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Firms partner to build a better lightbulb in Central New York

Emma Jacobs
The three CEOs, right to left: Felix Ejeckam, Joe Casper, and John Johnston - and their light.

Three companies are entering a multi-million dollar partnership to build super-efficient LED lights. Their CEOs met for the first time Thursday and announced their strategic alliance.

The LED lamps are designed for industrial and commercial buildings. They'll eventually be made from start to finish in Central New York.

This high-tech rethinking of a product as simple as the lightbulb takes smarts and patents in a number of different areas.

"More control over our destiny"

The three-way partnership works like this: Group4 Labs and Ephesus Technologies are the brains behind the operation – with the high tech smarts for building the LEDs and wiring them together.

ProTerra, a Canadian firm will be the brawn, manufacturing the lamps and bringing the products to market.

In fact, John Johnston heads the Canadian firm ProTerra said he was so excited about the meeting he couldn't sleep the night before.

"With the relationship we'll now have a little more control over our destiny and our end product," he explained.

Felix Ejeckam, whose Silicon Valley company, Group4 works on the tiniest, nano-sized ingredients of the LED lights says the partnership gives his company more certainty, too.

"We don't have to go out and shop technology to a middle company that will take it – maybe, maybe not – to the end customer," he says. "We've got everyone here."

Ejeckam's company recently opened an office in Syracuse. He explains more about the resources that attracted him to New York in this video.

Together, they say the lights they build will be brighter, but use less energy, and deliver all-around more bang for your buck.

Made in New York

Joe Casper, the Syracuse native behind Ephesus is happy that as the product being produced by this geographically dispersed group goes to market, the lights will be manufactured in upstate New York.

"We've talked about the nanotechnology investment and pulling that Albany nanotechnology investment here to Syracuse," Casper noted, "And this is the perfect example of why nanotechnology is so important in Syracuse."

The firms are hiring. They'll employ 18 more people by the end of the year. Casper thinks they'll hire over 50 people in Central New York in the next five years.

Former WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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