Lightly Technologies in spotlight with William Fry entrepreneur award

25 Jan 2018

Matt Hanbury, founder, Lightly Technologies. Image: Connor McKenna

William Fry hosted the final of the Lead Entrepreneur Award 2017, crowning Matt Hanbury from Lightly Technologies winner of the €3,000 prize.

Out of 30 entrepreneurs, Matt Hanbury has won the Lead Entrepreneur Award 2017, as judged by three venture capital investors before an audience of high-profile guests at William Fry’s Dublin office.

The competition involved entrepreneurs from Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme, DIT Hothouse and IADT Media Cube, and only one could walk away with the top prize of €3,000.

Hanbury is founder of Lightly Technologies, which produces an ultra-thin LED light source module dubbed the Hikari SQ. This slim tile has a light output of 300 lumens over a lifetime of 50,000 hours, and judges were impressed with Hanbury’s refresh of the good old lightbulb.

“We’re taking the lighting industry in a new direction. We’re moving from the normal round lightbulbs that everyone is used to and, essentially, we’re compressing them into a tile 3mm thick, which totally changes the way that lighting manufacturers and lighting designers can use light and create lighting fixtures,” explained Hanbury.

In terms of applications, Hanbury said the tile is useful anywhere the decorative light and is of importance, such as in retail, hospitality and high-end office spaces.

David Bowles, VC investor at Delta Partners and one of the three judges tasked with selecting the winner described this innovative transformation of a traditional object into “something that is cheaper, looks better and is able to be mass produced” as “fantastic”.

Following his win, Hanbury said that the New Frontiers incubator had been “really revolutionary” for him as an entrepreneur.

“Originally, I trained as a mechanical engineer and I had no business background at all. New Frontiers has really taught me how to hone my skills in all areas, from accountancy to sales and marketing, and business strategy.”

‘We’re taking the lighting industry in a new direction’

Hanbury’s win marked the third year of the competition for William Fry as sponsor, and technology partner Leo Moore explained how the annual event can help the firm engage with early-stage companies that may well grow into high-potential start-ups and more besides.

“Some of our biggest clients started out as small companies so, from our perspective, it’s very important to be involved and [put] something back into the start-up community,” said Moore.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.