In the rubric "Seven Questions to" we introduce our creative minds from Betterguards. Founder Vinzenz Bichler is the first to do so.
Vinzenz Bichler is the CEO of Betterguards Technology GmbH and a passionate sportsman himself. He is especially fond of snowboarding and football. Vinzenz is originally from Miesbach and successfully studied at the FH Rosenheim before studying medical technology in Berlin. As an very active person, he was also not spared from joint injuries. In his search for an intelligent system that not only provides effective protection but is also comfortable, he and co-founders Timo Stumper and Max Müseler developed the idea of a safety belt for joints - the Betterguards Technology.
How exactly did you come up with the idea of a safety belt for joints? As it is well known, the basic idea of Betterguards was developed at the TU Berlin. Was it a student research project that interested you?
I simply had too many sports injuries of my own and was too frustrated that there was no reasonable protection for joints. Therefore, after studying plastics engineering in Bavaria, I decided to study medical engineering in Berlin as well, so that I could better understand biomechanics and develop an intelligent system. There I was very lucky that Prof. Kraft (medical technology) was very positive about my idea.
Logically, a prototype was created at some point. Surely you were one of the first to test it. Weren't you ever afraid that your calculations were wrong and that you would tear a ligament?
Hehe, that wouldn't have been the first torn ligament. But I've never been afraid. It was much more the mixture of the passion for sports and the deep curiosity about the natural sciences that drove me on. I simply wanted to know whether such a "seat belt for the joint" could really work. I am all the more pleased that we have now been able to prevent numerous injuries. What has always driven me was the vision to develop a sports sock for the football world champion. We are not far from the sock. From the world champion unfortunately still something ;)
How did you come up with the name Betterguards? Been tinkering with it for a long time or had a flash of inspiration in your everyday life?
I was travelling in Morocco during the semester break. There I met a great founder who wanted to improve the world and still does. In our conversation the word "better" was mentioned so often and then the thought came up. I had the "Guards" in my head for a long time, because our systems work like little guards, who have to take care of the joints and ligaments.
What distinguishes Betterguards from conventional orthoses and supports?
Betterguards is the pioneer in the field of intelligent protection. Our worldwide unique solution consists especially in the very high freedom of motion we offer compared to conventional, always stiff and bulky orthoses/splints. At the same time, our fluid system generates a decisively high counterforce within a few milliseconds, which immediately secures the ligament / joint to be protected. This "Betterguards Effect" will soon be available in shoes as well, and will continue to offer people their dynamics and performance, along with a smart protection now available that only occurs when you really need it.
Are there other starting points for joints. You always talk about joints in the plural. Are there still projects for other joints in the human body?
Our mission is to make joint injuries forgotten. This implies that we do not only have solutions for the ankle. This is also the current focus: Ankle supports/orthoses and shoes for occupational safety, sports and trekking, etc. But yes, we do have an exciting solution for the knee, but also for the wrist, which we will launch on the market later. Meanwhile, manufacturers and partners approach us and ask for solutions for the neck or shoulder. Thanks to our ingenious team and our smart technology, we can break completely new ground in the field of joint protection.
What is the corporate culture like? What do you appreciate most when you enter the office in the morning and what is your team like?
Personally, I am so grateful to my team that they share my vision and really put their foot down. Also our team at the production site in Hennigsdorf, BRB is doing such a good and important job to provide our customers with the Betterguards systems. I think giving something back is part of our culture, and we also want to help people, get them into sports without fear of injury. Our team consists of many passionate athletes who want to develop and use intelligent products for their own needs. This drive of curiosity for smart products, which is shared by our team, is what fills me the most.
Which company or personality would you personally describe as a role model?
I think there are a lot of great people you can take as role models. Especially the entrepreneurs, who have created something "special" from their own idea and who are now extensively involved, encourage and support society, inspire me. I would like to meet Gary Hammerslag, the founder of the BOA Closure System, who has built an ingenious B2B product and ingredient brand from his idea. I think I could learn a lot from him.
About the company Betterguards:
The Betterguards Technology GmbH is a technology supplier and development partner for partner companies from different areas and pursues an innovative approach to the prevention of joint injuries. The company has two locations: Research and development and management at the Berlin site and production including testing at the Brandenburg site in Hennigsdorf.