Carson City-based start-up illuminates the way with smarter candle technology
There is now a smarter and safer way to enjoy candlelight.
The LuDela Smart Candle allows users to ignite and extinguish a real flame right from one’s smartphone. This technology is reinventing the common light source.
“Candles have been around for 5,000 years but no one has really innovated on this adored light source,” Jamie Bianchini, co-founder and CEO of LuDela, said.
LuDela smart candles have sensors that will extinguish the flame if the candle is knocked over or if it senses something above the flame. The app also allows users to control the amount of time a candle is on with a timer.
LuDela is a start-up based out of the Adam’s Hub for Innovation, a coworking space in Carson City. The company is hosting an open house Wednesday, March 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the Adam’s Hub for people interested in learning more about the start-up. The open house will be followed by a product demo and company presentation at 6 p.m.
The company’s mission is to not only create better light sources but to also create better lives. For every LuDela sold, the company provides a solar-charged light to a family living without access to safe and affordable lighting.
“I love candles but they are dangerous,” Bianchini said. “Candles are the No. 1 cause of house fires in the United States, accounting for over 10,000 fires a year.”
Bianchini experienced the danger of candles first-hand while undergoing an 81-country global cycling expedition called Peace Peddlers. He traveled on a tandem bicycle picking up strangers and turning them into friends over the course of eight years. While staying at a guesthouse without electricity in Western Africa in 2007, Bianchini awoke in the middle of the night to a room filled with smoke due to the lit candle next to his bed.
“I almost burned down my room with a candle,” he said.
He was able to put out the fire with minimal damage but the frightening experience inspired him to invent a smarter and safer way to burn candles. Thus, igniting the idea for LuDela.
The name for LuDela is derived from a combination of his children’s names, Luca and Candela. The company was founded in 2014 in the Bay Area, where Bianchini was born and raised. He frequently visited the Sierra Nevada to ski throughout his childhood and he and his family recently moved to Minden to enjoy the slower pace of life that northern Nevada has to offer.
“My wife and I just hit the end of our rope with the Bay Area,” he said. “It just got too crowded and busy that we decided to move over to where we truly wanted to be.”
Bianchini started working in the Adams Hub in the beginning of February. He is currently the company’s only employee with the rest of the team being contracted. However, the innovative product already has interest from major retailers such as Target, Brookstone and Frontgate to name a few and has hundreds of direct pre-order customers on the waiting list to be the first to own a LuDela candle.
“As we mature as a company we are going to need to scale,” Bianchini said.
He plans to recruit talent from northern Nevada in the areas of engineering, marketing, operations, finance and more. He explained that when he decided to move to northern Nevada, many people questioned if the region would have enough financial resources and talent to grow the successful company that Bianchini envisions.
“It was a real a leap of faith to move our company and family out of the Bay Area,” he said. “But in our hearts we knew that LuDela would find a home here and the right community support would be available to enable us to scale the next great social venture in the Tahoe region.”
He is currently in the process of raising funds to finalize development and start mass-production of the products. He is also seeking local investors to help launch the company forward.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.