THE BEGINNINGFounders Tomi Kuntze and Hannu Hukkanen had been designing LED lighting solutions for the automotive industry since 1997. By 2002 almost half of all automotive LED lights in the world could be traced back to their design tables. But they saw a future for LED far beyond just automotive lighting and so in 2002, borrowing 4000 euros each, they founded LEDiL Oy and started a revolution in the lighting world.
FROM SIDE-PROJECTS TO THE BIRTH OF “FLARE”In order to generate cash flow Tomi and Hannu undertook a variety of side projects in the beginning, designing and manufacturing plastic molds in Portugal for customers in Finland. Other projects included optics for data communication and various lamp installations such as the Stockmann department store Christmas windows for all stores across the country. The pair also launched their own LED lamps under the brand name Jewel winning an innovation prize in Finland as well as finding time to share their knowledge by providing training courses for Finnish companies.
Even telecommunications giants, like Nokia and Sagem from France came knocking, realizing LEDiL’s design expertise extended well beyond what they had in-house, but Tomi and Hannu hadn’t forgotten their main purpose and 2003 also saw the launch of FLARE, the company’s first lens. Intended for emergency vehicles FLARE quickly became a bestseller and is still in production today.
INTRODUCING “APOLLO”Things were developing nicely and in 2005 LEDiL attended its first trade fair, ‘Lightfair International’ in New York, introducing the world to its first product family, APOLLO. The same product is still available today and continues to sell well; only the name has changed and the family is now called EMILY.
BIG-SCALE MANUFACTURING TO MEET ROCKETING DEMANDIn order to remain competitive LEDiL began production in China in 2005, and with increased demand manufacturing began to scale in 2006. This was also the year the company first attended the all important bi-annual Light and Building fair in Frankfurt on a joint stand with OSRAM.
THE TEAM TAKES SHAPESales were increasing rapidly and new market opportunities were presenting themselves on an almost daily basis. Tomi realized he couldn’t manage everything on his own and so moved Joni Mäki from the light lab to provide much needed administrative sales support. Joni has worked at LEDIL since 2004 and proved his worth and many who know LEDiL will know Joni as the company’s hard working and much respected Sales Director. 2008 was also the year YungFeng Tang was recruited to open up the all important Chinese market. On the design side Hannu also needed more help with optics design and so Olli Laakkio, who had held various positions in the company since 2003, joined his team.
FROM INTERNATIONAL TO A GLOBAL PLAYERThis was the tipping point for LEDiL as the company signed distribution key agreements with Arrow and online distributor Digi-Key giving the company a truly global reach for the first time.
CEO AND CAPTAIN OF GROWTHLEDiL was growing quickly, but the pace was speeding up, and in 2010 it broke the sound barrier. With such explosive growth Tomi and Hannu knew they needed someone with experience in scalable processes and corporate management to take the company to the next level. In November they invited Rami Huovinen to join LEDiL as a partner and CEO, leaving the two original founders the time they needed to continue focusing on innovation, growth and building the wealth of the company.
AWARD WINNING COMPANYHard work brings awards and in 2011 LEDiL was very well awarded indeed. The company earned no less than 7 national awards including the prestigious Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Trade Category and the nationally renowned and respected Finnish Company of the Year award.
GUARDING THE HOUSE OF QUALITYA comprehensive and ever-growing portfolio of highly original innovations and designs made LEDiL a market leader. The company knew it was about time this intellectual capital was protected and so started its comprehensive patenting process in earnest. Quality is also a cornerstone of the company and in August LEDiL was awarded ISO 9001 quality certification.
A PRODUCT FOR EVERY PURPOSEThe portfolio reaches 3000 unique products with the introduction of the FLORENCE product family – a linear optic array strengthening the company’s position as a market-leading innovator. Further enhancing its commitment to quality LEDiL is awarded ISO 14001.
RATOS OPEN A NEW HORIZONA momentous event in the story of LEDiL when Swedish investment specialist Ratos becomes a major owner of the company. With 16,100 employees and a SEK 33 billion turnover Ratos provides LEDiL with access to intellectual capital and financing for future growth in an increasingly competitive market. Finland’s President, Sauli Niinistö, presented LEDiL with the coveted Internationalization Award. .
LEDiL SETS FOOT ON AMERICAN SOILRealizing the huge potential of the Americas LEDiL makes a firm and lasting commitment to this important market area by establishing LEDiL Inc. in Sycamore, Illinois.
A NEW HOUSE OF LIGHTAnother notable year in an ever more dynamic and rich history, the company moves to bigger premises, giving it more flexibility to meet ever increasing market demand and changing customer needs. As you would expect from being located right next door to the old Nokia campus, the new corporate headquarters is jam packed with cutting edge technology and equipment to help ensure LEDiL optics remain the best in the business.
WHAT'S NEXT?With roots in an industry that has some of the most stringent and exacting quality requirements in the world it should come as no surprise that quality is at the heart of everything we create. As Finns we have learnt from our motor racing world champions, that to be the best you don’t necessarily have to be the fastest or even win every race, you just need to be persistent and consistent. At LEDiL we are persistent in refusing to accept anything other than excellence, and consistent in delivering the most innovative, high quality optics in the world; in the past, in the present and most importantly of all, in the future.