FOUR University of Edinburgh graduates are aiming to shake up the lighting industry with their range of low-energy LED bulbs that mimic the glow of traditional incandescent lights.
The spark for the entrepreneurs’ Tala LED start-up came from a shared desire to “do something that would impact on our generation and generations to come”, said director Ciaran Dawson.
He added: “We initially decided to look at renewable power projects and started to work on a solar farm in Portugal as a pilot project.
“But the roadmap to getting revenues is very hard, especially for a start-up, and we realised that LED lighting could make an immediate impact on clients’ electricity costs and generate revenue for us more quickly.”
Dawson and his co-founders – William Symington, Joshua Ward and Maxwell Wood – spotted a gap in the market for LEDs that mimic the aesthetic of vintage incandescent light bulbs.
“Most people think of LEDs as bulky, expensive and producing cold, white light, so we wanted to bring to market a product that would plug that hole,” Dawson said.
Tala’s lights feature filaments comprising layers of tiny LEDs built onto a sapphire substrate, and went on sale in September after a year of prototyping.
Dawson said: “They have absolutely flown off the shelves and we’re now starting to talk to some of the larger retailers in the UK, and international ones are showing interest too.”
The firm is also working with the Waste & Resources Action Programme charity to help develop new business models that promote the re-use and recycling of products and materials.
Although the business was founded in Edinburgh, Dawson said the firm has set its base in London “because we had interest from investors and needed to test the product in the UK’s most difficult market”.