It all comes to the Sun. It is not only a source of life but also an enormous amount of energy to develop sustainable city planning. A multinational trio from engineering startup “LightMirror” are here to test and build impactful urban engineering solutions to enlighten the public buildings and improve their energy efficiency. “Even 2/3 of energy consumption in EU households is for space heating. Thus, energy saved means CO2 emission is reduced. Our prototype panels have a highly reflective surface and tests show the significant results that keep us going”, says the founder Dimitri Ionescu, a Franko-Romanian cosmopolitan.
Discovered the Baltics
3 years ago, after his master's degree in urban planning and civil engineering, he left France to pursue entrepreneurship skills in Estonia, the land of startup unicorns. Before jumping into this adventure, he applied to the Y Combinator” Co-founder Matchmaking Platform. “I was willing to find like-minded teammates. And the platform did it surprisingly smoothly!”, remembers Dimitri and introduces the startup's cofounder Alexandra and CTO Anna.
Working remotely, the trio spun the idea of inclined reflective panels into the startup company. “Reflective surfaces placed on the edge of the roofs can redirect sunlight to the windows of another building. The sunlight becomes a controllable asset, and there are many benefits: free solar gains, natural light”, says the founder. Dimitry entered the Tallinn innovation community and started his startup’s journey at “Taltech” university. It was a great environment for entrepreneurial skills, and he found out about “Scale-up Champions”, an international deep-tech community, that introduces startups to scaling opportunities.
Improves the public hospitals
“It was the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemics, so thanks to an online webinar series, I became familiar with 5 European deep-tech markets. It made me realize where I could test the prototype and build the credentials. Also, I contacted Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania, to strengthen the engineering side of innovation”, remembers Dimitri. He moved to Lithuania to implement more R&D and improve the prototype. Also, Kaunas was the place where visual identity and startup branding started. In February 2022 “LightMirror” also won the EU industry days startup prize. “Jury emphasized the fact we are targeting the places that need it the most and in addition to energy savings we can potentially increase the quality of life”, says the startup’s founder.
Later he joined “Scale-up Champions” Online Market Discovery Tours and that is where the architect made the first contacts in the Polish startup ecosystem. “Our main clients are the infrastructure managers of the public hospitals. Usually, these buildings were built 50-60 years ago. According to the long-term renovation strategy of the Polish public buildings of 2022, Poland's hospital and healthcare buildings are among the most energy-consuming facilities in the country. The average is 611kWh/m², while the country's current requirements for new healthcare building construction are 110kWh/m². These numbers show the urge to change the situation”, says the founder.
Scaling in Poland
This May the founder physically traveled to Poznan, Poland, where a live “Scale-up Champions” Market Discovery Tour took place. Choosing to travel by train and bus over the plane he committed to being conscious of the CO2 emissions in daily activities. Here at “Impact CEE 2022” congress selected prospective startups to meet the key innovation, deep-tech industry leaders, and investors.
Promising contacts led to the new opportunities and the team is going to attend the Wolves Summit in Wroclaw. “We are also planning to open a subsidiary company business in Poland, as the co-founders are both Ukrainians. Due to the ongoing war’s violence, they and their families currently stay in the Southern region of Poland and France”, explains Dimitri Ionescu.
He argues that such programs for startups and incubation activities are a great push, especially for first-time founders. “For an early-stage startup, when you come to a new country, participating in startups’ events is primordial to make the first contacts. It is lifesaving, especially when you are a first-time founder. You meet many people in a short time, and every new person is an opportunity for synergy, potential investors, or potential clients”, explains Dimitri.
Now “LightMirror” is about designing custom-made building projects and precise calculations. Architects need to choose the percentage of reflection, the color, the shape, and the panel’s texture according to the project’s needs. For this reason, the team is looking forward to implementing cutting-edge calculation systems and constantly improving the product thanks to feedback on experimentations.