Suacara Lighting: a success story in need of funding

Asier Muinelo runs SUACÂRA, the company he founded at the end of 2019. In less than two years, it has consolidated a project based on specialisation and innovation: large format and customised lighting that has already won over major clients from different sectors. Its products are found in public buildings, homes, shops of major textile brands, hospitals, and hotels. A success that they are beginning to export outside Spain and, very soon, beyond Europe. Their exponential growth forced them to seek funding: it was a turning point that they overcame with the advice of Kaizen Consulting. CEO Asier Muinelo tells us about it in this interview.

– Suacara was founded just over two years ago and has already carved out a niche for itself in the highly competitive lighting market. How did you achieve this?

– We were developing products as we saw needs in the lighting market, even if it’s a mature market. The key has been to specialise in large formats with customised technical components. And that is how we offer innovation. We created the company at the end of 2019, but before that, we were working on the product. We studied the market, identified a niche, and provided solutions. Our lighting makes on-site installation much easier and we provide maintenance because our products are repairable, they have no obsolescence.

– Is this a factor that makes a difference?

– Absolutely. On the one hand, our lighting solutions greatly simplify the installation process on-site, even the tools required are basic. In addition, the prior study and customisation make everything much easier. The fact that we provide maintenance is also key; we are one of the few lighting companies that meet the requirements of a circular economy. We hardly use plastic components, we work with aluminum which is 100% recyclable and our parts are repairable, there is no obsolescence. Today, we comply with the circular economy and sustainability standards that will be required in the future.

– You already have a portfolio of major clients, including Inditex, El Corte Inglés and hospitals.

– Despite being a very young company, we are experiencing a high acceptance of our products. Currently, we already have large clients leaders in their sector in our portfolio with whom we work on a regular basis. Before our current stage, we set ourselves a great challenge. On the one hand, we had already achieved a product and a way of working that was well-accepted in various sectors and the next step was to address more ambitious markets and projects. This meant we needed a financial partner to offer us the necessary financial power to go in a solvent way. We wanted to have the sufficient cash flow to be able to supply ourselves because we saw that it was key to have raw materials in a difficult context with shortage problems. That’s when we contacted Kaizen Consulting to look for financing solutions to cover our business plan.

– Did Kaizen Consulting help you negotiate with banks?

– Yes, because at that time the banks were asking us for documentation from previous years that no longer corresponded to our new reality and our exponential growth. On 10 January 2022, we had already exceeded the previous year’s turnover. With traditional banks, it was difficult because they considered projects that were already on the table as futuristic. That was the challenge: to have the funding to back any major project that came our way so that we could respond to our customers with solvency and that our only concern was R&D to develop prototypes to meet the needs of our new customers. With Kaizen’s advice, we managed to attract the interest of traditional financial institutions because they prepared an excellent financing portfolio for us and argued for it before the banks.

– What was the process like?

– The Kaizen Consulting team believed in our project from the very beginning. They engaged with it by actively listening. We explained all the peculiarities of our business and they portrayed it very well in the documentation we took to the banks. So, they were able to close financing deals with traditional banks as well as with alternative financing. They were very proactive and we got what we needed very quickly, much more than we could have imagined.

– Have you incorporated Kaizen for financing tasks?

– Absolutely. We have seen that they are so efficient that we have left the financing 100% in their hands because we trust them completely and we know how they work. This allows us to dedicate ourselves completely to the development of our business in product and marketing. That’s what we want to do, so we don’t waste effort on financial management, which is taken care of by Kaizen Consulting. For example, now we need to buy machinery and we leave it in their hands to find the best solution. We let them advise us completely because they are our external financial team and we are very satisfied with the speed and results.

– What will be your growth this year?

– It will be above 500% for sure. But now we are comfortable. We have overcome the one-off risks and the growth problem we had last year. We are very optimistic about opening to markets in other countries. We have started exporting to Europe and will soon be exporting to other continents. We would like to go to the United States, where in terms of sustainable lighting they are behind us and there is huge potential for growth. We now have the backing we need, from traditional banks and other financiers, such as investment funds.

– Your success is based on innovation. One of them is solar cycle lighting. How does it work?

– We can include in our pieces the characteristic of imitating the cycle of sunlight. It changes throughout the day, and in the evening it loses intensity and whiteness, replicating the same cycle of the sun in the same place where the lighting is located. With the circadian cycle, if it’s getting dark at 6:00 pm, the light dims to the same extent and at the same time. We achieve this through an electronic controller designed by Suacara that can be customised. For instance, if you are in Norway in winter, you can also choose to have it follow the Mediterranean solar cycle.

– What are the benefits?

– From a personal point of view, the body has biological cycles that are affected by sunlight: we are most active in the morning, and in the evening you generate melatonin as bedtime approaches. Using light supports these cycles and it’s especially effective in children and can really benefit older people too. For people who are hospitalised or who cannot leave the house, this light helps their body to follow its natural cycle. Meanwhile, in work environments, there are studies that prove that night shifts have more accidents at work. A change in lighting can reduce the accident rate and make workers more active.

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