Seeing the (LED) light

Seeing the (LED) light
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First Published: Tue, Apr 21 2009. 11 51 PM IST

Bright prospects: B.R.Raghav sees InnovLite growing five times this year. Hemant Misahra / Mint
Bright prospects: B.R.Raghav sees InnovLite growing five times this year. Hemant Misahra / Mint
Updated: Wed, Apr 22 2009. 01 59 PM IST
Bangalore: A global retailing firm has reduced lighting expenses for its office by as much as 68% over the last one year. A Fortune 500 information technology (IT) company has slashed its electricity bill to one-third. The power consumption at another IT firm has come down from 620,500KW a year to 124,100KW, resulting in net savings of 80% on electricity bills. Power consumption for street lights on the campus of a retail firm is down to 6,132KW a year, from 26,060KW.
Bright prospects: B.R.Raghav sees InnovLite growing five times this year. Hemant Misahra / Mint
All of the above are clients of InnovLite India Pvt. Ltd, which offers light emitting diode or LED-based lighting solutions. Set up in 2005, the Bangalore-based firm’s product range includes LED lights, emergency lamps, solar chargeable products and solar street lights. What sets these new-generation LED products apart is that they are extremely energy saving and last as long as 15 years. Also, they have no emissions and their mercury content is nil.
“It has been an illuminating journey. The level of awareness about such products is much higher now compared with when we started,” said B.R. Raghav, founder and director, who holds a degree in electrical and electronics engineering. InnovLite divides its customer base into three segments: consumers, corporate clients and street lighting. According to Raghav, street lighting contributes 40% to InnovLite’s revenue, while corporate clients and consumers bring in 30% each. The firm’s turnover has been growing threefold year-on-year, and it posted revenues of Rs1.2 crore last year. “We are in a profitable business and expect to grow five times this year,” he added.
All InnovLite products are designed in-house and assembled from components widely available in the market. The firm, however, imports the LEDs. It says it has at least 25 corporate clients, including Tesco Hindustan Service Centre, 3i Infotech Ltd, Tata Elxsi Ltd, IBM India Pvt. Ltd and Sun Microsystems India Pvt. Ltd. Its municipal clients include the Tirupati Municipal Corporation and the Non-Conventional Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh, which is replacing the high-pressure sodium vapour (HPSV) lamps at Tirupati with LED-based lamps.
The firm, which has not patented its products, says it has an early-starter advantage in India, though there are a few international players already active in the segment. Also, it offers solutions based on individual clients’ needs, which will be difficult to emulate. The firm’s future plans include creating lighting solutions for the medical field.
Mentored by serial entrepreneur K. Ganesh (also CEO of online education services firm TutorVista), InnovLite is looking at going public in three-four years. It is currently looking at raising $4–5 million (Rs20-25 crore) from venture capital firms, and is in talks with a few investors.
“Like in technology, where there has been a transition from analogue to digital, in lighting, there will be a shift from sodium vapour lights to compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) to LED,” said an investor, who has studied InnovLite’s business and who did not want to be named.
The high costs of LED products and the lack of awareness about them pose difficulties for firms making them. A regular incandescent bulb costs Rs10–12, while a CFL goes for around Rs100. But an LED bulb costs as much as Rs300. “LED is being used in India in high-end appliances. We will see a high penetration of these products, but that will be by 2012. Also, their initial high costs will make an impact,” said Darwin Kishore, senior research analyst, building management technologies, at Frost and Sullivan, adding that there has been a constant fall in prices of such products. As more entrants get into the segment, prices will become more competitive, he said.
deepti.c@livemint.com
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First Published: Tue, Apr 21 2009. 11 51 PM IST