If you’re looking for something interesting to do Thursday evening, check out a new Bend startup that is combining an innovation on candles with a social mission. LuDela is hosting a meet-and-greet happy hour Thursday 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Tech Center Thump followed by product demos and a slideshow.
LuDela founder Jamie Bianchini recently relocated to Bend from Nevada, and brought his fledging social venture business with him. He’s created a real-flame, scent-on-demand decorative candle that has a wireless remote control ignition, extinguish, timers and extensive safety features. (Related: Are we becoming the world hub of remote-controlled flame products?)
The inspiration for LuDela came while Jamie was on a tandem bike ride around the world. According to the LuDela news release:
In a small village in West Africa, about half way through a global tandem cycling expedition, Jamie woke up to a terrifying scene—a room filled with smoke from a candle fire in his room. Luckily, Jamie was able to put the fire out and nobody was hurt. Little did he know, that event would become a defining moment of the global tour and the stimulus for a promising social venture called LuDela that recently relocated its headquarters to Bend.
The day after that fateful candle fire Jamie was cycling a lonely road in Burkina Faso when he was hit with a vision of a totally innovative new way to experienced real-flame candlelight. This revolutionary new candle design uses embedded technology to create the safest, most convenient and truly hassle free real-flame candle experience in the world.
Jamie notes while he was riding in Africa, the first thing kids that he met asked him for was books. So, connecting the dots here, he decided that for every LuDela candle sold, the company will donate a book to an underserved community.
LuDela’s first “book drop” will be in February in Uganda, at the Good Hope School, which was founded by a Ugandan rider who rode on Jamie’s bike back in 2007.
The company has already taken flight on Kickstarter. Its crowdfunding campaign, which you can still contribute to, has raised $27,275 — well past the original $20,000 goal. Jamie is currently in fundraising mode, aiming for a spot in the early stage competition of the Bend Venture Conference.
He’s already raised a total of $1.4 million, which he used to create and develop the product.
Jamie is serial entrepreneur and a graduate of USC’s entrepreneurship program. He’s also the author of A Bicycle Built for Two Billion, and visited Bend in 2015 as part of a tour for that book.
Back to Thursday’s event. Jamie mostly wants to meet the community and introduce LuDela to Bend. He and his wife are making internationally inspired appetizers. There will be drinks available. And he plans to demo the candles and then host a slideshow of the his 81-country tandem bike expedition.
LuDela Open House
4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Happy Hour
6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Slide Show
Thump @ The Tech Center
1001 SW Emkay Drive
Questions? Contact Jamie at [email protected]
You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].