Mr. Egan is the Co-founder and CEO of ilumi solutions, where he is responsible for the strategic vision and execution of the company. At ilumi, Mr. Egan has led the startup ideation through successful launch of multiple product lines. Under Mr. Egan’s leadership, the company has raised over $550,000 in crowdfunding, appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank resulting in an investment from Mark Cuban, received 6 issued US Patents, and was named one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s ‘Top 100 Most Brilliant Companies of 2015’.
1)How did you come up with the idea for Ilumi?
It was a ‘lightbulb moment’. Really though, through a collision of ideas we saw the collision of mobility and LED lighting and knew it would change the landscape for the way we could control and interact with lighting. Cofounders Swapnil Bora and Corey Egan met as graduate school classmates at the University of Texas at Dallas in 2010. The two sat next to each other in class and during one particularly emotive conversation stumbled upon an idea for ilumi. They submitted their idea to UT Dallas’s annual business idea competition, and won. Then, the school sponsored the team to compete at a slew of national and international competitions and the duo came home with a suitcase full of awards and prize money. From there, cofounders Egan and Bora decided to put all funds into making their idea for ilumi a reality, and ilumi was born.
2) What makes it different to all the other lights?
The smartbulb and smartlighting category is growing very quickly and there are similar concepts. What makes ilumi unique is our focus on delivering better lighting for better living rather than just an app controlled bulb that changes color. That focus on the customer has weighed into some really advanced technology, like building out the world’s first award-winning Bluetooth Mesh network, all of which help make ilumi simpler, brighter, and smarter than the competition and really a better lighting experience.
3) How did your experience on Shark Tank and the investment from Mark Cuban help your business?
Being on Shark Tank certainly helped us to bring ilumi to market. ilumi had successfully crowdfunded through Kickstarter and indiegogo, but many challenges arose to complete manufacturing and ship to crowdfunding backers and preorders. With Mark Cuban’s investment and expertise and assistance from the Mark Cuban Companies team, we’ve been able to grow our brand and get into major retailers like Best Buy (nationwide) and Home Depot (Canada).
4) Is the future of houses through our phones and tablets?
Absolutely. Light is a powerful thing. It tells us when to wake and when to sleep, creates atmosphere and mood, and gives focus and function. It’s time to unlock that power and use light to make your life better. ilumi LED Smartbulbs unleash the power of light giving you complete control to enjoy exactly the right light for you, at the right time, in the right place. Just screw in an ilumi Smartbulb like a regular bulb, download the free ilumi app, and enjoy luxury lighting at your fingertips.
5) How effective was CES 206?
CES was a great experience for us and helped us to network and establish relationships with other retail partners. In addition to the exposure that CES gives your brand to the attendees and consumers that walk the floor, we filmed a follow up story for Shark Tank that just aired Friday, February 12th. This certainly helped to garner a lot of PR support that resulted in increased sales and increased brand awareness.
6)What inspired you to go into business?
Egan and Bora have a combined 20 years of working in various sectors of technology including positions with Maxim Integrated, Deloitte, Sabre Holdings, Honeywell, and Siemens. It was after several years working in a variety of industries that both co-founders made the decision to enter the MBA program at UTDallas which is where they developed the idea to create ilumi.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Starting a business is not an easy thing, but if it’s something you are passionate about and believe in then do it. There are more tools and communities out there today that will help you pursue your passion in building a new business than ever before. Yes, it’s scary and risky, but at the same time it’s extremely fulfilling and rewarding. Also, don’t be afraid to share your most passionate ideas. You should be shouting it from the mountain tops and doing what it takes to build your business. And if you do that enough and really dig in, you’ll quickly find others that will not only hear your calling but join you in building it into a business.
We would like to thank Corey for speaking with us.