By Christian Smith
In a final push before bringing its collapsible, baseball cap-style helmets to market, Park & Diamond launched an Indiegogo campaign on Tuesday ー and hit its goal of $50,000 within an hour.
The company, which was founded in 2015, makes helmets shaped like baseball caps in a safety-first effort to encourage riders to wear protective gear while cycling or taking other modes of alternative transport, co-founder and CEO Jordan Klein said Tuesday in an interview on Cheddar.
"We really are going after people who traditionally would not be a helmet user," he said.
It's a cause that is especially important to David Hall, the company's other co-founder and president. Hall's sister went into a four-month-long coma after she was hit by a car while biking at the corner of Park and Diamond streets near Virginia Tech's campus. It was that very accident that led Hall and Klein, then both engineering students at the university, to create their company with the goal of reducing the 85,000 severe traumatic brain injuries that result each year from cycling accidents in the U.S.
"We interviewed thousands of people after Rachel's accident, and we found that people don't wear helmets because they're uncomfortable, they're ugly, and then most importantly they're not collapsible; you can't take them everywhere you need to go," Klein said.
While it may have been a biking accident that launched the idea for Park & Diamond, Klein said the company has other ambitions.
"We may have started around Dave's personal story ー around bike helmets ー but really we're passionate about alternative transportation and safe alternative transportation," Klein said.
Klein and Hall have been in contact with many mobility companies ー including Uber and Lime ー since Park & Diamond was founded. Ultimately, the co-founders want to forge partnerships to spread their mission of safety.
Park & Diamond's helmet is available for pre-order on the company's website for $79.
For full interview click here.