Chicago-based startup LuminAID, which makes solar-powered and waterproof lanterns designed for emergencies, crushed through a Kickstarter goal it launched for its latest product, which is much more of a home accessory than an emergency resource.
The Kickstarter for LuminAID’s Smart Solar Garden lantern launched only a week ago and has raised more than $71,000 of its $20,000 goal. The wireless lanterns, which come in a star shape or a “gem,” which resembles a pyramid, are Bluetooth-enabled and connect directly to a user’s phone. Users can change the lights’ colors, control their brightness and set light schedules, which turn them on and off at specific times.
Pledges for the two lights range from $59-759, depending on how many consumers want to buy, and orders are expected to be delivered in June. For each pledge, LuminAID will donate one solar light to one of their charitable partners. Additionally, if the Kickstarter raises $100,000, the startup says it will donate an additional 1,000 lights.
The startup, founded by Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta at the University of Chicago in 2011, has a strong record of working with communities in need. After the earthquake in Nepal in 2015, LuminAID donated lights to victims, and just this year, they’ve donated more than 25,000 lights and phone chargers to relief efforts in Puerto Rico, Mexico and across the Caribbean after hurricanes.
In 2015, the startup scored $200,000 from Mark Cuban on an episode of Shark Tank. And In February, the startup launched another product, the PackLite Max Phone Charger, an inflatable lantern and phone charger that provides up to 50 hours of light. At the time, LuminAID said it had given tens of thousands of lights to charities since launching.