Ivus Energy Innovations Inc., a Moscow-based company that gets help from Spokane's Sirti, has inked a marketing and equity agreement with a California safety-gear company that will distribute worldwide a line of flashlights using technology Ivus developed.
Ivus, a startup that receives business planning assistance from Sirti and keeps a business office at the Sirti Technology Center here, expects first-year revenue of about $450,000 from its recently signed contract with 511 Inc., of Modesto, Calif., says David Alexander, Ivus' Moscow-based CEO and co-founder. The company's seven employees all are located in Moscow, though Alexander also spends some time at its Sirti office, where he meets with Spokane investors and Sirti consulting staff.
Through the agreement, 511 has obtained exclusive rights to market and distribute Ivus flashlights to the public safety professions, including police, firefighters, and other emergency first responders. Ivus retains the rights to distribute the technology in other markets, Alexander says.
Also as part of the agreement, Ivus and 511 each will receive part ownership in the other, and Ivus currently is negotiating with 511 to appoint its CEO, Dan Costa, to Ivus' board of directors, Alexander says. 511, which distributes clothing and safety gear for law-enforcement and emergency personnel, has grown rapidly since its inception in 2003, he says. Ivus was launched in early 2007.
The first flashlight that will be sold in the 511 line is a powerful, quick-charging model commonly referred to as a "duty light" by law-enforcement officers, Alexander says. The duty light, which 511 will market under the name "Light for Life," has two levels of brightness, 90 lumens and 270 lumens. Standard flashlights operate at around 25 lumens, and most duty lights are between 150 lumens and 200 lumens, he says.
The electron-storage system that powers the Ivus flashlight, called an ultracapacitor, can be charged in 90 seconds by the standard 12-volt connection in a vehicle, eliminating the need to replace batteries to power the light, Alexander says. He says the powerful light and a quick charging time are beneficial for emergency responders, who can't carry a lot of extra gear, such as backup batteries. The flashlight can be recharged up to 50,000 times, he says.
511 will oversee production of the flashlight, while Ivus will provide design expertise and approval and will develop other flashlights for the product line. 511 plans to produce 150,000 of the duty lights in the first 12 months of the contract, Alexander says. The product will be available beginning in March, but 511 is taking orders for it now through its Web site, he says.
Separately, Ivus has received preliminary approval of the first of six patents it has filed involving the flashlight technology it has developed, including for the recharging system that delivers in 90 seconds a charge that operates the flashlight for 90 minutes, Alexander says.
Ivus has secured a $370,000 loan via the Sirti Technology Growth Fund and also is funded in part by investment groups, including Spokane-based Ponderosa Capital LLC. Ivus expects the income from the 511 agreement, along with the loan, to allow it to hire two more engineers in Moscow within the next six months, and possibly a total of four within the next year. With the cash infusions, Ivus plans to continue to develop products that can use the ultracapacitor technology, such as power tools, handheld appliances, and additional lighting products, Alexander says.
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