MIKE CASPER

CO-FOUNDER & CEO, AZUMO

"JUST AS LIGHT TRAVELS FAST, EVERYTHING AT AZUMO HAPPENS FAST... WE HAVE GATHERED A TEAM THAT WORKS PERSISTENTLY TO PURSUE INNOVATION AND BOLD IDEAS THROUGH EXPLORATION, EXPERIMENTATION, AND PROBLEM-SOLVING

- MIKE CASPER, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, AZUMO

The display industry has become omnipresent in society. We find displays all around us, in our smartphones, tablets, laptops, TVs, ATM machines, thermostats, gas station pumps, e-bikes…the list is never-ending. In the LCD industry, like many large industries, they tend to take whatever was working last year and make it just a bit better. Many hardtech companies, for example, have been focusing on advancing battery technology, which has made great strides. However, most consumers don’t realize that the #1 power drain in most mobile electronics is the display. At Azumo we decided to take a different approach — as innovators we ask ourselves,“Why don’t we make displays that consume less power?”

Founded in 2008 in Chicago, Dr. Tony Nichol, Shawn Puclyowski, and I are the founders of Azumo. We are changing the way people view and experience light. Continuously innovating and searching for the latest and greatest in lighting a display, we have turned Azumo into a company that is delivering efficient lighting to a variety of applications using a compact system of LEDs and advanced materials.

We had to overcome many trials and tribulations to get where we are now, this being the third iteration of our business. We started up a company called BriteIce, where we sold an NHL team on a proposal to embed fully lit promotional advertising into the ice that could be flashed on and off throughout the game. However, at the eleventh hour, the team’s management canceled the idea. We pivoted to our next application, which led to our previous company FLEx Lighting, where we sold our product InvisiSign, a fully lit promotional ad that went in the glass doors of beverage and food coolers in stores. Then, as Dr. Nichol was completing his doctorate in optics at M.I.T., the world of flat-panel displays was making rapid changes that needed new solutions. Even though displays were getting thinner and thinner, the lighting in the LCD was draining the device’s battery life.

Just as light travels fast, everything at Azumo happens fast. With the ceaseless innovations that come with being in the technology industry, we have gathered a team that works persistently to pursue innovation and bold ideas through exploration, experimentation, and problem-solving. With our latest funding round, we were able to purchase production equipment for our next generation optical films that are only 1/20th of a millimeter thick. Azumo’s display, which we’re calling LCD 2.0TM, is helping customers work in a variety of challenging lighting conditions – and saving them lots of energy and money in doing so.

Overall, with great focus and an upbeat attitude, we drive results quickly for our customers, providing them with advanced solutions for their complex problems. What has led Azumo to what it is today is our
experience, it has allowed us to think freely and not be trapped in the box of how the industry has developed LCD innovation in the past. As innovators and business leaders in the city of Chicago, relationships are key to building a successful business in this passionate city. Whether it’s friends, family, employees, investors, or customers… Azumo strives to maintain relationships and emulate our character in everything we do, which can outlast any business venture.

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