VALO, which means great courage, strength and moral worth, is a South Australian business founded in 2012 aiming to reach international markets in premium stadium lighting. With thousands of stadia across the world, the opportunities to place VALO and its South Australian innovations on the map are almost endless.
Based at Kent Town, founder Aaron Hickmann has been interested in premium lighting since his teens, leading to the development of the most sophisticated stadium lighting systems in Australia.
Starting his entrepreneurial journey while still at school, Mr. Hickmann deferred his tertiary studies to work at a lighting retailer, where he quickly discovered LEDs were the future.
Mr. Hickmann branched out to build connections with suppliers, where he could source products to supply to the housing and construction industry on a larger scale on his own.
When lighting is your passion, you’re always looking up, as Mr. Hickmann did at an Adelaide 36ers NBL game in 2014. That night he realised stadium lighting was sub-optimal and sporting codes should be better illuminating courts, pitches, tracks and grounds – for players, spectators and broadcasters.
Knowing he could effectively halve the 36ers’ energy bill each month by installing cutting-edge LEDs, Mr. Hickmann worked with the club to source a green energy loan and illuminate Adelaide Arena in Adelaide’s west, providing a more uniform light source, a better playing environment and a more sophisticated indoor atmosphere. His move towards stadium lighting had begun.
With a vision to accelerate high-tech manufacturing in Australia and through R&D, VALO has created smart lighting systems and control units – designed to not only illuminate – but to tap into the Internet of Things and even monitor gas leaks from street lighting, weather conditions and parking.
VALO is exploring street lighting opportunities with councils, knowing that wholesale change will not only save costs and improve energy efficiency, but improve environments, increase safety and collect data.
Mr. Hickmann has built partnerships locally and in South East Asia, Japan, the US and Europe, with a focus on developing innovative stadium lighting products and LED screen technology.
There is unlimited potential to provide cutting-edge, high performance lighting solutions for other large-scale environments such as airports, sea ports, transport hubs and distribution centres, both in Australia and internationally, and from an advanced manufacturing base in Adelaide.
In Australia, VALO has partnered with organisations far and wide, from Sport SA, Sport NSW and VicSport to Adelaide Football Club, Adelaide United, Baseball Australia, Hawthorn Football Club, GWS GIANTS and Illuminate Adelaide – covering sport, the arts, motorsport, transport and public spaces.
VALO’s lighting systems use energy-saving technology; creating green capabilities where energy usage is essential to light specific
environments and reduce carbon footprints. VALO is aiming to be carbon neutral at Kent Town – the office and factory are powered by solar and external green energy, with a fleet of Tesla 3s for staff.
VALO is Australian-owned, designed and world-leading, and has transitioned from being an importer to a local manufacturer and
exporter with its Good Design Award winning Zenith Gen-V ultrahigh-performance stadium light. Mr. Hickmann is bringing advanced manufacturing back, creating local jobs and boosting the economy.
With a multi-million-dollar facility featuring a surface-mounted production line and semi-autonomous production robotics, VALO is ready to manufacture its most advanced lighting systems at Kent Town.
VALO is focussed on the future, improving the environment, sustainability and accelerating the use of disruptive technologies. The growth of VALO, its unique position as Australia’s only manufacturer of premium stadium lighting and its expanding footprint was recognised in 2021, when Mr. Hickmann took out the Entrepreneurial Award in the InDaily 40 Under 40 Awards, among a stellar cohort of young South Australians making a difference in business.
Mr. Hickmann is committed to supporting many local charities and sporting teams, including as naming rights sponsor of the VALO Adelaide 500.