By Daniel Hunter
Three graduates from the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada are ready to hit the market with the NanoLight — a 12-watt lightbulb that generates over 1600 lumens, equivalent to a 100 watt incandescent light bulb. The innovative design uses small LEDs on a folded circuit-board to produce a cool-to-touch, environmentally-friendly light bulb that turns on instantly and plugs in to a regular light fixture.
NanoLight’s innovative breakthrough has resulted in a flurry of investments on the crowd-funding website, KickStarter, since its launch on January 7, 2013. The project had raised more than $140,000 with more than 3,000 investors at time of publication–surpassing their initial goal of raising $20,000 by March 8, 2013. Shipments of the Nanolight lightbulbs are set to begin in May.
With a vision to create a better world through conservation and preservation of the planet, Tom Rodinger, Gimmy Chu and Christian Yan met at U of T while developing a vehicle with the university’s solar car project. Rodinger was a senior member of the team, completing his PhD, while Chu and Yan were third-year Electrical and Computer Engineering students looking for ways to contribute their skills to different projects and start-ups around campus.
"For Gimmy and myself, U of T was a good atmosphere for entrepreneurship-- people in our class, our professors, it's a really dynamic place with different cultural backgrounds and people who are really smart," said Yan. "U of T provided a great platform for everyone to incorporate business together with engineering."
Ontario is a North American hub for Research and Development (R&D). More than 100,000 business and university-based researchers, their assistants and support staff, spend almost $13.4 billion every year working on issues ranging from life-saving vaccines to nano-materials and next-generation wireless devices.
Home to 18 of Canada’s top research universities including number one ranked U of T, Ontario has globally recognized strengths in a range of sectors, including health, manufacturing, digital media and clean tech. Leveraging that high-value resource can generate competitive advantages for Ontario companies in the global marketplace.
Ontario’s innovation strategy is, in turn, a component of a broader economic plan to create an ecosystem in the province that helps knowledge-based industries compete globally. Ontario has made massive investments in post-secondary education to create a skilled, educated talent pool. The R&D tax incentives in the province are among the most generous in the G7. Business operating costs are among the lowest in leading industrialized nations, particularly in digital media, financial services, biotech and advanced manufacturing.
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