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Introduced to reduce bicycle accidents at night and improve the cycle’s visibility, Revolights was born in 2011. It works with a battery-operated LED lighting system attached to the bicycle wheels.
The lights in the front-wheel act as the headlight, and the lights on the rear wheel make the brake light. This product was super-hit when it launched and garnered a lot of customers.
Sadly, in 2019, the company made the hard decision of shutting down. The main trigger for this decision was a lack of resources. The company met with very high demand in the market and took on an enormous number of orders even though they did not have the resources to fulfill them.
The Mission and Product of Revolights
The idea of Revolights was birthed in the founder’s mind, Kent Frankovich, when he faced trouble while riding his bicycle in the dark. That led him to the mission of lowering bicycle accidents due to low visibility at night.
Guided by this mission, he, along with his team, designed a prototype and launched the company with a Kickstarter campaign.
The LED lighting system of this product clips onto the wheel’s spokes. With the help of magnets, these lights remain in a fixed position. The batteries can be recharged using a removable USB charger, and the power unit is placed in the hub of the bicycle wheel.
Revolights Kickstarter Funding
- The first Kickstarter campaign in 2011 was successful and raised almost $215,000
- In 2013, they ran a second Kickstarter campaign and received funding worth $94,000
With the money from the initial round of funding, they got their patents and funded tooling, manufacturing, and evolved design.
Initially, Revolight’s product fit only 27″ wheel rims. They also started selling wheels with pre-installed lighting systems. They even drew plans to scale this up to different sizes and develop an integrated self-charging battery system.
Revolight’s started selling online primarily, and this unique product was successful within a year. Revolights’ founder Kent, applied to appear for Shark Tank for the following reasons:
- To grow more
- Reduce production costs
- Make meaningful, beneficial connections
Revolights on Shark Tank
Revolights initially pitched to the sharks on the show Shark Tank for an investment of $150,000 with a 10% share. Some of the sharks were impressed with the product and believed they had undervalued the company.
After receiving offers from all of them and thoughtful consideration, Kent finalized the deal with Robert Herjavec. Robert’s offer was an investment of $300,000 for 10%.
This winning deal at Shark Tank helped Kent get an additional investment of $1,000,000 from “Angel” investors in 2014. The valuation of RevoLights skyrocketed after Shark Tank and the investments from “Angel” investors.
Revolights Post Shark Tank
After Shark Tank, Revolight grew drastically and expanded to multiple countries like South Africa, Singapore, and Brazil. They also started selling through various platforms like
- Their website
- Brick-and-mortar stores
- REI – the American sports and outdoors goods retailer
- Specialty bike stores
Furthermore, Revolights launched new product lines with products such as
- Revolights Coolidge
- Revolights Eclipse.
Why Did Revolights Go Out of Business?
In January 2019, Revolights shut down. A preeminent contributing factor for Revolights shutting down is a massive rise in crowdfunding.
Start-ups that are recipients of this magnificent funding coupled with their optimism can be catapulted into success overnight.
While it does help the start-ups work towards their mission, it can also give them a reality check. Mostly, in terms of how unprepared the start-up is for a rise in people’s interest in their product. It leaves them in a perpetual struggle due to a lack of resources and infrastructure.
That is what Revolights encountered as the demand surpassed the expectations of its founder.
They received funding swiftly and in massive amounts unexpectedly. That was followed by Revolights being flooded by orders that they could not cater to.
Revolights was overwhelmed with funds and orders but could not launch properly on the correct scale.
To make things worse, they accepted this flood of orders without first making the right manufacturing deals or fulfilling the required legal formalities.
From the outside, it seemed like Revolights had become a sensational overnight success story, but, unfortunately, the founders were yet to establish the business from the ground up to start serving these orders.
Before officially shutting down, they sent a formal email to their Kickstarter supporters and loyal customers. In the email, they informed them about their decision to close and mentioned how the lack of resources drove them to this decision.
1. How do Revolights work?
The Revolights lighting system comes with 2 wheels, one front, and one rear wheel. The battery unit is fixed in the hub of the rear wheel. The wheel in the front has LEDs that flash in patterns of your choice from the options offered. It helps alert other vehicles and people on the road of the cyclist’s movements.
2. How is Revolights different from any other lighting systems for bicycles?
Revolights offers options to either make its LED lights flash or also set them to blink in a steady pattern to ensure proper visibility at night. No other bicycle lighting systems offer such a versatile bicycle lighting system.
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