From Investment Banking to Sustainable Bike Helmets: Meet David Maroko

By: Ari Spillerman

Not working on bike helmets. But once I got the chance to sit down with David, it became clear that what he is doing is about much more than simply making helmets. David’s new venture, the Dada helmet, is how he is sharing his lifelong passions for biking, sustainability, and changing the world.

Today, David sees bikes, scooters, and other such forms of urban transportation as the future of a sustainable world. It is one of the many reasons why he and Rebecca are such avid bikers. Living in Luxembourg, biking makes navigating the crowded, urban environment much more manageable. Even more, biking gives them a way to connect and interact with people in their community like no other.

It was once David and Rebecca began to look for bike helmets, they ran into a problem. They searched everywhere, but could not find a helmet that was high quality, looked good, and was constructed of sustainable materials. For people like David and Rebecca who use their bike every day, and want a quality, sustainable helmet, what are they going to wear?

Well, David decided to research this topic and soon realized that the answer is pretty simple — they don’t. He explained to me that only one out of every four riders wear helmets. This is especially alarming since, in the case of an accident, helmets reduce major brain trauma by 70%. In an urban environment where bikes and scooters are sharing the roads with many cars and pedestrians, these accidents can happen at any moment. David believes this lack of use is due to an absence of quality helmets available on the market. And instead of waiting for one to become available, David and Rebecca set out to create a helmet of their own.

When designing the helmet, they wanted to make sure the focus was entirely on the comfort of the rider. It is why they opted to use premium vegan leather for the helmet’s straps and padding. Instead of the clumsy plastic buckle you are used to on a bike helmet, they incorporated a completely magnetic buckle. This allows for the rider to take off the helmet much more easily, as well as providing more comfort than a traditional buckle allows for. They decided to use an inner shell constructed entirely out of biodegradable sugar cane, with an outer shell of recycled polycarbonate. Every component of the helmet is sustainably produced. David and Rebecca were even careful to handpick factories and workshops around Europe that ensure that the stakeholders and individuals involved in the manufacturing process receive fair salaries, comply with principles of gender equality, and give workers reasonable work hours in the best conditions possible.

The Dada helmet represents the combining of David’s passion for biking, along with his passion for sustainability and making the world a better place.

Now that the Dada helmet is created, the next step is funding the launch of the product. Raising funds is often the most difficult part of a startup’s life, which can make or break a company. David explains that there are many ways to do so, however, for his product, crowdfunding is the best fit.

For anyone who is not familiar with crowdfunding, it allows entrepreneurs to raise funds needed through the use of an online campaign. In the campaign, a startup posts its product for individuals to purchase pre-production. Once they hit their target amount raised, the company can begin production of its product, and the donors will then be the first to receive it. David explains that this is a great way to launch a startup for many reasons. Especially for a tangible product like the Dada, production is expensive, so crowdfunding allows for a company to deliver their product to consumers without having to pay any of these production costs up front. Additionally, the startup does not have to give up any equity as they would with venture capital. This allows the company to raise funds while still maintaining freedom for the company. .