Jeremy Wall, the founder of Lumenus, explains the ease and convenience of Zero UI (no user interface required). After downloading the Lumenus App to your cell phone and setting up a planned route for your activity, and then connecting your cell phone with the Lumenus apparel via blue tooth, you’re ready to go. The LEDs built into the Lumenus apparel will automatically flash as you go without even touching your cell phone. The LEDs will flash a turn signal when you turn a corner, and will turn on a brake light when you stop.
Please tell us about your background.
I studied product development and textile design under Fashion and Textile Design program, College of Textiles at North Carolina State University. My goal was to design and develop the outdoor products, and I was hoping to work at leading companies in the outdoor business like Patagonia. Then one day, a car almost hit me during my bike ride. My bike had lights and reflectors, but the driver of the car still didn’t see me. That’s when I realized that those lights and reflectors on a bike weren’t really effective in preventing traffic accidents, which led me to come up with the idea of Lumenus apparel. There are a lot of wearable products protecting the lives of motorcyclists and cyclists, but not many of them were fashionable. That’s why I decided to create something that is both functional and stylish.
When did you start this business?
I began the product development 4 years ago by experimenting different methods, like trying to attach LEDs to clothes. Then an individual investor offered a seed funding of $250,000. This allowed me to move to Los Angeles to start Lumenus and to prepare for the product commercialization. Now that we’ve created the iOS and Android Apps and ready to begin mass producing the Lumenus apparel, we want to expand our business to the overseas market, including Japan. I believe our product is innovating in the smart riding field.
What is your goal for future marketing, and what sets your product apart from your competitors?
If this was simply a jacket with built-in light, then it wouldn’t be much different from a bike with lights or reflectors. But what is unique about Lumenus is that we developed a software where the built-in LEDs on the clothes flash a turn signal when you’re turning a corner and blink right before stopping. Because the built-in LEDs are connected to your cell phone or smart watch via Bluetooth, you don’t have to do push a button or anything. The light will automatically do what it needs to do. The App will memorize your planned activity route and will flash or blink automatically according to the route. You don’t need to buy a new Lumenus apparel every time the Lumenus software is updated. The existing Lumenus apparel will sync with the updated software, so you can use it for a long time. Plus, it’s machine washable. We also understand that the customers look for different functions depending on whether they’re motorcyclists, cyclists or runners. So we work hard every day listening to their opinions and try to develop a safe and stylish product that can satisfy all the customers.
Who is your target customer?
Everyone, including motorcyclist, cyclist and runners, and also companies that we can build a business-to-business partnership with. Our current partners include companies like Bollé, a developer of helmets and goggles, and TimBuk2, one of the leading backpack manufacturer, to co-develop a product that utilizes Lumenus technology. We’re planning on working with more companies to come up with a new product that collaborates the existing product with Lumenus technology.
Which investors or companies do you want to work with to expand your business?
Japan is leading in the fashion and technology field, so we would love to meet with Japanese investors and software engineers. We’re also looking forward to partnering with the Japanese companies to co-develop products.
Please tell us about the funding you have received so far.
The founder, marketing VP and some of the founding members of Outdoortech, who develops Bluetooth and headphones for outdoor use, are among Lumenus’ angel investors and advisors. Their network includes some of the great buyers and sales representatives, and that allows us to do business smoothly. Next seed round funding will start in the beginning of November, and our goal is to receive $750,000. We also plan to exhibit at CES and ID TEchEx to show our product to many customers, and we’re looking forward to meeting more investors at that time.
Please tell us about what your daily schedule look like.
My daily schedule varies depending on business trips and projects, but I always try to commute by bike or running. I also meditate for 15 minutes every single day. My daily routine also includes creating a schedule for the day when I arrive at work.
Which cell phone App do you use a lot?
Other than Lumenus? If I say Outlook, you might think I’m a workaholic, so other than that…The music App Spotify. I listen to different kinds of music at work depending on how I feel. Snapchat is another one that I use a lot to communicate with my family and friends.
Where do you like to hang out?
The rooftop bar next to our Lumenus office is a good place, so I go there a lot. I also like to hike at Runyon Canyon.
Who are your influences?
Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, and Tinker Hatfield, a Nike designer.
Mr. Wall runs his business by focusing more on preventing traffic accidents than trying to make money. The other day he visited Washington DC to meet with Dept. of Homeland Security. During that meeting, they discussed the development of uniforms and gears that incorporates Lumenus technology. Sometime in the near future, we’re going to see police officers, fire fighters and many other people wearing Lumenus apparel.
Lumenus backpack is available for online pre-orders at $125 each. Lumenus jacket will become available at $300 each. These are great gifts for those who love spending time outdoors.