Winter Olympians take to the slopes with ski goggles created by MIT Sloan student’s company

MBA Carlo Salmini talks about the Olympic success of Slytech Protection and Shred Optics

SlytechPhoto courtesy of Slytech Protection.

Q: Did you come up with the ‘technology’ behind Shred Optics and Slytech Protection?

Carlo: I did come up with the technology behind Slytech and I did come up with the designs behind Shred (together with Ted Ligety for the latter). All of the R&D and marketing is done inside our company, collecting ideas and basing our designs on our deep knowledge of the snow sport industry. I would say that our passion for the sport and knowledge of the industry are the real competitive advantages. We outsource manufacturing and logistics.

Slytech is a high performance protectors brand. It solves issues and gives customers the solutions they need, in order to make them improve their performance or improve their safety.

Shred has a wave of innovation in the designs that is getting exponential exposure and attention globally from consumers and media. The style is what is making the brand successful.

Q: What differentiates your brands from others?

Carlo: Slytech is ahead in the choice of materials and shapes. For the action sports line, we decided to avoid any rigid piece of plastic in our protectors, as they are always a cause of injuries, even though they should protect from them. Instead, we are using a memory cell foam that is soft when it needs to be soft (for movement), and it hardens when it needs to be hard (to protect from an impact).

Shred is ahead in the choice of colors and designs of its line of products. It brings together the best quality available that everyone needs to perform—both Olympic athletes and the general public—with the freshest product design in the industry. With Alpine skiing brands focusing only on quality, and snowboard brands focusing only on “the look,” Shred has been able to bridge that gap and provide an innovative mix of quality and design.

Q: What events in the 2010 Winter Olympics used your brand?

Carlo: The events that used my brands were:

  • Alpine Skiing: Shred supplied goggles and helmets; Slytech supplied back protectors, armguards, shin guards, protective jackets.
  • Skiercross: Shred supplied goggles and helmets; Slytech supplied back protectors.
  • Snowboard: Slytech supplied back protectors.
  • Freestyle skiing: Shred supplied goggles and helmets; Slytech supplied back protectors.

Q: Can the general public buy your brands?

Carlos: Except for shin guards and arm guards that are specifically designed for racing, all the rest of the products in the line of both brands are available and used by recreational skiers around the world.

Q: When did you launch the brands?

Carlo: I registered the Slytech trademark in the summer of 2005 and the Shred trademark in the fall of 2006.

Q: When did you start the company with gold medalist Ted Ligety?

Carlo: We started our partnership in September 2006 and launched our goggle brand at a press conference in Levi, Finland, in November of the same year. We then expanded the line, adding sunglasses and then helmets. Ted Ligety won the gold medal in the Torino 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Alpine. He then won the Giant Slalom Overall World Cup title in 2008, as well as a bronze medal in Giant Slalom at the Val d’Isere 2009 World Championships. He is considered to be one of the top five skiers in the world.

Q: When did you start at MIT Sloan? What is your focus of study here?

Carlo: I started my MBA at MIT Sloan in September 2009. MIT Sloan is giving me the tools I will need to take my company to the next level. I initially signed up for the Entrepreneurship & Innovation program, and I thought that it would have been my focus here. However, after the first week, and after consulting with Maura Herson of the Student Affairs Office, I decided to drop it in order to tailor my experience here according to my needs. I was not in the startup phase anymore, and I thought I needed a solid and rigorous foundation of finance and operations. I’ve taken amazing classes like Finance Theory 2 with Professor Asquith and I’m learning from classes and methods that make MIT unique. As an example, System Dynamics is the most exciting class I have ever taken in my life. After playing the beer game during orientation, I felt like this class was going to be one of the most important assets I would gain at MIT Sloan. It is now even exceeding my expectations and I will for sure take all the rest of the classes of the System Dynamics group before my graduation. I couldn't have asked for a better way to look, analyze, and solve complex situations and issues. I will then take advanced finance classes in order to build further knowledge and support all the important decisions that I hopefully will have to make during the rest of my career.