With 3,400+ Americans getting seriously injured or killed in 2014 while cycling, we have to ask ourselves how we can make the road a safe place for people who are taking a healthier mode of transportation. Luckily, Lumenus is paving the road with wearable tech that can save your life on the road. The biking shirt and backpack provide turn signals for cars behind you, make you visible at night, as well shine brighter when going through an intersection. The smart technology is easily sync-able with your phone and allows you to access direction for wherever you plan to go so that you can get their safe and sound without fear of becoming a statistic.
Today, we touch based with CEO and founder Jeremy Wall about the beauty and danger of cycling and how Lumenus is making the world safer.
Tell us about the product or service.
Lumenus is creating next generation wearable technology and smart clothing, designed to save lives. Through embedded technologies into beautifully designed performance garments and accessories our patent pending software works seamlessly with tech laced apparel and accessories to maximize safety, enhance performance, and increase enjoyment.
Embedded LED lights in lifestyle, performance, and industrial clothing create a new standard of safety and visibility. Lumenus is creating hardware and software products that are suitable for numerous industries and sectors: pedestrian, runner, cyclist, motorcyclist, industrial, armed forces, law enforcement, and beyond. We can easily access these other industries through licensing agreements to engage with the exemplary brands in these verticals and collaborate to create and even better product.
The problem of nighttime accidents is serious, yet the solution is simple. Be Brighter.
How is it different?
What sets Lumenus apart is our advanced software that truly creates limitless solutions. By adding intelligence through the Bluetooth connection to the embedded hardware can literally take “any sort of harvestable data, and turn that into visual lighting cues and messaging”.
Lumenus can give cyclists predictive turn signals, runners visual pace training, motorcyclist automatic brake lights, highway workers geo-fenced boundaries, factory workers proximity warnings, and an endless list of possible use cases.
Due to the nature of software working with the integrated lighting, we have the ability to continually iterate and improve the functionality without any new purchases needed. Creating a truly ‘future-proofed’ system of “software in soft-wares”.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We’re starting with the consumer markets of bike, run, & moto. These markets alone make up a massive portion of the sports apparel markets—with cycling being our main niche market.
- Cycling apparel market $689M yearly, cycling is the #1 global sport market, > golf, tennis & skiing combined and there are 47.16M US cyclist, 5.6M will ride >110 days this year.
- Global sports apparel market = $185B by 2020, ~30M people run > 50 days per year
- Global industrial protective clothing market expected to reach $13.30 billion by 2022 and growing at a CAGR of 11.5% from 2015 to 2022
What is the business model?
There are a few different approaches we have and the easiest way to assimilate it is the ‘Goretex’ model. We have created our own private label of product that we will sell under the Lumenus brand as a premium brand in the sports apparel space.
But we also will be licensing the technology, both the hardware and software. This allows for us to expand into other verticals easily by working with established market leaders in their respective fields to enhance their products. Our first initial partner in this phase is Bollé—who Lumenus has partnered with to create the world’s first truly smart-safe bike helmet.
This allows us to work in B2C with our own direct to consumer through our own e-comm site, as well as wholesale retail channels some of which have already placed POs. B2B through the licensing opportunities to work directly with brands, as well as direct sales for industrial and enterprise wide safety solutions. Even B2G as we look to integrate the tech into municipalities and government/public safety.
Where do you see the wearable market going over the next two years?
I think that wearables will get broken down into its multiple dependents allowing it to be less of a catch all. Smart-Clothing, Fitness Trackers, Wrist wearables, visual augmentation (AR/VR), Ingestibles, and beyond. This is really what will allow the market to grow in separate categories and the best will rise to the top and we won’t view all ‘wearables’ as a single category.
Early we’ve seen a huge adoption for pro-sumers who can see the benefits in tandem with coaching and other guidance especially around biometric data. I think that contextualization is one of the biggest components for creating growth in this sector for the average users.
Then one piece that I feel will be essential is for the tech to embrace #ZeroUI design principles. For wearables to really become second nature they need to fit seamlessly into our daily lives, currently they require a lot of inputs to create singular outputs. As AI and machine learning continue to evolve we will see some great abilities for the technology to improve our lives without us having to think or interact with it in any way.
Tell us a little about your background and what inspired the business?
I studied Fashion Development & Product Management at the NC State College of Textiles. That background was routed in creating functional fashion—and when I began experimenting with electronics the floodgates opened up. By integrating relatively simple tech into our gear, it was insane the functionality that could be added. So this inspired me to find a problem close to my heart and solve it. After almost being killed while cycling home on campus one night it became bike safety. I designed and stitched the first 7 pieces myself. 2 years later—we’ve now added intelligent software, and a litany of other features and are inspired by the stories we hear daily of close calls, crashes, and tragedies that could have been avoided with our simple solution—a little light and a bit of software make it easy to #BeBrighter.
Tell us what building your company in LA has been like?
I actually moved out to LA to team up with my partner Caro Krissman, a native Angelino who has helped me realize how amazing this city really is. Moving from the East Coast, North Carolina, was a trip at first but it’s been a treat to see the contagious spirit of this city. From an entrepreneurial perspective you’re constantly surrounded by some of the most talented people in the world and the dynamic vibe that keeps Los Angeles so unique in the global sphere. Moreover, from a designer perspective it’s impossible to not be inspired by this city and keeps my creative energy constantly flowing.
To see the diverse population that reaches from the Valley all the way down to Orange county it’s a mix of industries, communities, and vitalities that is undeniable and impossible to replicate anywhere else in the world. This vast epicenter of culture will only continue to attract the greatest talent on the planet and this is what has made LA the perfect place for Lumenus.
(Also it’s often a terrifying place to ride a bike, so keeps me inspired daily.)
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Our milestones for 2016 include getting our first round of product: backpack, vests, jackets, and coats on the market! We’ve put in a lot of time and research into getting these dialed in and we’re ecstatic to see these out there on runners and cyclists on the streets of LA, Amsterdam, Portland, Tokyo, and all over the world.
Secondly we really want to continue to foster our licensing opportunities. Teaming up with Bollé for the helmet is incredibly exciting, but truly just the beginning. We want to continue to find the best brands and partners in the world to work with.
Finally, we want to grow! We’ve come so far with a pretty small and compact team but as we move forward we see that internalizing some of these resources creates an incredible culture of innovation. As we continue to evolve as a company we want our diverse team to evolve and mirror our brand ethos.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
I don’t know if it really counts but Yvon Chouinard has always been one of my idols. His business ethos has always been about putting other priorities at the head of the list and the profits will follow. It’s this mentality and drive for social good, through a profitable company, that has been an inspiration to me as a young entrepreneur and would really be someone I’d relish an opportunity to meet.
But on the other side, a tried and true investor would really be Chamath Palihapitiya. Not only has he invested in the smart-clothing world, but again his focus on social good and realization that solving problems creates the positive karmic energy that leads to profits and other less tangible gains is something that resonates deeply.
We’re looking to raise some funding right now and are open to anyone who would be a potential partner in this journey!
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
Made in LA resounds a strong sense of global community—which might seem counter intuitive. However, it’s the fact that Los Angeles is truly the global trend setter; in style, fashion, design, and every day becoming that in the world of growing companies. We see some of the most exciting companies coming out of Southern California right now because we are uniquely poised to have a global impact. You often see Silicon Valley having these preconceived notions that are systemically wrong because of the insular nature of that environment. Los Angeles is open to influences from the outside world, but cultivates that with a unique acumen for how that can create global impact.
Made in LA is something special, and we hope to continue to grow our team and be a change maker here in the community. We seek to grow out a team of talented and passionate people that want to make a difference and build something amazing. We are confident that we are in the right place to make that happen and can’t wait to see how we can continue to evolve in this most amazing and dynamic city.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
I think one of the most important things that LA can continue to do, is support itself. We have so much capital here that we could easily surpass New York or Silicon Valley as America’s leader—but often young companies feel they need to seek outside funding. We’ve already seen a rise in local funding from VCs and angels to equity crowdfunding and incubators. I think that continuing to support local talent, and bringing in new talent to Los Angeles is key to our growth.
One of the most exciting pieces are these incubators and accelerators, that take chances on young companies and inexperienced CEOs who have a dream. I’ll be honest, I’m still one of those young entrepreneurs and looking for mentors and advisors who will help guide me and the team through the wringer ahead. Incubation of great talent is key to all companies from startups to major corporations and the talent that is in LA is undeniable!
Where is the best place in LA to watch the sunset?
I’ve gotta admit, as entrepreneurs the sunset is usually something that happens while we’re writing emails and we look out the window just to realize it’s now nighttime.
But for me hands down the best place to watch the sunset, is from on top of my bike pedaling down the beach paths of the west side and watching it slowly dip into the ocean with that salty breeze on my smiling face.