Among a variety of great things that might happen to us when attending university – finding like-minded people and taking opportunities to test our ideas are the most rewarding experiences because they can set a direction for our entire future career path. The founding team at Greinon, Lund-based company that develops intelligent engineering solutions for efficient use of light, cannot agree more.

We had a brief chat with Tanya Kolyaka, company’s co-founder and marketing manager, to find out about Greinon’s cloud-based lighting solutions and company’s overall fit in transforming lighting industry.

From university research to market-ready product

The idea to start a company appeared as a result of research at Lund University’s faculty of Engineering (LTH) in Sweden. When writing his Master project called “Next Generation Street Lighting” at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. Serdar Köse, Greinon’s co-founder and CEO, realized that there was a big waste of public resources and it was possible to make his research findings into a real product. So he invited Tanya, who had background in business development and marketing from Lund Univeristy, to join his team. Technical knowledge at Greinon was powered by Ulf Körner, company’s senior advisor and professor in telecommunications at LTH, and expertise from the industry came from external advisors, such as Tord Wingren (former managing director of Ericsson Mobile Platforms), powered by cooperation within clusters, such as Inside Light (former Lund Lighting Initiative).

Greinon started as Venture Lab company at Ideon Science Park in Lund and shortly after moved to Ideon Innovation, company incubator, where they got a lot of help.

“We would not be where we are today if we started somewhere in a garage. Because the two of us who started the company are not Swedish, we had to learn a lot about the process of starting up and running business in Sweden. So the help we got was extremely important,” shares Tanya.

Greinon has been operating since 2012 running on funds from Almi, Lund University Innovation System and money won in startup contests. But it is current year that has been particularly productive for the company as they came up with the market-ready version of their product and got 3 paying customers.

Core product – software that controls light consumption

Greinon’s product combines hardware and software, with communication algorithms and remote control at the core. It is software that makes controller units (hardware) measure energy consumption, communicate between each other through WiFi or Bluetooth and regulate on their own amount of light needed based on current conditions in the room.

“This is one of our major advantages – the system that can be controlled centrally and remotely, but at the same time making decisions independently, with regard to particular need here and now. We make it possible for the infrastructure itself to determine how much light to use,” explains Tanya.

Because of the agenda for Europe 2020 to reduce carbon dioxide emission and energy consumption more and more companies work in the same direction as Greinon.

“Market is a jungle, it has been booming and it all goes in line with European 2020 vision. There is growing number of companies that are based on research centers. Both Germany and the Netherlands are particularly strong in it. The good thing is that there is no clear leader in the market yet as many companies are also in the test phase. That’s why we try to innovate with the business model and the way we reach out to the market. We believe that flexibility is another advantage that we have,” says Tanya.

Among other things, expertise and strategically favorable location (Öresund region has an excellent cooperation platform) also help Greinon move forward and remain on top of competitors.

So what’s the future like for Greinon in the upcoming years?

Industry-wise, it looks like there will probably be no new lighting systems installed without the possibility to control it, which promises Greinon many interesting projects in the future. In the upcoming period the company would like to focus on software features and communication with hardware producers about possible partnerships. There are also some thoughts about geographical expansion.

“Currently we have a focus on Scandinavia because of the attention and investment possibilities but it is a relatively small market. We have been looking into the Middle Eastern markets, where the competition is currently low and investment possibilities are widely available. Already today we have partners that are working there, and hopefully we’ll have our presence there soon.”