As the fall season begins, most of us living in less sunny areas have to turn the light on in the middle of the day in a windowless or poorly lit room. This inspired two university students to come up with a solution named Echy, after the contraction of the French words EClairage (lighting) and HYbride (hybrid).
Their idea is simple. Optical sensors installed on roofs concentrate natural light and transfer it indoors using optical fiber. A panel of solar captors, which can be oriented so they always face the sun, is installed on the roof of a house or building. These captors are formed of optic lenses that concentrate light and transfer it to fiber-optic cables, which carry it to the rooms in need of light. A 3-m2 panel of captors can light a surface area of 100 m2 using decorative ceiling tiles.
The benefits offered by this system are:
- The positive impacts of natural light on health
- Making energy savings
- Increasing energy efficiency of buildings
- Providing well-being and visual comfort for employees, residents or clients
- Using a 100% clean and sustainable technology
As well as saving a considerable amount of money, Echy also improves quality of life. The physical and mental benefits of sunshine are used in a wide range of environments: schools, hospitals and retirement homes, as well as companies and any public place. And now these benefits can also be enjoyed in your own home!
Created in 2012 by Quentin Martin Laval, Florent Longa and Stéphanie Le Beuze, ECHY patented their eco-friendly lightning solution. The idea was born while Quentin and Florent were still students in Polytechnic. Their prototype was built at the ‘Ecole des ponts et Chaussées’.
One year and half after, the start-up won several prizes among which the world competition EDF Pulse (Smart Living category) and Moovjee. After a selection by an international jury and 3 weeks of votes from the public, they won over the other finalist coming from the Silicon Valley. They signed a partnership with a world key-actor in traditional lightning.
In order to accelerate the commercial development of the product, the startup just raised 500 k€ from Business Angels. This sum will also enable them to continue their R&D efforts.
"There is no miracle to succeed as an entrepreneur. What worked for ECHY is that we are a strong and full team, we believe in what we do and we work a lot. We had the chance to be followed by the ‘Ecole des ponts et Chaussées’ and Incubateur Descartes who both gave us valuable advice. Without them there would have been no failure because there would have been no attempt at all. Thanks to the Ecole des Ponts ParisTech and to Incubateur Descartes our student project became reality and turned into the creation of a start-up. "
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