Home / Industry / Infotech /  Lumos Design Technology | Creating solar backpacks

Enterprise name: Lumos Design Technology Pvt. Ltd

Entrepreneurs: Gandharv Bakshi (31) and Lavina Mahbubani (28)

Founded: July 2012

Location: Bengaluru

Brand name: Lumos

What do celebrity Dutch cyclist, Maarten de Jonge and Lumos have in common? A bag. Jonge, who rides for the UCI Continental Terengganu Pro Asia Cycling Team, and gained fame after claiming to have skipped both Malaysian Airlines flights that went missing last year, is now the brand ambassador for Lumos, after endorsing the company’s cycling bag powered with solar technology in August. But he is clearly not the only one to have had a great experience with Lumos bags.

According to Gandharv Bakshi, since January this year, when Lumos’s collection of solar-powered unPlug backpacks and briefcases became commercially available, the company has sold a little over 500 backpacks and 70 briefcase bags, both of which are priced between 4,999 and 5,999, across 11 countries, that includes India.

The bags, which uses solar energy trapped from exposure to sunlight, converts light into electricity. This electricity is then stored in an in-built battery in the bag, which has a USB slot to charge any electronic device such as a phone or a laptop. One hour of exposure to sunlight, provides two hours of charge. The bags, which are made from lightweight solar fabric, are being sold online from Lumos website and other e-commerce platforms such as Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, as well as at offline at some stores in Bengaluru.

Where did it all start? “When I was working as a marketing consultant at Tejas Networks between 2005-2009, I used to face a daily issue of my phone battery conking off and my shoulder bag getting very heated up, on my field rounds. My wife, Lavina, then working for clothing brand, Flying Machine, suggested creating a bag that could use solar energy to charge phones, with a built-in USB port in the bag, and that is how the idea for Lumos’ solar backpacks was born," explains Bakshi.

Bakshi invested 1 lakh of his own money to start Lumos, and was aided with another 4-5 lakh pooled in from his manager at Tejas Networks. In July 2012, Bakshi and Lavina incorporated Lumos, adding four-five team members over time, most of whom were Bakshi’s ex-colleagues. The company, which has its warehouse and office in Indiranagar in Bengaluru, started making backpacks for cyclists in 2013, after noticing the number of people cycling to work in Bengaluru.

In the same year (2013), Rajan Anandan, managing director of Google India, invested 25 lakh in the company. “We are currently in the process of raising another round of funding from online angel fund-raising platform, LetsVenture and hope to raise 1.5 crore by the year-end through this platform," said Bakshi. Lumos, which is looking to launch two new products by 16 January, has targeted selling 10,000 bags by September 2015, from high potential markets such as Germany and other parts of Europe, India and Mexico.

The fundraising is also an effort to improve research and development to expand the features of the bags, launch more products that may include wearables, improve design and apply for certification to sell products in US and Europe. Lumos also has two patents pending, which it hopes to get by the next year. Lumos also plans to expand its target customer base from cyclists to bikers, long-distance truck drivers, and sales people. In Bakshi’s words on his LinkedIn profile, “I know that, in the next 30 years, we will see a couple of Indian companies in the Fortune-50. I am working towards ensuring that at least one of them is a company started by me."

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