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Nano College trio puts bright idea into practice

Nano College trio puts bright idea into practice

Three graduate students at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany are looking to

Three graduate students at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany are looking to manufacture less-expensive LED light bulbs for consumers.

Jack Bulmer of Glens Falls; Jeff Leathersich of Greece, Monroe County; and Puneet Suvarna of Bangalore, India, formed Goodlight LLC after receiving $50,000 from the State University of New York Research Foundation to kick-start their business plan.

“We are working under the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund to develop technology that will essentially improve the efficiency and reliability of LED lighting,” said Bulmer, 22, chief technology officer of Goodlight. “The main goal of our technology is to make LED bulbs more affordable.”

Light-emitting diode, or LED, bulbs have a greater lifespan and electrical efficiency compared with traditional incandescent bulbs. But LED bulbs are typically more expensive. Bulmer and his partners want to change that.

Bulmer, Leathersich and Suvarna won a regional business plan competition earlier this month and are headed to the New York Business Plan Competition next Friday, where they will compete against other teams from across the state for prizes totaling $100,000 in cash and services.

“We are pretty optimistic for the competition next week,” Bulmer said. “We see it as a unique opportunity to share our work and let people know what we’re doing. We also get to hear ideas from other students all across the state. It’s very interesting to see all of the different students with such great ideas.”

Heather Hage, senior director of innovation and partnerships at the SUNY Research Foundation, said Goodlight was awarded funding based on the potential of the students’ technology to reach the marketplace and have an impact on the industry.

The foundation’s Technology Accelerator Fund provided a total of $250,000 for five SUNY-developed technologies this spring, bringing the fund’s total investment to $1 million. SUNY has generated 2,800 startups across its 64 campuses statewide.

“The students with Goodlight have incredible enthusiasm for their project and have big entrepreneurial spirit,” Hage said. “When they graduate, it is likely they will move on to the next step, where we will invite them to participate in the Research Foundation’s Innovation Showcase in Manhattan and they can pitch to angel investors and high-network individuals for funding and support.”

Bulmer said the goal for Goodlight is to get the technology accepted as part of the manufacturing of LED bulbs. To do that, the students are seeking additional funding and partnerships with area technology companies.

“We would love to get Goodlight into industry,” Bulmer said. “Following the business plan competition, we will write more grant applications and try to get more money for this project. But without CNSE, I don’t think any of this would have been possible.”

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