ZipCov’s Tank Protector Spotlight: A Guest Blog by Borås INK

Now you can protect your motorcycle’s fuel tank from scratches while driving with the help of ZipCov. The solution, which is under patent application, consists of a clip covered in textile that is clamped onto the lower part of the jacket’s zipper. The founder Isaak Martinez Benavides obtained his MC driving license in 2016 and has developed the Tank Protector product, which offers a quick and easy solution that prevents unnecessary scratches on the tank and frustration for motorcyclists.

Now spring is on its way and after a long winter, it’s finally time to get out on the roads again. In connection with this, the incubator company ZipCov is launching its patent-pending product “Tank Protector” to protect the fuel tank from scratches from the jacket’s zipper. The Tank Protector is a clip covered in a softshell textile that is placed on the lower part of the jacket’s zipper.

– In May 2020 I had bought a brand new Ducati Supersport S and took it out on a first ride of the season. When I got home I realized that I had scratched the fuel tank with the lower part of the zipper on the jacket – even though I had a tank pad on the tank. In this case the tank pad was not enough to protect the tank from scratches, says Isaak Martinez Benavides.

Then the idea arose to find an own solution to avoid scratches in the future. He tried putting a classic reflective clip on the lower part of the zipper but wanted to cover it in a textile material. Isaak got help from his father to develop the clip into a first prototype covered in textile. Isaak himself is an engineer and has no textile background but his grandmother was a seamstress and she taught Isaak’s father to operate the sewing machine. The prototype turned out so well that he felt it could be further developed into a business idea.

ZipCov Product

The idea became a business

Isaak realized that if he wanted to take the product from hobby level to starting a business, he would have to manufacture his own type of plastic clip. In that connection, he came into contact with a student at Chalmers who was knowledgeable in 3D printing and who ran a company that manufactured plastic parts. After a few twists and turns, they had managed to develop a working plastic clamp for the purpose. A contact in Uddevalla took him further with the textile cover, but then unexpected problems arose.

– My contact in Uddevalla had the ambition to help but had to withdraw due to personal reasons. The idea was that he would produce the product but now he was no longer available. At the same time, the student who had helped me take out the plastic clip stopped answering. Now I stood there with an almost finished product but had no one who could manufacture it for me, says Isaak.

Isaak called around to a large number of different companies and people in the hope that someone would be able to help him further but no one was interested. The fact that Isaak wanted to continue working on the product under a confidentiality agreement between the parties was one of the reasons for that. Then he came into contact with the ecosystem that exists to support innovative entrepreneurs, and via a series of meetings with YesBox, Almi, Nyföretagarcentrum, Innovatum and Drivhuset in Borås, he was tipped off about the incubator Borås INK. It was only then that things really started to happen, but it wasn’t easy.

– Since both Borås INK and Almi require a business idea to be innovative in order to receive support, I needed to prove the level of innovation in my product. At first there were some challenges and it was therefore uncertain whether my company (ZipCov) could be accepted as an incubator company. It was a very nervous period but after a few weeks they got in touch and said. We believe in YOU and want to give YOU an opportunity with us. It was very flattering, I was super happy to become an incubator company at Borås INK. As an incubator company, I have learned to take things in order and to be patient, even though it has been extremely frustrating to have to wait, sometimes up to several months, to be able to move on. By this it had already been three years since I came up with the idea, says Isaak.

With the incubator’s coaching, Isaak understood that things would take time to ensure that the idea was protected. It is a challenge that all innovative ideas struggle with and that can be experienced as frustrating. When Zipcov was approved by Almi, the company received support to investigate if a similar product already existed by doing a search in different patent databases. After that Borås INK supported with a market survey to evaluate how big the demand was for a product the solves the problem with scratches on the fuel tank.

– Through Borås INK, I have received support from Vinnova to do both market research and then an IP strategy, i.e. a study to see how we can protect the product, says Isaak.

ZipCov The Tank Protector

Available for purchase at several major retailers

Now the trademark, patent and design protection applications have been submitted and the product has just been launched. ZipCov’s Tank Protector is now available at three major retailers of motorcycle clothing in Gothenburg. The goal is to reach out to all retailers, primarily in Europe and then the USA. ZipCov keeps its doors open for interested partners.

The target group is mainly drivers of sports motorcycles, there are approximately 16 million of these registered in Europe and the USA. Isaak therefore sees good potential to reach a large market with his product. After the launch, Isaak wants to expand his team. In the first stage, he sees a need for someone who can help with administration, order processing and finances.

One of the things Isaak values most about the collaboration with Borås INK is the large network.

– Throughout the journey, I have gained valuable contacts through Borås INK, such as the supplier who produces the product. They have made several minor but necessary changes to the product that were needed to be able to industrialize it before the launcht, all unconditionally because they believe in the product. It has greatly facilitated and gives a different weight to the contact when you mention that you are an incubator company. In the last year, I have felt that this would never have been possible without Borås INK, I was thinking big, but they helped me to think 1000 times bigger. I have received a lot of help from everyone at Borås INK, but especially from my business developer Mats Ekman, says Isaak, who also wants to extend a warm thank you to everyone who helped him on the way to the launch.

We wish Isaak and ZipCov the best of luck with the launch and continue to follow the continued journey with excitement!

(Article written by Borås INK)