MIPS Acquires Fluid Inside Rotational Impact Company For $3.3 Million

May 24, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  

MIPS has acquired the Fluid Inside head protection company, whose system is currently used in the Fox Rampage Pro Carbon helmet, for USD $3.3 million.

MIPS and Fluid Inside both provide technologies to helmet companies to protect against rotational impacts but they do it in different ways. MIPS integrates a low friction slip layer whereas Fluid Inside uses a number of liquid filled pods that mimic the fluid that surrounds your brain. Fluid Inside was created through a collaboration between Oblique Technology L.P. and the University of Ottawa and has mainly been used in team sports, such as ice hockey, but recently moved over to a mountain bike helmet for the first time.


The protection sector has really heated up in the past few months with Bontrager's Wavecel claiming to be the biggest development in cycling for 30 years but then being swiftly rebuffed by MIPS, Koroyd and, earlier this month, Virginia Tech's rankings.

MIPS are claiming this acquisition will help shore up their patent protections (something they've had to defend before) and hints at a move into team sports. We're also wondering if a combination of the two systems could become another step forward for helmet safety technology in future.

bigquotesThe acquisition is primarily part of our strategic plan to increase our patent protection and is an acknowledgment of our position as the world leader in brain protection systems within helmet-based safety. We are also very enthusiastic about strengthening our relationship with University of Ottawa and to further increase our knowledge within team sports.Max Strandwitz, CEO of MIPS

The acquisition amounts to approximately USD $3.3 million with an additional earn-out of a maximum of USD $2 million based on future net revenues.


107 Comments

  • 166 9
 My phone autocorrects it to nips
  • 27 233
flag lognar (May 24, 2019 at 12:09) (Below Threshold)
 Cool story bro. Got anything else useless to tell us? How is your mom?
  • 12 149
flag Armalite (May 24, 2019 at 12:20) (Below Threshold)
 @lognar:

Too many downvotes. My sentiments are shared, though!
  • 68 1
 Ignore the haters! This is the stuff that matters and I thank you for bringing it to my attention Puddinghead. Good work!
  • 17 27
flag WAKIdesigns (May 24, 2019 at 12:32) (Below Threshold)
  • 34 1
 i love MIPS slips.
  • 26 3
 @lognar: I too am interested in seeing how his mom is doing.
  • 6 1
 Word to your mother My phone autocorrected word to wood
  • 3 1
 yeah how dare you say a funny thing
  • 1 4
 dick
  • 8 3
 I still jerk off manually.
  • 2 2
 @JohanG: Ah heh, ha ha. Of course you do.
  • 3 9
flag wakiisapuddinghead (May 25, 2019 at 2:26) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: get over yourself. It's only pushbikes. I'll leave the rest to your small minded imagination.

Anything is better than your dribble.

And helmet technology needs to improve... This is a good thing.

You should be ashamed of dragging everything to the depth of your lack of level.
  • 4 1
 @dobermon: I'm staying well out of that f*ck fest!
  • 2 0
 POC Rectal Race Spin has liquid too
  • 2 0
 @chyu: i don’t want that helmet
  • 9 5
 It takes a bit closer look at MIPS liner to understand why they did this. MIPS started the movement and let the geenie out of the bottle. Because their system was silly simple others started innovating and beat them at their own game. Off course at that time the market was won. A yellow sticker saying that a yellow piece of plastic is inside and price can be bumped up by 20-50€. And people love buying stuff with stickers speaking to higher values, 1% for rainforest, fair trade, organic and what not. How much truth is behind these stickers is irrelevant, they just make people feel better about their choices, especially if they get to spend a bit more, so they fee they just made the world a better place with their hard earned dollars. Any market psychology specialist will tell you that. So now: oh I spent a bit more on Mips sticker, me and my family are safer, we are responsible, oxytocin has been released, the tribal glands have been satisfied. You feel ahead of the evolution. Dopamine is now released, reward systems are flashing.

But the yellow layer was not perfect fromtge beginning. It was turning otherwise well ventilated helmets into piss pots and it was giving eczeem to bald people. So they started making more cut outs which started defying the purpose. Meanwhile POC and a few more made slip planes into something that’s always been in helmets: padding.

So now, Mips will create a new low cost product and call it MIPS3.0 and charge more than plastic slip plane and call it even better at preventing brain damage from rotational forces. They have so much money now that they will take yet one more Swedish PhD student to make a not so independent research confirming that.
  • 59 2
 This can be good or bad. Mips is reducing the competition here instead of innovating themselves. Hopefully they push the limits of it and don't just sit back and spend marketing dollars instead of R&D dollars. We'll see.
  • 28 1
 My thoughts exactly. Hopefully this will lead to safer helmets. I do worry about tech getting bought and thrown in the trash just to reduce competition.
  • 6 0
 I agree - I see the two as working in a similar way despite the statement that they are different. Both surely achieve a small degree of cushioning and slip, and a helmet manufacturer could play one off against the other with pricing?
This strikes me as a way of absorbing similar tech. Could make it more common and cheaper (particularly if it ends up mainstream) or it may keep prices artificially high... I suspect the latter but we will never know!
  • 7 8
 They are practicing at suing too
  • 21 1
 It is usually bad. Especially when they mention patents. They pretty much invented the market (which IMO is a fake problem they are addressing, but nvm), saw other competitors beating them at their own game, and now want to get as much patents as they can, sue other competitors, corner the market, raise prices. Everyone now will want a "safer" helmet. And of course, they postulated "safer"="has our technology". Reduced competition cannot benefit the consumer in any case.
  • 12 3
 The biz world is getting monopolized...and hardly anyone is noticing...or at least saying anything. But Gov and anyone in the stock markets have a conflict of interest in doing anything about it. Mildly refreshing to see some hint in this article...and that there are others here that are noticing. This acquisition is nothing more than market control.
  • 12 2
 Companies aren't angels, but some of the replies to this comment are overly pessimistic. Not many companies will throw millions at an acquisition just to bury it. Logically, if the technology is good, they want to buy it to use it and make better products (better performing, better value, etc) - so they can sell more and make more money. If the technology is bad, it will kill itself - why waste the money? It will certainly be about strengthening their company and marketing position overall, but that doesn't have to be nefarious.
  • 1 2
 @Archimonde: BOG! Za dom spremni!
  • 6 0
 @tj7mesh: But it is, ultimately.
  • 16 3
 @loopie: I stand corrected, it's nefarious. Your persuasive argument has won me over.
  • 3 1
 The press release statement on their own website says - “The acquisition is primarily part of our strategic plan to continue to be the world leader in brain protection systems within helmet-based safety.” The part about patent protection not included, I don’t know if it was there to begin with?

Anyway, USD 3.3 million isn’t much to get rid of a competitor/take control over and quietly retire a cheaper and well (better?) performing patent, if that is their actual goal with the purchase.
  • 4 0
 @tj7mesh: No more or less persuasive than "doesn't have to be nefarious". OK, it isn't.
  • 8 4
 @tj7mesh: Lets try this one...haha...

"Not many companies will throw millions at an acquisition just to bury it."...but they did.
"the technology is good"...bonus.
"buy it to use it and make better products "...that's nice.
.".. - so they can sell more and make more money."...I wish them massive success and all the material possessions their hearts desire....and billions to hand down to their special children, can't forget that.
"If the technology is bad, it will kill itself - why waste the money?"...it doesn't seem to be. The accountant figured it's cheaper to buy them out than compete.
"It will certainly be about strengthening their company and marketing position overall, but that doesn't have to be nefarious."....Ready for it? But. it. is. ...at least until proven otherwise. Mark my words....they might bury one of the techs, but probably not. They'll sell one as Premium and one as Mid-level...each at the max price the market will bear....a.k.a.: monopolization...market control...price fixing via competition elimination.

I say...overly optimistic Sir...rose colored glasses...magical fairy dust...
  • 3 0
 @animatedcorpse: Interesting. The the ultimate goal is to have more money for them. And to do that they can try in many different ways, as it doesn't have to be one. In this case it is obviously a move to corner the market as more eloquently said by other poster. So a patent arms race is just one of the first steps in suing your competitors, to force them out of business, or out of market you are on. Then jack up the prices. Who pays for this? Customers of course. Even if you never buy their product you'll pay at least in part for it. This happened mostly in the IT industry I'm from, and still going on. It is terrible, immoral and bad for everyone, and nobody should cheer for them or buy their products while we still have a choice. Them being very open about being hostile to others is what is a bit surprising in this industry. Remember this comment when they start suing other helmet manufacturers in due time.
  • 8 3
 @loopie: Yep maybe I think the glass is half-full, and rose-tinted, and you think it's half empty. What we think doesn't change what's actually in the glass though! Smile Free market competition is what generated the innovations and led to now multiple options. MIPS, Fluid, Wavecell, others. Part of companies growing is buying/selling/licensing technologies, it happens all the time. They are fighting to be competitive, gain an edge, make money, and take market share. Sometimes that gets out of control if a company has too much power, but jeez man we're not talking about global monopolies here. And you have to look at why Fluid sold too! Why did they sell out their amazing technology only to have it buried? Maybe it's only half developed and needs more money than they had to realize it's potential, and MIPS can help realize their dreams. Maybe they don't have enough resources to commercialize it and market it so we know how great it is, but MIPS can help with that with their greater size? We don't know the details but assuming the intent is nefarious and the consequences will be bad is just grumpy speculation. Much more likely (though not guaranteed) is that MIPS is looking to augment their portfolio, combining technologies, or positioning them Mid and Premium like you suggested...nothing inherently wrong with that. It's not like no one's every going to come up with another innovation to challenge them! Sorry but claiming they now have a global monopoly on helmet concussion technology is waaaaaay too much of a stretch.
  • 3 0
 @tj7mesh: i have no horse in this fight but there is definitely a way to paint this as a market control strategy.

Let's say MIPS and Fluid are almost identical in how good they are but Fluid is 2% more expensive, and maybe they have some management issues. These factors could be enough to be the reason for selling the company. MIPS comes and buys it up. But why should they continue to develop a tech that costs more and is a different type of technology from what they already are familiar with, when the results are the same. It makes plenty of sense to spend some change to bury a competitor.
  • 1 0
 @lognar: This is a blatant metaphor for so many great ideas that have been bought and thrown in the trash. I couldn’t agree more.
  • 2 0
 @loopie: ask EA why they spend much to be the exclusive NFL game maker.

And I am looking at a snowboard helmet that's less then $100 that has fluid inside I guess I better buy before it gets yanked off the shelf.

I thought it would be nice to have some fluid pads in my helmet instead a ratty piece of plastic that slides around.
  • 3 1
 @BhamRid3r: Oh I agree, it's possible. I just don't think it's likely, and no one here has presented evidence that makes that the most likely conclusion. All this talk of monopolies and cornering the market - let's have a reality check here. Every good helmet company in the world is rushing to address concussion, head trauma, CTE etc. Billion dollar lawsuits are flying in team sports. Motorsports helmets alone is a massive industry - those companies aren't all sitting back waiting for someone else's new helmet technology to crush their business. The idea that MIPS can afford to buy and bury every competing innovation that will emerge is quite a stretch.
  • 5 0
 @tj7mesh:

Exactly. The company is MIPS, not Apple sitting on $245 billion dollars of reserves.
  • 1 0
 Absolutely a combination of the two would be awesome.
  • 2 4
 @landscapeben: just use coconut oil...
  • 2 0
 MIPs is a $400m Market cap company that prints money. They generated $6+m in profit after tax I believe last year. The only thing that would stop the printing press is a cheaper rival.... Just sayin'
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: already do... in more than one way Wink
  • 1 0
 Or a company brings aftermarket pads as POC spin or fluid to replace your current fit pads? Outside the patent using same tech just shipped from outside patent regions.
  • 1 0
 @enduroFactory: if MIPS will now sue POC I will make it into an online hell for them...
  • 1 0
 @tj7mesh: Fair enough points by all....it's getting noticed and becoming a point of conversation once in a while is the good thing. I do use the word 'monopoly' for exaggerated affect..guilty
  • 36 2
 Pick a helmet technology and be a dick about it.
  • 3 6
 Coming soon to an Adult Novelty store near you...."Fluid Outside Protection for your Helmet! (patent pending)"
  • 13 0
 I'm old, and slow and I have a new born son. So, I don't care if it's 1% or 2% safer, if it gives me better odds to survive a crash, then I'll pay for it. So bring on MIPS Fluid combo and take my money
  • 28 6
 I am waiting for a helmet liner rolling on ball bearings
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: well, I'd buy it.
  • 2 1
 6D!
  • 16 1
 Fuck MIPS, just slap loads of chamois cream on your bonce for reduced rotational friction.
  • 5 1
 Agreed. Don't like the way they're handling themselves as a company. Deliberately look for helmets without it now.
  • 15 0
 Soooo... Fluid Inside is superior then....
  • 10 2
 We need better linear deceleration. Rotational movement has been addressed pretty well. Slowing deceleration is the best way to keep concussions away.
  • 3 0
 Agreed, but there is a limit to how much it is possible to reduce linear deceleration, as there is only so much distance between the head and helmet shell. Also, it is impossible to optimise absorption for all impact speeds, which is why a DOT helmet is less safe than a MTB one for slow speed crashes. There's a lot going on...
  • 2 0
 @getonyourbike: That's BS, go look at the actual acceleration levels for DOT VS ASTM DH. They're basically the same.
  • 7 2
 Do what the rest of us do and just don't go as fast.
  • 1 3
 @fullfacemike: just because you can do something to offset the lack of available tech, doesn’t mean tech can’t or shouldn’t be pushed further. But yes, In the meantime of course that’s a sensible choice.
  • 5 0
 @cyrways: It was a self-deprecating joke, man. I fully stand behind MIPS, Fluid Inside, and any technology that allows us to enjoy our sport as safely as possible. I also fully stand behind going hella fast so a good helmet is a must.
  • 3 0
 @getonyourbike: Have you seen Spaceballs? We could all look like Lord Helmet!
  • 1 0
 @cmuell89: Honestly I'd take a bigger helmet over a sleeker but less protective one (less ability to "reduce linear deceleration", I guess?) any day
  • 1 0
 @bikesandfun: Oh I totally agree. Protection over looks any day when it comes to the noggin.
  • 5 1
 can we get a review on the lazer cyclone mips asap please? i dont like spending a lot on something thats bin fodder when it does its job, but at the same time concussions suck and id like to never have another. as highlighted in the virginia tech ranking article, it may be the safest but how comfy/ventilated/overall easy to live with is it?

i feel im more interested in that than a 300 quid helmet, even if it was 2% safer. which apparently its not.
  • 2 0
 The advantage that the silly yellow liner (mips) seems to have over these other systems, is any point of impact activates the anti rotation system, Fluid or Spin, look like you are relying on the impact to be ON where those fluid pods are. Mips probably buying it, so they can kill it, and replace with MIPS. They probably lost $3m in one year by losing Fox as a customer, so, they will get this money back quick by forcing their system into brands they lost to Fluid....
  • 4 0
 Ah, MIPS is using the good ol' Red Bull method.

"If you can't HAVE it, BUY it"
  • 3 0
 I cant tell how Fluid is any different than POC’s Spin cause, its the same freakin thing....How are they allow to use it without a lawsuit is beyond me
  • 2 0
 At $3.3MM, they were likely in it to sell and not improve the long term safety of helmets. MIPS got this cheap and eliminated a competitor. Smart business decision for MIPS.
  • 1 0
 In the days of hard shell suspension and Spandex-covered ice chest helmets, I remember a press release for a bike helmet with Spenco gel pads inside. I never saw the helmet, but maybe they were on to something.
  • 4 0
 They aquired the recipie for flubber.
  • 1 0
 That’s all they paid? Seems fairly cheap! I wonder why Fox just didn’t buy them out to keep for themselves? A collaboration between MIPS and Fluid Inside would be pretty cool!
  • 1 0
 3.3 mil seems like a bargain. As long as 6D remains in the other corner then the competition will continue to benefit riders.
  • 1 1
 Well, that assumes they can make a comfortable helmet. Their helmet creates serious pressure points on my head. Giro on the other hand. . . Now if Giro could make a lighter Switchblade with Wavecell tech. . .
  • 5 6
 They purchased Fluid inside because unlike MIPS it looks like it makes sense, there is not one shred of credible evidence that suggests that MIPS works. Speak to any expert on the matter and they say skin does the job that MIPS was designed to do.. fluid inside looks more credible as it looks like it will absorb energy - This is the key to a reduction in brain injuries.
  • 7 0
 Well, the linked study on this page ranks a MIPs helmet as the least likely to give you a concussion so.....
  • 1 0
 Wenn also have fluid between our brain and skull- it Just makes sense to use something that absorbs the impact. Im going to get the Fox helmet one sale just in case MIPS blocks the production of it.
  • 2 0
 "there is not one shred of credible evidence that suggests that MIPS works"
You really like talking out of your ass, dont you...
  • 2 0
 “Speak to any expert on the matter and they say skin does the job that MIPS was designed to do.“

So I see people say this all the time but I’ve never once seen someone link to an actual expert saying that. Do you have a source?
  • 2 0
 @Hillbillyf*cker not sure about you but the skin on my forehead only moves so far.
  • 2 0
 @zyoungson : Can confirm. I just checked. Forehead skin only moves so far.
  • 3 0
 @iammarkstewart: I don't know, my foreskin moves pretty far. Oh, wait. . . .
  • 2 0
 @Blablablup123:
Easy Tiger: check this out from Helmet.org and Snell before you go giving me grief.

Helmets.org/snell are independent - no industry affiliation.

Snell Foundation testing shows no improvement

Snell testing reveals no performance gain with MIPS

In 2018 the Snell Foundation's Bill Muzzy presented to ASTM's F08.53 subcommittee the results of Snell testing of MIPS performance using a linear impactor and offset (oblique) impacts. Snell tested a MIPS and non-MIPS version of the same Specialized helmet. Their results with full details will be published in a journal soon.

Snell dropped their 5kg guided impactor onto a helmeted Hybrid III headform and neck, impacting the helmet sides to achieve an oblique transmission of energy. The MIPS layer activated and moved. They used both flat and hemispheric impactors, and measured both linear and rotational acceleration. They hit each location twice. Helmet straps were tight. They chose the locations based on a Harborview study of the most likely impact locations on bicycle helmets.

Snell's data showed no significant improvement in the MIPS helmet's performance over the non-MIPS model. In some cases the non-MIPS model performed better.
  • 1 0
 @sdurant12:
Yep Helmets.org/snell -
Snell Foundation testing shows no improvement

Snell testing reveals no performance gain with MIPS

In 2018 the Snell Foundation's Bill Muzzy presented to ASTM's F08.53 subcommittee the results of Snell testing of MIPS performance using a linear impactor and offset (oblique) impacts. Snell tested a MIPS and non-MIPS version of the same Specialized helmet. Their results with full details will be published in a journal soon.

Snell dropped their 5kg guided impactor onto a helmeted Hybrid III headform and neck, impacting the helmet sides to achieve an oblique transmission of energy. The MIPS layer activated and moved. They used both flat and hemispheric impactors, and measured both linear and rotational acceleration. They hit each location twice. Helmet straps were tight. They chose the locations based on a Harborview study of the most likely impact locations on bicycle helmets.

Snell's data showed no significant improvement in the MIPS helmet's performance over the non-MIPS model. In some cases the non-MIPS model performed better.
  • 1 0
 @zyoungson:
Fluid INSIDE SOLUTION - makes sense - MIPS unfortunately is marketing based - genius but genius marketing not science... why did POC drop it? Why did fox use Fluid inside instead...because it works great on a crash test dummy but not in real live situations - see my reply to sdurant12 above for helmets.org/snell comments on effectiveness of MIPS.
  • 3 0
 Beer Belly - Fluid inside.
  • 3 0
 All my helmets have a rotational plane, it is called my hair.
  • 2 0
 innovation through acquisition. at least now MIPS will offer something that actually does something other than cost more
  • 1 0
 Wear your full face. Smashed my nose on a rock recently as a reminder I am stupid riding an xc lid when I have a proframe at home.
  • 1 0
 The picture looks like the patented 1st April fool joke of Urge Helmets :-) : www.facebook.com/urgebikeproducts/posts/2194022067310189
  • 1 0
 New saftey tech just after Damien Oton crash news? i see what you did here...
  • 1 0
 It's not new tech, it's been released in mountain biking a few months ago in the new Fox RPC. This post is about a company aquisition, not about helmet technology
  • 2 0
 That's cool and all but where's their report on WaveCel?
  • 2 0
 6D ODS system already far ahead.
  • 1 2
 Hardly-that system has massive increase in weight-which increases speed INTO the impact, it is also too large and the rubber elastomers seem like they would have too much rebound quality-forcing the brain back. Not a proven system for high speed impact.
  • 1 0
 So mips buys fluid which is same as POC spin ?
Or do fluid & spin work differently
  • 2 0
 MIPS is a patent troll. Not surprised they acquire more patents here.
  • 1 0
 3.3...hmmm looks a lot like 33
  • 1 0
 Either squashing the comp or this stuff works real good for that price tag
  • 1 0
 Looks like a buy to kill... Will be waiting to see.
  • 1 0
 Fluid inside looks basically the same as POC's "spin"?
  • 1 0
 Liquid loose helmet technology
  • 2 0
 Moops! It says Moops!
  • 1 0
 This is awesome !
  • 1 0
 Neat
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