way way too many myself – I always wonder who buys all those hats and gloves that are presented at ISPO every year. They are so generic every year. Therefore my prize for most innovative headwear this year goes to Beardo – thanks for offering many options that made me smile.


At the end of the day I wished I’d had some wearable tech as I am sure to have logged at least 20 km walking the halls. See you next year!

ISPO Munich 2013 – Inspiration thru Innovation

When I am not consulting, I also run another company that produces and sells a winter sport product called Zipflracer . So of course once a year I get to trek through the vast halls of ISPO MUNICH, the leading international sports business trade show.ispo

There are over 2,300 international exhibitors there presenting their selection of sporting goods ranging from outdoor, ski, action to performance sports. I guess I was one of the 80,000 visitors from one of the over 100 countries the trade show says attend every year. While we used to be exhibitors ourselves, the last few years we have used ISPO more to research trends and opportunities (and for lots of inspiration).

One of my first stops is always ISPO BRANDNEW, where young start up entrepreneurs present their innovations. A jury of experts selects from several hundred entries, only a few get to exhibit and even fewer get the sought after newcomer awards. For me, two companies stood out: Skora and Aetem – and none of them are winter sport products.

Skora produces running shoes and they not only stood out with their innovative design, but with their philopspohy and vision. Their running shoes are built to encourage biomechanically correct running performance i.e. running using whole foot and not only the heel, resulting in less impact and force shock. The shoes not only look cool, they are light and flexible  minimal cushioning but with enough support. They were still looking for a distributor in Germany, but I will definitely order some online from Portland, Oregon for now.

I am not a diver or a big snorkeler myself, but I do love sailing, swimming and spend a lot of free time on the water. The Munich-based company Aetem is a big fan of seatrekking, a combination of snorkeling diving during the day with nights spent on land. Their Premium Sea Pack is a waterproof backpack that can be used in and out of the water and functions as a bodyboard, backpack and even trolley when you hit that plane home. Really cool.

I wish I had more time at ISPO. There is always so much else to see and explore. People to talk to or just feel the vibes in the different halls ranging from the high fashion luxury feel in Hall B1 to the craziness of the A1 and A2 with all its boarders and hipsters. I did feel that this year there were less snowboard companies present than in previous years (are people going back to skiing?). Their space seemed to be taken up but a whole myriad of camera technology companies (and many of them pretty bad quality). I did like the “Soloshot” though which is basically a camera on a tripod that can follow a subject automatically and follows its move. How does it work? The camera has a  motor with a receiver, the athlete wears a transmitter. Now you can film yourself while surfing the big waves in Hawaii. And I was taken back to the 80’s when it was “cool” to ski in your tight blue jeans (but your Mom told you not to cause you would catch a cold) when stumbling upon Urbanus who have developed some pretty cool denim boardpants (I want!). And for all those that like to wear hoodies as much as I do in my free time AND love to listen to music, you need to check out Hoodiebuddie . They feature cool hoodies that contain a standard headphone jack in the front pocket which allow you to plug in any device of your choice. Once plugged in, the audio travels up embedded cables to your headphones that are built into the end of the drawstrings. How cool is that? The hoodie including the headphones is even machine washable. ispo1

So I have had lots of inspiration through innovation. Feels good. Looking forward to ISPO MUNICH 2014 already!