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Ephesus develops LED chip built in New York state

April 04, 2012

Kelly Homan Rodoski
(315) 443-3784

Ephesus, a Syracuse-based nanotechnology company formed by former Lockheed Martin employees, has partnered with Group4 Labs, based at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center of Excellence (STC) in Canandaigua, N.Y. to engineer and manufacture its LED prototype, which is expected to rival the best and most efficient LEDs on the market today. The EG4™ LED is the first that will be completely developed and manufactured in New York state. As the technology is launched, Ephesus expects to create more than 1,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.

The development of the LED was aided by Upstate New York’s research and manufacturing strengths in the regional innovation cluster related to clean technologies and through collaboration with Upstate New York academic institutions and Centers of Excellence.

Ephesus received a $50,000 grant in 2012 from the SyracuseCoE Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP) established in partnership with CenterState CEO (formerly the Metropolitan Development Association) and Empire State Development (ESD) with grants received under the auspices of New York Assemblyman William Magnarelli (D-120). The company also received a $1 million tax incentive from the ESD. And STC provided support and infrastructure to enable Group4 Labs produce demonstration LEDs as a first step toward development of super-bright LEDs.

Ephesus LED lighting products are used in a broad range of applications, including warehouses, manufacturing facilities, parking lots/garages, roadways, stadiums, tunnels and bridges.

Ephesus LED lighting fixtures are currently produced in New York state with LED chips from third-party companies.

“Our EG4™ LED chip will be commercialized through small scale production and be demonstrated and used in Ephesus lighting fixtures,” says Ephesus CEO Amy Casper. The EG4™ LED will differentiate Ephesus products from all other LED products and allow Ephesus to capture a greater market share in the current LED fixture market.

Ephesus, a company started by husband and wife Joe and Amy Casper, had two employees and resided in SU’s CASE Center in 2009. The company now has 16 employees and is based in the Syracuse Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse. As the company expands and adds more jobs, there are plans to settle in a new location in Central New York.

"Ephesus Technologies has demonstrated the successful path of utilizing the resources offered through the SyracuseCoE Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP) to help develop a green, nanotechnology based product that is produced in Central New York,” says Assemblyman William Magnarelli. “It is this type of innovation, as well as a dedication to our area by the company’s officers, that will continue to help Central New York make a name for itself as a community that leads the state and nation in environmentally-friendly policies, designs and innovations."

"The demonstrated successes of Ephesus Technologies show the true value of collaboration between industry, New York State's Centers of Excellence and Upstate New York academic institutions working to accelerate innovations focused on energy-efficient and high-performance technologies into the marketplace while fostering an innovative culture within the region," says SyracuseCoE Executive Director Ed Bogucz.

“The development of the EG4™ chip represents a tremendous breakthrough, not only for the outstanding team at Ephesus, but for the entire region,” says Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO in Syracuse. “On a global scale, this new chip can meet a rapidly growing demand for highly efficient lighting and smart lighting technology. For our region, this will result in new jobs and investment, and offer further evidence that our collective effort to create a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem is paying real dividends.”

"The state's partnership with Ephesus Technologies is a great example of what can be accomplished through collaboration between the private-sector, academia and government,” says Jim Fayle, CNY regional director with Empire State Development. “Ephesus Technologies should be commended for its development of innovative, eco-friendly products that will have a positive impact on both a local and global scale. The EG4 chip is a game changer for the industry as it lasts longer, uses less energy, and is less costly to produce than its competition. In our region, the success of this home-grown small business will create much-needed jobs and generate significant economic activity for Upstate New York."

“Further demonstrating Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s declaration that New York is open for business, CNSE’s Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center of Excellence is delighted to have played a critical role in this cross-regional partnership that supports the technology and business growth of a homegrown New York State nanotechnology company,” says Paul Tolley, director of CNSE’s STC in Canandaigua. “The collaboration between Ephesus Technologies and Group4 Labs at CNSE’s STC showcases the rapid development of a world-class nanotechnology ecosystem that is creating new opportunities to enable high-tech job growth and investment for the benefit of all New Yorkers.”

Other organizations involved with Ephesus in developing the technology include Alfred University, American Dicing, Ansen Corp., Binghamton University, Clarkson University, Clean Tech Center, Cornell University, Lighting Research Center, LINC, Onondaga County Economic Development, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Syracuse University and the Tech Garden.

The Caspers, who were grew up together in Baldwinsville, N.Y., both went to college in New York state but left soon after to pursue job opportunities. After working in several areas of the United States, including establishing a successful technology business in Washington state, they returned home to Central New York in 2006. Here, they were glad to find rich resources to help them establish a business again and move forward.

Ephesus has also benefited from the SyracuseCoE NYE-RIC Bridge to Markets program, which connects New York state firms that have developed innovative products for advanced buildings with the diverse and critical stakeholders in the target market of New York City.

“We were amazed to see the resources in place—Center State CEO, the Tech Garden, NYSERDA, the SyracuseCoE and the collaboration among universities—to support the development of clean and sustainable technologies,” says Joe Casper. “If we didn’t have these resources, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

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