A visit to the Olympic Games 2000 in Australia changed an awful lot. Walter Ruffner, Swiss, owner of a plastics injection moulding company and passionate inventor, couldn't find a single travel adapter in the whole of Sydney despite intensive searching and absolute necessity. He had hardly returned home when he was considering to develop a travel adapter which could be used worldwide.
The company founding
Using the first production samples of the World Adapter Classic, he visited innumerable trade fairs and was met with a lot of interest, but no clear direction. However, when he met sales professional Sam Gerber at the Orbit in Basle in September 2001, things started happening fast. Sam Gerber and Walter Ruffner spent a long time on the phone the same evening, and two days later they met for their first discussions. Walter Ruffner, responsible for R&D, patents and production brought Christian Schnell and his brother Markus Ruffner in as a second and third founding member for the administration and finance sectors, and as early as February 2002 they founded the WorldConnect AG, which is today the owner of the SKROSS brand name.
The first steps
Within a very short time, the World Adapter Classic developed into a worldwide sales hit. Exports into more than 60 countries confirmed that high quality, multifunctional and simultaneously safe and compact travel adapters attract considerable interest all over the world. WorldConnect AG grew to be a company trading around the world and employing staff in different countries. The range of products has been extended continuously. In addition to the World Adapter Classic, other travel adapters which can be used around the world have appeared in addition to country-specific plugs and USB chargers. Also, in 2008, Walter Ruffner had the idea for the first 3-pin, earthed and super-compact World Adapter which was called PRO.
Strategic co-operation with Noventa
In 2010, WorldConnect entered into a strategic co-operation agreement with the renowned Swiss company “Noventa”. Noventa is with around 300 employees a mid-size company specialized in product development, industrialization and production. It produces for such well-known companies as Nestlé, Grohe, CWS and Bernina. Therefore, the production of all SKROSS adapters was moved from a source in China to Noventa’s ISO 9001 certified factory in Thailand as one of the first steps of the co-operation. Additionally, the headquarter of WorldConnect moved from Zug to Diepoldsau in the Rhine valley, which is also the home of Noventa. Also in 2010 Walter Ruffner and WorldConnect signed an exclusive contract which allows WorldConnect to use all relevant patents from Walter Ruffner worldwide. Walter Ruffner is holding more than 15 different patents in this adapter field and these patents have proven one of the keys for the great success of WorldConnect so far.
Since 2013, Noventa is in control of the majority of shares of WorldConnect, which guarantees all partners and customers that WorldConnect has not only an ideal, but also a sustainable and long-term oriented set up.
The consistent consideration of international safety standards, which is at the foreground in all product development, and uncompromising compliance with the highest requirements on quality and reliability has established WorldConnect AG as one of the market leaders over the last few years. The company is meanwhile represented in more than 100 countries and its products are available on more than 10’000 Points of Sale worldwide. Recently, WorldConnect has redefined its corporate strategy slightly. The focus of the company activities still lies on selling its patented adapters, but additionally other products covering mobile needs of travelers (such as e.g. chargers, batteries and cables) are being sourced and sold, too.