From a can to market-leading
The rain is pouring down and the wind is tearing club tents in the little finnish area where OK Mark is hosting night district championships in orienteering for Västergötland. Three youngsters with a headlamp each are standing at the edge of the forest and illuminating the dark forest with their lamps. Two of the lamps are the best the money can buy in 2009 - Lupine Betty and Mila Nova. The third one reminds mostly of a can with the plastic glass and has been finished just an hour or so before the start of the competition.
The youngster with the "can" is Anders Johansson´s son Martin. They are done with their test after a couple of minutes and Martin in his rain clothes runs back to our club tent to protect himself from the bad weather. He runs directly to me and says - dad, dad, mine gives better light than the others'.
We head to the start with some extra excitement, Martin with the Pre-Cobra on his head and me with Martin's halogen lamp. How would it go, would it work for the whole race despite the pouring rain?
After the finnish I get the direct report that the lamp was great and worked all the way, but that it blinked a couple of times. After a closer examination I see the water splashing in the lamphouse which probably explains the blinking. Well, a really great test under very demanding conditions.
– Anders Johansson, the founder of LEDX Lights
Orienteering event in Borås, SM-sport with Stefan Millegård in charge is in place with sports sale. Anders approaches, presents himself and asks a question.
– If there is a lamp for 5 000:- performing better than the lamps on the market today, is it possible to sell it?
Stefan having business sense and besides coming from Småland thought for a minute and said:
– Yes, but it has to look like something as well.
Anders took it as a challenge and said he´d come back. Development accelerated and contacts with possible suppliers were taken.
Five days prior to Vasaloppet Anders visits Stefan Millegård again. His son Joakim is present as well while they sit in their home kitchen in Öjersjö. Anders presents the first almost production-ready prototype and takes long time to talk about the project until Joakim finally says:
– We have to go out and test how much light it gives!
It turns out Anders has forgotten the smaller function-tested batteries. Only the bigger battery was in place, the one he took to show the size of it. When we go out and turn it on, the lamp doesn´t work... Anticlimax.
Downhearted Anders went back to the kitchen together with Stefan and Joakim believing all the hope was out. Imagine his surprise when Stefan said "we'll take it in" despite the lamp not turning on. Later it was discovered that the bigger battery had manufacturing defects.
Two weeks later Anders is back with a functioning lamp and with a couple of weeks to 10-mila the first 15 Cobra lamps are out for sale. Some of them ended up on really good heads such as Patrik Martner IFK Göteborg, Albin Ridefeldt OK Linné and Filip Dahlgren from IFK Lidingö.
Cobra, giving appr. 2100 lumens had six LEDs on a star-card glued to aluminum backplate and three different lenses for both long and wide beam.
Cobra generation 1
SM-sport has exclusive sales agreement until the new year and everything Anders produces is sold. Production is placed in Anders's old photo studio on the ground floor of his house. It is made of mostly bought-in components and everything is pretty much hand-made, for example, the 28 solderings in one lamp take 2,5 hours to complete!
It doesn't take long for Anders to realize this is not sustainable and in fall 2010 begins the development of Cobra II which is wholly done for LEDX Lights. An integrated platform for electronics and LEDs on the same PCB is produced, batteries get smaller, cord and contacts smoother.
Cobra I för ridhjälm
Cobra I för skogsindustrin
Cobra II exists in a couple of prototypes which are tested at 10-mila. SM-sport has no longer exclusive sales agreement and LEDX is sold by 5 different resellers. LEDX Lights can be found in a n exhibition tent at O-ringen and the interest for the new lamp is huge.
Cobra II starts selling in august, as well as its predecessor it has six Cree X-PG LEDs and three different types of lenses generating 2500 lumens. It is announced as week's gadget in Ny Teknik with a headline "Turns night to day". The headgear gets an update and is praised in independent tests. Later in the fall comes even a Backup-battery which makes a success. LEDX Lights becomes a main sponsor for an O-event, the winners in H/D21 classes gets LEDX Cobra inc. backup-battery each and one Cobra is given away as a lottery price among all the finnishers in other classes.
Cobra II (Swedish only)
The first employee, Linnéa, is working one day a week. We sign an agreement with Jenny Rissveds and Oleksandr Kratov, an agreement in force since then.
Cobra IIx looks alike Cobra II but has been upgraded to 3000 lm. More resellers are interested in LEDX Lights and we have 10 of them now.
Our lamps are spotted in Finland and enduro riders are first to discover them. Soon enough we are contacted by a reseller more than willing to sell Cobra II over there. We sign an agreement and Anders travels to experience Päijänneajo (Finland's Novemberkåsa = an anual enduro competition) where some of the best riders already use LEDX Lights lamps.
The decision is made to develop a totally new lamp series with a goal for each lamp to be best in it's class. Design is developed in cooperation with Avantic design in Bredaryd, a company behind Twixit bag clips and Baby Björn bibs among other things. It is decided to separate electronics from LEDs to optimize good balance, effective cooling and compact shape. A bit more expensive to produce but the qualities are much better.
Three lamps with the common electronics and mounting, a module system where all the parts are compatible with each other. All the batteries work with all the lamps etc. Development of the lamp series takes 18 months and as a result we have Cobra, Mamba and Kaa. Three lamps setting new standard when it comes to light pattern, performance, reliability and comfort.
In spite of the ongoing development of the new lamp series, Cobra II gets an update. With the new LED-chip X-ml, the new Cobra IIxl gives 4500 lumens now.
The tests with the new lamp series are in progress and it´s the light pattern we are mostly working with. The reflector introduced in Cobra is spot on and spreads the light really good even out in the periphery.
Cobra 5500 prototype
Mamba 3500 (Swedish only)
In august the first Cobra 5500, Mamba 3500 and Kaa 1500 are delivered. The numbers after each model stand for light output in lumens and make it easier when updates come. Headgear Pro gets even more comfortable, thanks to the new click mounting. There is a click mounting even for mounting on handlebars, helmet or MC cover, or basically everywhere You need the light.
Resellers are pouring in. More and more players want to sell the brightest lamps on the market.
LEDX becomes LEDX of Sweden AB and the turnover exceeds 1 Mkr.
Update to Cobra 6500, Mamba 3800 and Kaa 1700. Mamba gets the reflector as well. Launch of the cord for the connection to an external 12V DC source.
LEDX Lights goes to Novemberkåsan together with SM-sport and sells lamps. No big success when it comes to numbers as not many within enduro community are familiar with LEDX Lights.
Self-developed reflector, Mamba 3800
New cord for 12V energy source
It is another story in the forest. In one of the toughest races of all times storms Martin Sundin through the forest with 3 LEDX Lights Cobras and the crowd wonders what´s illuminating the whole forest! After this enduro and LEDX Lights are strongly connected.
After a couple of similar part time employees, Benjabin from Mebia starts working one day per week. This is a beginning of a really good cooperation between LEDX Lights and Mebia. Benjamin isn't just working for LEDX Lights, with the help of Mebia he produces brochures, films, grafic design etc for LEDX.
Turnover surpasses 2 Mkr
Success within enduro continues. Cobra can be programmed to turn on directly when connected to the energy source and we launch the big Kåsakit. We revisit Novemberkåsan and this time it´s a sales success. All the lamps we brought with us are sold.
Benjamin jobbar nu två dagar i veckan och samarbetet med Mebia utökas.
Turnover surpasses 4 Mkr
We sign cooperation agreements with orienteering clubs Koovee in Finland and IFK Göteborg. Theese clubs more or less subscribed for winning 10-mila and Jukola ever since. LEDX Lights together with Mebia is looking for new premises as we've outgrown my basement where the production took place.
Victory for IFK Göteborg
LEDX Lights moves into new premises next door to Mebia.
The first employee with a contract of indefinite duration, Jenny, is hired. She's responsible for the production. Håkan takes after Benjamin and works two days per week during the season.
Mamba is updated to 4000 lumens and Kaa to 2000 lumens, a new software with more effect modes to programme is introduced. Launch of a double MC-cord for enduro riders.
The decision to develop a new webbsite with our own webbshop is taken. The project is a big one and it drags on.
We sign a cooperation agreement with Albin Elowson and he delivers directly by winning Novemberkåsan assuredly with 3 Cobras.
Turnover almost reaches 5 Mkr
Proffessional side grows and Ahlsell is our biggest reseller now.
Launch of a helmet arch and three new cords for enduro with a new XT60 connection.
Helmet arch, two lamps
New cord on the market
Turnover is almost 6 Mkr. Once again we are looking for new bigger premises together with Mebia.
LEDX of Sweden AB gets a new owner, C2 Vertical Safety AB with the headquarters in Uppsala. A Swedish family company with distribution rights for appr. 10 brands in Sweden and a big sales organisation. This is a huge reinforcement for LEDX Lights giving new opportunities for growth and development of new products.
We move to the new premises. Mebbia is still the next door contributing to LEDX Lights further development.
Our new webbsite www.ledx.se is launched in September.
A bit late into the season we launch the new Cobra X-pand and Mamba X-pand as well as Kaa wide. Cobra and Mamba got a new better frame without screws and a new lense configuration with our self-developed reflector. Kaa gets a new lence with some wider beam.
Production in Borås
Pandemics leaves a huge mark all over the world, but our sales aren't affected too much. The interest for moving outdoors with good light is still there.
The brand name is officially LEDX Lights as opposed to earlier LEDX. PRV (Swedish intellectual property office) grants a patent for our self-developed reflector X-pand.
Cobra 6500 X-pand
Mamba 4000 X-pand
Kaa 2000 Wide
Staffan Ahltin steps in as a CEO for LEDX of Sweden and with the help of Anders Johansson the development of future LEDX Lights lamps gains speed.
All order administration, storing and customer support moves to Uppsala and C2 Vertical Safety thus leaving whole focus on pure production in Borås. Husqvarnas Enduro team becomes our ambassadors and takes Swedish Championshis gold both in mens and womens class.