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Something for the bloke who already has everything

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Author Topic: Something for the bloke who already has everything  (Read 507 times)
« on: June 18, 2009, 05:26:52 pm »

Bright idea lights way for Russian deal

By TINA LAW - The Press | Thursday, 18 June 2009

LET THERE BE LIGHT: 2CLight inventor and company director Simon Dyer with one of this his solar-powered caps.  STACY SQUIRES/The Press.

LET THERE BE LIGHT: 2CLight inventor and company director Simon Dyer
with one of this his solar-powered caps. STACY SQUIRES/The Press.

Thousands of Russians will soon be seeing in the dark thanks to a Christchurch invention.

Christchurch firm 2CLight's solar-powered caps with lights built into the rim have captured the attention of Russian multimillionaire Vitaly Begar, who wants every one of Russia's 55 million households to have one.

He has signed a US$1.5 million (NZ$2.3m) deal that would see the company supply him with at least 120,000 caps this year.

Company owner and cap inventor Simon Dyer said the deal represented double the number of caps it would usually sell in a year, and it was likely the Russian would order more.

"It's the most significant deal we have done to date."

Dyer came up with the idea of developing a personal light more than 20 years ago when he was photographing a sunset in the tropics and found himself crawling through the undergrowth wishing he had a light.

He has been a backyard inventor much of his life, but it was not until 2007 that he left his job as a software development manager to focus on developing the solar cap.

The caps charge during the day and can provide up to 36 hours of light from two light-emitting diodes (LEDs). They also have a Morse code setting that sends an SOS signal.

Dyer hoped to secure other big deals this year after sending samples to Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko.

The Turkish police are testing the caps, along with the Malaysian defence forces and the Israeli army.

Begar, who owns a company that builds 3000 eco-homes across Europe each year, came across the cap when he was on holiday in New Zealand a couple of years ago.

He flew to New Zealand last week to meet Dyer and seal the deal, making him 2CLight's sole Russian distributor.

Ron Dards, a consultant who helped organise the deal, said the Russian market had huge potential for 2CLight and other New Zealand exporters.

The deal meant 2CLight would be able to employ two or three more people this year, enabling Dyer to focus more on research and development.

The caps for the overseas market are manufactured in China and those sold in New Zealand are made by 2CLight in Christchurch, which enabled the firm to meet small and customised orders.

Dyer and wife Vanessa have put every cent they have into the business. They had gained investments from "family, friends and fools", Dyer said, and last year secured $350,000 from the Canterbury Economic Development Fund, set up by the Christchurch City Council with funds from the sale of Orion gas assets in 2000.

Dyer appeared on the television show Dragon's Den in late 2006 and turned down an offer of $250,000 for 50 per cent of the company because he was not willing to give up that much of his business.

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