A lightbulb went off in Juan Rivera’s head, literally. Contending with an industry that had existed since Edison’s era was no small feat, but Rivera saw a need for a disruption that could lead to a greener world. NuLight, Rivera’s brainchild, is a company that sells light fixtures that dim and brighten when motion sensors are triggered.
Many people cannot identify the major problems that exist with their lighting systems, but Rivera put it best: “Artificial illumination that we currently use damages our circadian cycles and biological clocks. As the 2017 Nobel Prize for Medicine winner demonstrated, this can generate problems in the long run like anxiety, obesity, fatigue, depression, and even cancer.”
The problems with our current lighting systems extend past the physical side effects – they also hurt our bank accounts. “In the US, problems with the quality of air and illumination are classified as the ‘sick building syndrome’ and cause losses of about $58 billion dollars in medical licenses. In fact, in Chile in 2017, 27% of all medical licenses were for mental illnesses.”
NuLight’s website also speaks to the fact that our lights spend 90% of their useful life when there is no motion to warrant them being on. The reviews speak highly of NuLight’s products, as many users testify that the sensors work extremely efficiently and turn on when sensing even the slightest motion.
Currently, NuLight is still in the process of doing pilot tests in hospitals, private offices, and a school with 1,000 students. This traction was augmented by NuLight’s successful collaborations with Agora Partnerships and StartUp Chile, where the founders were introduced to a network of consultants, investors, and other budding leaders.
When asked to give entrepreneurs with incipient projects advice on how to start and what resources to utilize, Rivera offered five sage instructions. “Define the type of company that you want to have. It is not the same thing for a company to prioritize a stable influx of revenue or to look for an exit.”
“Nothing is more important than validating your product. This means understanding exactly what is the pain of your client and how much they are willing to pay to fix it.
The other important thing is not falling in love with the product you make, as this is the best way to fail quickly.”
“Don’t indebt yourself personally without validating your product, and choose your clients well. A bad client with always lead to a loss of focus, time, and money.”
NuLight is also undergoing the process of due diligence for receiving investments, after which they will attend SOCAP 2019, which allows social entrepreneurs to present their ideas and participate in conversations about tech, inclusion, and impact. SOCAP 2019 will take place in October in San Francisco, USA.
When asked if he would do anything differently if he could start over, Rivera objected unequivocally. “Nothing. I have passed through bad times, stress, stomachaches, fights, and more, but without these things I never would have gotten to where I am now. There is a concept that I love and it’s ‘grit’ by Angela Lee Duckworth.” With passion, perseverance, and some help along the way, Rivera will continue to light up Latin America in a sustainable way.