Written by Kevin Volz.
Many homeowners, especially those in older houses, face a common issue – outdated electrical wiring systems. The older systems make modern lighting upgrades difficult and costly. Property owners can either spend thousands rewiring their home, or they can find a more practical option.
Wireless Environment in Solon, Ohio, offers a solution for these homeowners. The company provides off-grid, motion sensor lighting for the home, commonly known as Mr. Beams. Mr. Beams lights are both LED and battery-powered, allowing for easy, inexpensive installation. For commercial customers, Wireless Environment can help companies convert to off-grid lighting in order to keep their lighting-based energy usage low.
“We started our business after noticing that there wasn’t a good light that could turn on automatically in closets in older homes,” said Michael Recker, CTO and co-founder of Wireless Environment. “At the time, LED lighting was at a very early stage, but even then we knew it would be a solution for that kind of off-grid lighting.”
In addition to motion sensor lights for closets, Wireless Environment also makes outdoor spotlights, under-cabinet lights and nightlights. They’ve also developed technologies that can detect power outages and turn on battery-powered remote lights using radio frequency wireless technology.
“Our line of battery-powered LED lights tends to be much brighter than our competitors,” said Recker. “We design all of our own products, which allows us to focus on the application and the different places people will use them in their homes.”
In 2008, Recker and his co-founder David Levine received a $400,000 investment from JumpStart, an Ohio Third Frontier regional partner in Cleveland. The company used this money to build its foundation, including applying for patents and product development. Later investments were used to expand Wireless Environment’s sales and marketing presence in the lighting industry.
“JumpStart believed in our company from day one,” said Recker. “They bought into our vision and helped us network and make connections throughout northeast Ohio. Without that kind of assistance, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
By the end of 2015, Wireless Environment will have 22 patents, and they are continuing to develop new, innovative, off-grid LED products for residential consumers. Recker said the Cleveland area is the perfect place for a new company like Wireless Environment, with many resources to help it thrive.
“The talent level of entrepreneurs in northeast Ohio is phenomenal. When you match that with JumpStart and the local support for small companies, you can’t lose,” said Recker. “It’s a terrific area to launch a company.”