A lot of car accidents are caused by adverse weather conditions. Blinding sun is one of them. The three students Manuel Kluge, Stephan Schicht and Robert Schwippl developed an innovative solution and founded their own start-up company - Shade Wings.
We talked to the Shade Wings founders who participated in the DC-HUB Shanghai Start-up Class 2018 and who will spend a month in Shanghai this September.
Manuel, Stephan and Robert, you are the founders of Shade Wings. Why did you decide to connect and work together?
We got to know each other very early during our studies at the Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg. Each of us brings his own personal strengths and experiences to Shade Wings. Whether marketing, engineering or finance - we can cover every important aspect to be able to work strategically successful. We also combine entrepreneurial spirit and the passion to bring an innovative product on our own responsibility to the market. Shade Wings is our contribution to make the road a safer and more comfortable place - for every driver!
What inspired you to start Shade Wings?
The idea for the product Shade Wings comes from Stephan. During his studies, he commuted daily between Freiberg and his place of residence Dresden. This route is very winding, so that the sun glare changes quickly from the front and from the side. It was a near-accident, triggered by the rapidly changing visibility, that gave Stephan the idea of a retrofittable additional sun visor.
Driving is an integral part of our life. Unfortunately, we too often underestimate the dangers posed by the blinding sun and unexpectedly fast-changing light conditions. That is why we pursue the objective of making hectic car journeys to work more comfortable, long-awaited family excursions safer and laid-back outings with friends more carefree.
Which problems does Shade Wings solve exactly? And, which products and services provides Shade Wings to solve them?
Shade Wings is the world's first retrofittable sun visor. It complements the existing sun visor to provide complete protection against sun glare from the front and side simultaneously. Another special feature: Innovative components ensure high compatibility with virtually every car model. Shade Wings can be attached to the single sun visor of your car in just a few seconds. Special tools are not needed. Furthermore, Shade Wings can be operated easily and intuitively with one hand while driving. Our double sun visor can be easily stowed away when not in use so drivers can continue using their single sun visor as usual.
Good visibility is one of the basic requirements for safe driving; any visual obstruction can interfere with the task driving and pose a threat to road safety. More accidents are caused by adverse weather conditions than drivers often imagine. But it's neither the rain, fog, nor snow that present the greatest danger when driving. Blinding caused by the sun is actually responsible for 64% off all weather-related road accidents. Unexpected sun glare through the windscreen and side windows of the car considerably increase the risk of accidents. Bends in the road, avenues, houses and reflections are just some of the potential sources of glare. The risk posed by dazzling in the morning and evening hours during spring and autumn is particularly high. This is when the low sun coincides with daily rush hours. In all these situations Shade Wings offers greater driving safety than your single sun visor.
Who are your main competitors? Which advantages do you provide compared to them?
There are no direct competitors because it is a totally new product. Indirectly Shade Wings competes with car manufacturers that provide additional sun visors currently only for their premium models, not retrofittable and on top of that at much higher prices. Sunglasses can also be considered as an indirect competitor. However, from the perspective of various associations, e.g. ADAC, sunglasses are questionable and not as effective in the protection against sun glare as double sun visors.
How far are you with your product? Are you already selling it?
Shade Wings is fully developed and is about to be launched in a few months. Currently, we are negotiating with possible producers.
Are you looking for further investments? If yes, what is the most important thing prospective investors should know about your company?
Yes, additional capital is needed especially for the expansion phase. Our new product has an exceptionally high market potential. Equally important, behind the products stands an ambitious team.
You are now going to Shanghai with DC-HUB. What do you expect from this trip?
Through our stay in Shanghai, we hope to gain a strong insight into the Chinese market. In addition to many cultural aspects, we look forward to learn how to do business in China. An important part of our stay will be to make many contacts for later cooperation and to strength our international network.
What are your main goals for the next 12 months?
In the next twelve months, the market entry will take place in Germany. Starting from Germany, it will then come to an international expansion. Also additional product variants are already planned.
Thank you for the interview and have a successful trip to Shanghai!