Detalhe do Artigo
Meet Ledax, a manufacturer of LED lamps that, now, is committed to solar energy for the SME segment
In the Shark Tank Brasil program, exhibited by the closed channel Sony Brazil, small and medium entrepreneurs have the opportunity to convince a quintet of investors to become partners in their business. The atmosphere is tense and the level of questioning assumes the air of inquisition. Even when the match is over, the tension remains at a high level, based on proposals and counterproposals, in a sequence that most closely resembles the final round of a poker game.
On the night of November 21, 2018, the duo Rodrigo Travi and Hugo Vasconcelos, founders of Ledax Energy and Lighting, a manufacturer of LED luminaires, passed by and felt on the skin what it is to swim in a tank full of sharks. "The pressure is great." They try to destabilize all the time, "Rodrigo recalls. On the occasion, they achieved the promise of partnership with the mega-entrepreneur João Appolinário, owner of the network of stores and TV Polishop.
Participating in the Shark Tank, however, was not the only daring starring entrepreneurs who met in the electrical engineering course at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA). Ledax emerged and 2014, as a result of the desire of Rodrigo, today with 33 years, to give a turn in the race. To start the business, he asked to resign from Siemens, where he had been working for four years. He joined the economies and registered the company. The initial capital of R $ 30 thousand was sufficient to acquire the failed mass of a lighting company installed in São Bernardo do Campo (SP).
For 2019, Ledax expects to close with prescriptions of R $ 25 million, being R $ 17 million with the sale of LED lamps for the corporate market (shopping centers, soccer stadiums and supermarkets, for example) and R $ 8 million with the contracts signed by the new unit: Energy Solutions; focused on projects of generation of solar energy for the segment of small and medium companies (SMEs). To convince potential customers, the duo set up a business model easy to assimilate. Ledax takes care of all the stages: from the design of the project, to the import and installation of panels and inverters, through the registration of the equipment.
"The project is structured based on the specific demand of each customer and covers up to 95% of the energy needs," he explains. "That way, the company is free of the abrupt oscillations of the tariff charged by the concessionaire." And for a good time. In the end, each team has an estimated useful life in 25 years, while the amortization of the investment takes between three and four years, based on the economy generated in the light bill.
The cost of the project is around R $ 4.80 per Wp (Watt-peak, measure regarding the generation capacity of each solar panel). According to Rodrigo, this is a competitive value, especially for the SME segment which, because it does not have access to the Free Energy Market, depends exclusively on the concessionaires. In addition, it is in line with the average cost of installing a Distributed Micro Generation plant, between R $ 4.00 and R $ 5.00 per kW, whose maximum power can not exceed 100 kW, according to Aneel regulations.
To make the new division viable, they decided to transfer production to an area of 3 thousand m², in the Industrial District of Salvador, located in the Pirajá neighborhood. The unit started operating in March and should receive investments of R $ 6 million over the next three years. Weighed in the decision the fiscal incentives offered by the local government. In the largest city in the ABC Region of São Paulo, a commercial office was maintained, similar to those existing in Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro, as well as a representation in Shanghai. In total, Ledax generates 74 direct jobs.
Born in Rio Grande do Sul and settled in Salvador 18 years ago, he was talking with his father-in-law José Humberto de Souza, owner of the Hiper Ideal retail network, that Rodrigo observed in the lighting market a reef to be exploited. When reading a report on LED lamps, José Humberto asked the son-in-law for help to buy some units to install in his house. "It was so difficult to find in the market that we decided to import a lot of China," recalls the founder of Ledax.
From there, he realized that he could do well by investing his knowledge in a business with great potential for growth, once energy efficiency has become an obsession for many Brazilians. The increase in the rate, which rose 50% above inflation in the period 1995-2017, contributed to this. In this context, the search for cost reduction and the diversification policy of the energy matrix made clean, renewable and cheap energy projects gain momentum.Who pulled the line was the wind modality, whose park installed already has a power similar to that of the hydroelectric plant of Itaipu. "The ball of the time is solar energy," bets the founder of Ledax.
To surf in this wave, the entrepreneurs are back on the road in search of new partners. "We opened a new round of recruitment," says Rodrigo. But what about the money promised by the "shark" João Apolinário? "We are still in the process of adjusting contractual issues," summarizes the CEO of Ledax.
By Rosenildo Ferreira
Text originally published by IstoÉ Dinheiro on 05/09/2019.