Meet Simon Huntsman, Director of Development.
Simon joined our senior management team in 2019, following a long and successful tenure with leading cycling brand, Rapha. Here, Simon shares his experiences with RHEON Labs so far and explains why the perfect mix of products, partners, culture and teams is allowing us to lead the way in new product development.
“Twenty-nine years in performance sportswear led me finally into consulting. A few months in and I was enjoying the flexibility of combining challenging and varied work with the ability to spend more time with my young family. The previous 12 years had been the most incredible journey with the cycling company, Rapha. I joined at a time when all the employees (four) could sit around the same table, and left when they numbered 500 plus and Rapha was the largest cycling apparel company in the world with a reputation to match. What a ride! This incredible rise to success in a relatively short number of years was unlikely to be repeated, so I was keen to move away from cycling and head somewhere new for my next significant chapter.
I wasn’t looking for a full-time role, but bang out of the blue, RHEON Labs appeared in my inbox and I was intrigued from the off. I’d never come across anything quite like it. The people I encountered in my first meeting had extraordinary skills the like of which I’d never seen in the clothing industry. The world of engineering and material science had seemingly just arrived at the door of sportswear and I found myself being drawn in with an unstoppable force.
I sensed something unique was about to happen, and memories of those early days at Rapha flooded back.
During my time as Head of R&D at Rapha, the technology RHEON Labs brought to the table was what I had looked for but couldn’t ever find. I had known the potential was there and now, here it was. My first visit to RHEON Labs was in early 2019 when I met Stephen Bates (CEO) and Dr Dan Plant (Founder). It was a small but fast-growing business with an inspirational team of engineers, designers and material scientists. The vision to create a new proposition around ‘energy control’ was BIG. I sensed something unique was about to happen, and memories of those early days at Rapha flooded back. I could see towards a bright and wide future at RHEON Labs. The talk was about investment, scaling up and endless potential applications. The enthusiasm and excitement of the team grabbed me, and it didn’t take long for me to be hooked and I joined the team as Director of Development.
The designers and engineers in the Development team are a key driving force behind RHEON Labs. It’s a joy to work with bright, energetic and talented people each day. Leading the Development team, ensuring we have the right people working on the right projects is critical. Identifying and engaging with the right partners has proven to be a key success factor so far. The magic happens when we are aligned with our partners on multiple levels whether it be technically, from a brand perspective, or culturally. To take one recent example, the new Xenith Shadow XR helmet launched in the American football market this year. RHEON™ technology enabled Xenith to produce a helmet with ground-breaking levels of safety and in a sport where head health has become a real concern in recent years, this was a significant achievement.
The magic happens when we are aligned on multiple levels whether it be technically, from a brand perspective or culturally.
It’s exciting to think about what we can do next, who we’d like to work with and how RHEON can ‘turbo charge’ the performance of next generation products. This is what gets me up in the morning.
Ensuring we are working with the right partners and developing the best products isn’t the end of the story. Making sure RHEON Labs is a great place to be is also critical to our success. I like to think that this isn’t just a place to work but something more; a richer and deeper communal effort, with a sense of community. We are dedicated to our internal culture, including embracing a healthy and active lifestyle as part of our work. Many of us, perhaps not surprisingly given the industry we’re involved in, enjoy sport and we take time out of the week to participate together. Just one example of this is our keen cyclists taking on the challenge of the Majorca 312 together this April. No doubt the shared experience will create many good RHEON Labs memories, as well as give us food for thought for future projects. Bring it on!”