Julian Galinski
Author:
Julian Galinski

Swiss Board Manufacturer Keeps Environmental Impact Low

Anticonf Snowboards: „We Are More Like a Community Than a Company“

Anticonf produces Snowboards with unconventional materials: The swiss-based company uses bamboo, cork and industrial waste – with the mission, to put the greenest possible board on the market. They were awarded at ISPO Brandnew 2017 as winner of the category Hardware Winter. Yoann Chapel, Head of Marketing and Communication, explains Anticonfs approach to business.

 

Anticonf produces snowboards with environment and sustainability in mind.
Anticonf produces snowboards with environment and sustainability in mind.

Please describe why your product is one of a kind and what seperates it from the rest on the market!
First of all the snowboard core was entirely redesigned. Instead of a traditional wooden core, bent bamboo stringers are combined with cork. The bamboo directs the energy exactly where it’s needed and the cork makes the board lighter and absorbs the vibrations.
This new type of core is then assembled with layers of flax fiber in replacement to the classical glass fiber. And a bio epoxy resin, composed of 50% industrial waste is used instead of classical oil-based resin.
The final board is lighter, better at damping vibrations and it’s one of the greenest board on the market.

"The best ride while limiting impact on environment"

What is the target group for your product?
Because of our environmental and high range positioning, we are logically reaching an outdoorsy audience interested in high quality products. In other words, riders that want to have the best ride while limiting their impact on their riding environment.

How and when did you come up with the idea for your product?
Selim, Anticonf’s founder and Head of R&D, is the one who came up with the idea after years of work on other riding equipment developments. He has the ability to think outside of the classical engineering box which is an invaluable advantage in our field.

"Eco-friendly and high performance"

What were the most important steps and biggest obstacles during the development of the product?
When the project was first initiated, back in 2015, there was a common belief in the sports industry: green materials were associated to a concession on performance. Anticonf engineer team had to rethink the product development process and bring new innovations in the game to create a snowboard both eco-friendly and high performance.

Anticonf uses – at first glance – unusual materials for their boards.
Anticonf uses – at first glance – unusual materials for their boards.

What were your most important findings and things you learned, from the idea all the way up to the award ceremony at ISPO Brandnew?
It’s all about team work. The idea came from Selim, our talented Head of R&D but to make it all the way to ISPO Brandnew it took a team. A lot of day and night hard work was required to pull the first prototypes, launch the communication and prepare the tradeshow participation. And in the end, we made it all together, thanks to the Anticonf family.

"ISPO Brandnew made us visible to major industry players"

How did you proceed when setting up your network and on the search for partners/investors?
We first worked with our personal contacts but it takes time to meet the right persons. From this perspective, ISPO Brandnew made us visible to many major industry players and allowed us to quickly expand our network. We are also closely working with our raw material providers like Amorim (leader in cork).

What are your three most important pieces of advice for other founders?
1. Step back and seek for clarity: if you have a clear idea of where you want to go, day-to-day decision making will be much more intuitive and you’ll go for the right priorities and will make the right choices.
2. Think outside of the box and test your ideas: our model relies on creativity combined with iterative proof-tests
3. Keep close to your community: they are the one who will support you no matter how your business goes. They are the first reason your project makes sense

"We are directly in touch with all our customers"

What are the special characteristics of your company?
Anticonf is actually more organized as a community than a company. We are directly in touch with all our customers. Being close to the riders who use our products is essential and it allows us to come up with product optimizations that make sense to our audience.
And the Anticonf community is also helping the project directly by giving a hand at the manufacture, coming with us at events etc.

What do people absolutely need to know about the market segment in which you’re active?
The innovation in the winter sport industry is limited. A big share of R&D budgets are dedicated to equipment decoration. And only a few stakeholders have the flexibility to bring real innovation.

Wakeboards and Kitesurf are the next step for Anticonf.
Wakeboards and Kitesurf are the next step for Anticonf.

"Wakeboards with the same technology"

What are the next steps in the development of your product and company?
This is a big news: we are going for wakeboards and kitesurf with the same core technology ! First prototypes were tested this summer.

To what extent have you benefited from ISPO Brandnew?Visibility and network extension where the 2 direct benefits. But ISPO also indirectly helped us in collecting feedback on our products from various stakeholders (riders, industry professionally, distributors…). And feedback is a precious gift !

"We are still in touch with many people we met at ISPO Munich"

What kind of effect has ISPO Brandnew had on your network? Have you been able to make new contacts for your further development?
We had all sorts of business contact at ISPO. Among the most valuables, we’ve been in touch with major riding industry stakeholders and raw material providers. We are still in touch with many people we met at ISPO Munich on a regular basis for upcoming business developments.

Anticonf: Facts and Platforms

Name: Anticonf
Moto: greener, lighter, stronger
Location: Switzerland
Website: www.anticonf.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anticonf.swiss.boards/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anticonf/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl8050OShIiIAO1X0HkU6kw

 

Julian Galinski
Author:
Julian Galinski
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