Eddie Luaces, founder of Silectica, became interested in entrepreneurship while working at two startups that experienced successful exits.
"I came to Central Florida in 2000 to join the Internet startup frenzy," he said. "I was one of the initial employees at Mesh Networks which was my first exposure to startups. Mesh grew to 80 employees and was sold to Motorola in 2005. After a few years back at Motorola, I was bitten by the small company startup bug again and enlisted to lead the U.S. subsidiary of a Spanish chip startup company working on a unique smart meter communication solution. I did that for a few years at the UCF Incubator in Winter Springs and that company was purchased a few years later by Atmel. After some time at Atmel, I went off on my own to start Silectica to pursue the industrial internet of things (IoT) intelligent lighting solution space."
Silectica designs lighting control modules that fit inside lighting fixtures and seamlessly integrate with Cisco's Connected Grid industrial IoT communications platform.
"We design the modules and produce them at local contract manufacturers. We then sell them to Cisco IT solution value-added-resellers who in-turn have lighting fixture manufacturers integrate them into lighting fixtures," Luaces explained. "Our solution is an industrially hardened solution for large utility, municipal and commercial outdoor installations. Most other lighting control solutions employ networking technology that's not as hardened or professional grade as ours."
Luaces had his aha moment while working at Atmel as the business development manager for the Americas.
"I was in meetings with a lot of lighting, solar and meter customers," he said. "With the lighting customers especially, there was always a disconnect between what we were selling which was a chip and what they needed which was a turnkey module. I found a willing partner in Cisco to put our two technologies together to go after this need in the market."
Luaces' advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to make the most of partnerships. "Find a good partner," he said."Pick something to do that makes sense in the market. That only comes with some experience and time. Then go find the partners to fill the holes that you're lacking. Don’t try to do it all yourself. Partner with a sales channel who will be your advocate in the field in front of customers."