The Citylite story
There are very few people who realise how many things have to be taken into consideration before launching a new product like Citylite and if they did most people would never even start, even though they had a great idea. Luckily there are people who not only have great ideas but also have the energy, courage and belief to carry it through. One of these people is Lars Beck, the man behind Citylite.
Compact bicycle lights without brackets
It’s actually 20 years ago since Lars Beck first got the idea for a compact set of bicycle lights that could snap directly onto the bicycle without requiring a bracket. He approached some of the leading companies within the bicycle industry and ended up selling the design to one of the major players in the bicycle market. Unfortunately the company put the product in the draw. So what do you do if you believe that you have a brilliant idea that you want to see on the market. You take a deep breath and push on. That’s what Lars Beck did anyway and eventually managed to get the product into production and launch it in several countries in Europe. But his troubles were far from over and a competition clause put the adventure on hold. Lars fought hard for several years to keep hold of his patents and that is why Lars now again is on his way out into the world with his bicycle lights – a simple idea that makes life easier and safer for all cyclists and this is at a time when the bicycle is more popular than ever, both at home and around the world.
A brilliant idea and a lump of plasticine
One could write many words about all those years of hard work on Citylite. But if one should mention the key elements in the journey that Lars has travelled, then it started with a lump of plasticine which he rode around with on his handlebar. He knew he had got a brilliant idea, but how could he take it further?
Ups and downs
The little lump of plasticine was the beginning of an adventure that really has had its ups and downs. Lars wanted to study product design but this meant that he first had to learn to draw. He spent several years improving this talent and eventually applied to the Danish Design School, but didnt pass the entry exam. Instead he applied to several design courses abroad and in the end chose to study Product Design & Manufacture at a university in England. This has obviously given him key knowhow within the field of product development and manufacturing.
The right contacts
A brilliant idea is one thing, financing and production is something else. But when you have a passion for something there’s always a solution. Lars began looking for investors for his project and through a number of coincidences brought him to Deloitte and Touche Corporate Finance in Southampton, England. They were so convinced of his idea that they assisted him in writing a business plan and soon Lars was negotiating with some of the largest companies in the bicycle business. The future was looking bright, literally! But then, as it happens all too often with good ideas, it was bought and filed away on strategic grounds. However, that wasn’t much help to Lars, he wanted to see his idea on the market.
Patents and provisions
A brilliant idea can quickly get buried in legalities and economics. In principle, Lars owned the rights to his own product but the company that had bought the rights but never actually produced it objected. Lars spent the next five years fighting to keep his patents in place while taking on a number of different jobs that had nothing to do with design. He always kept a prototype of Citylite in his pocket so that he could remind himself why he was there at times of despair.
Back on his bike and on the road again
A couple of years ago Lars succeeded in finally getting his project back on track with a new and ultimate version called Citylite. Finally the world’s most compact set of bicycle lights will soon be lighting the way for cyclists in cities all over the world.