When it comes to lighting everything from chicken coops to hospitals, entrepreneur Sean Murray says that his company’s LED systems are the wave of the future.
Ottawa-based Arkalumen Inc. was founded three and a half years ago, but spent its first two and a half years on research and development. It wasn’t until last fall that it found its niche in selling its unique LED lights and accompanying control system to independent light manufacturers.
Those manufacturers “weren’t able to switch from fluorescent to LED efficiently,” Murray, the CEO of the firm, explains. “We have a wide array of light engines that provide high performance light output as well as our control system that allows them to adapt to any situation possible.”
Smaller manufacturers aren’t electrical engineers and often can’t afford to invest in creating the complicated systems needed for LED lights, he adds. Whereas fluorescent lights just require ballast, LEDs need a small computer to work. But the pressure to move to LED lighting across many industries is mounting.
There are more than 10,000 markets in lighting, Murray says. “Every one of those markets is switching to LED for a different reason and at a different time.”
Like chicken coops, for example. Hydro companies are providing farmers with incentives to lower their electrical requirements, and switching to LED lights in the barn is one good way to do that. Also, the lights can be programmed to turn on and off in a sequence that is as long as 60 days. That can be optimized to the farmer’s preference for feeding the chickens.
“We are developing an iPad app for the farmer to control when he wants the lights on and off over a 60-day cycle,” Murray says. “He just presses go and then he doesn’t have to worry about the lights anymore.”
Currently in a fundraising round and hoping to attract angels or venture capitalist to pitch in between $500,000 and $1 million, Arkalumen isn’t counting its eggs before they hatch. It already saw its systems integrated in a pilot project at a major Toronto hospital. Anywhere that energy efficiency is important and doing less maintenance desirable, LED lights will be appealing and those customers will start demanding it from independent manufacturers.
“We are giving them a brain in every light,” Murray says. “One master control and they can control all of the lights.”
Arkalumen has a relationship with a number of independent light fixture makers in Canada, he says, and plans to aggressively market to the U.S. next year.