A selection of winter-sports helmets lined up on a shelf with cardboard boxes in the background

Under the lid

Meeting extreme demands

Pioneer in winter-sports helmets Ruroc needed a pioneer in banking to understand its unique business model and support its rapid expansion.

Ruroc’s story

Ruroc is the world’s first developer of a fully integrated helmet, goggle and mask system for winter sports, and is now moving into motorcycling. It has a dedicated following, with 85% of its sales direct to customers. Those fans share Ruroc’s passion for its products and expect swift results – often ordering kit for next-day delivery around the world.

On top of this demand, the seasonal nature of winter sports meant that cashflow was a major constraint on the company, so it needed a bank that really understood its position, business model, challenges and ambition.

Watch Ruroc’s story here and read a Q&A with founder and CEO Dan below.

Why was Ruroc set up?
We were first to the market with a system that seamlessly connects the goggles, mask, the visor, everything, as one single piece. It’s one of the highest-certified helmets for skiing and snowboarding. We developed and engineered it in the UK out of pure necessity – a system that would permanently remove fog from condensation and protect your face. 15 to 20 years ago, nobody was wearing a helmet, but there is now a real need for protection. It’s starting to become law in certain areas. What we’re doing is really taking that to the next level.

What makes Ruroc’s helmets different from others on the market?
We have a patent pending for a magnetic system that allows you to remove the lenses really easily, but also lock them down. It’s a 2-to-3-second lens change time, but you can mechanically retain it, so you just won’t lose it.

With most of your sales direct to consumers, how do you keep in touch with them?
Social media has been key to the growth of Ruroc. We have a fan base of over 1 million people. What we found is a lot of brands essentially ignore the people who are responding to their posts, and leave them unanswered. We respond and engage with those people, and we get so much out of them.

Every employee in the company gets a notification if there’s a review that comes in that’s below 5 stars. Keeping the customer happy and keeping the product quality high is essential to the brand.

Your customers are based all over the world. What challenges does that present?
Mainly having the finance and the facilities in place so we can order the stock to be on time for our customers. We need the cash really far in advance of our customers coming to us.

We called around 4 or 5 different banks about this. Some just didn’t understand our needs and our business model at all, others showed an interest but failed to respond.

What about us?
Barclays got genuinely excited, and put us in touch with the high-growth team. They got on board instantly.

We worked with our Relationship Manager, one on one, over several meetings, over several weeks, to really understand the brand, the business and what we were trying to achieve. Since then, we’ve been able to double our revenues, increase our profitability considerably and increase our team from just 7 people in 2016 to 35 across 4 countries.

Barclays’ high-growth team really understands entrepreneurs.

What are your plans for the future?
We want to be all over the globe with the Ruroc brand. We’ve got 3 new products on the horizon, and our plan is to grow into the motorcycling market, downhill mountain biking, cycling and a whole host of action sports that require serious protection.

We’re also aiming to tackle South Korea, Japan and China.

A person sits in front of a computer looking at images of a design for a sports helmet
A prototype of a sports helmet beside a pair of ski goggles on a workbench

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