When did you start Rhinob?
The company was created in 2016.
What products does Rhinob make?
Mainly, we manufacture two kinds of products. We have a patent on a new kind of sock for soccer. In this patent, we have designed a compression sock and we have inserted a pocket inside that is double-sealed, which allows you to hold the shin guard in place during the game. We have also developed a new kind of shin pad that we have worked with a couple of other companies on, one of which is LINE-X, an American company that creates product that shields and makes almost any surface on the planet indestructible. LINE-X also works with the U.S. Army. On the other hand, we work with Materialise, a 3D printing company that has divisions in aeronautics and healthcare. They have great expertise in 3D printing, so we have worked with them to make the lightest and the thinnest shin guard on the market.
What inspired you to start the company?
The idea came up in a Champions League soccer game. I’m from Madrid, so a few years ago, it was the final game between Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid — I played for Atlético when I was younger. It was a very tough game, and they had to go into overtime. In overtime, the players were just dying on the field. They were having a lot of muscle problems, and that gave me the idea to start studying all the products that Nike and adidas were making for the professional players; and after a few months I realized that compression was not being used for soccer, and that really shocked me.
This is something that has been a struggle to explain to investors because we are so simple that sometimes people are suspicious. How is it possible that Nike or adidas did not come up with this idea? It’s so simple. With compression, there are a lot of medical articles that say that compression improves muscle support and joint support for athletes, so we decided to apply it to soccer, and by including the pocket, they can stop using tape to fix the shin guards. Using tape to hold shin guards is crazy. The other day in Spain, there was the Clásico, Real Madrid v. Barcelona, and the best-paid players in the planet are still fixing their shin guards with tape. We are in 2020, we have to fix that.
Are you planning to partner with a big industry giant, like an adidas or a Nike?
Yes, in the future. We are open to discuss with any brands. We are certain that this is the best solution in the market right now. So, we are open to let the people use it. We believe that this is going to be an evolution in soccer. This should be the quality standard in professional sports, but also in amateur and youth soccer, as well. People who grow up playing football should know that the shin guard has to be inserted in the pocket, and not use tape, attaching it to the ankle, which is dangerous because it promotes injuries and discomfort. It’s a simple solution.
How did you come up with the name Rhinob?
We got inspiration from the Rhinoceros Beetle. This is the strongest creature on earth. It is so small, but it can move 850 times its own body weight. So, it’s able to do amazing things, even being so small. And that’s how we picture ourselves. We know we are competing against monsters of sport like Nike or adidas or Puma, but still, we have done something that no one has ever done before.
Where does Rhinob operate?
We don’t have locations everywhere yet. We operate from Madrid and we just launched a Kickstarter campaign a few days ago. We really want to have everything ready to launch, even though we didn’t have enough time to do the homework and do the proper preparation for the Kickstarter campaign, so we are not doing things that we should have done before, but we decided we have to launch now — The year is almost ending and that was the perfect time because we are getting such crazy [good] feedback from professional clubs. Our product is automatic. You put these socks on, and you never want to go back. This is feedback from professionals who are using it. So, imagine how cool they feel, that they are using the official sock on top of the Rhinob sock and Rhinob shin guard.
Do you have to wear the Rhinob sock with the Rhinob shin guard?
Yes, for two reasons. One, the shin guard fits in the pocket absolutely perfectly. You don’t even notice you’re wearing the shin guard. The shin guard is bullet-proof and weather-resistant. I just recorded a video where I smashed the shin guard with a sledgehammer, and it didn’t even have a scratch. The shin guard is only 3mm thick and 58g. There is nothing on the market like this. We are introducing two crazy products.
Are you guys only selling online, or are you in brick-and-mortar, as well?
No, we are only online right now.
What are your target markets?
We want to let people know that we reached our first goal for our next quarter and our plan is to develop our own e-commerce and then start distributing in different countries, including the UK, Italy, and Germany. So, we’re not even in the market yet, and people are coming to us because they’re really liking how big this innovation is.
What new products will you offer in the future?
We have designed recovery socks and they have been tested by professional clubs from La Liga. These are compression recovery socks. Getafe and Betis are already testing these products.
Do you sponsor any soccer players?
Not yet. There are big names that have tested the products and love the products, but we cannot use the names because they have huge contracts with Nike and adidas… And I mean the best of the best.
Where do you see Rhinob in the next 5 years?
I would love to see Rhinob in as many countries as possible. I would love for the people to be able to try them. I know it’s going to be a huge innovation. I know that once you try these socks and see how you feel in these socks, you will never go back. So, I just want the people to know, the people who have played soccer, will instantly know what I’m saying. You will feel so much lighter — you just want to run. Our goal is to have them in stores, so we need to grow in our channels, and maybe start selling on Amazon, to make it easy for people to get the product.