M3 Innovation, founded by Joe Casper and Chris Nolan, offers the Mako sports lighting solution, a product specifically focused toward high school and parks and recreation fields. The company has created a modular LED lighting systems that allow municipalities to access energy-efficient LED lightning without the need for complicated infrastructure. Their first suite of products, the Mako Solution, was launched in late 2021. It reduces energy consumption by more than 75 percent and features snap-on technology modules for a variety of uses – from disinfecting turf fields for mold and bacteria with UV lightning to incorporating live video streaming capabilities.
“The cost of ownership of conventional LED sports lighting is not affordable to the parks-and-rec market. M3 Innovation with the Mako sports lighting solution is solving these agonizing pains of high costs of ownership,” said Casper. “Facility owners need a game-changing disruptive solution that significantly reduces the manufacturing costs, reduces the cost of installation, eliminates project management cost, and eliminates reoccurring cost. The Mako sports lighting solution is that ideal solution.
“We spent countless hours evaluating new technologies and researching advance materials in the design of the Mako Solution,” Casper added. “The Mako module is both the structural cross-arm and the LED lighting source. The mechanical, thermal, and electrical challenges were not easy to overcome. It felt like we were breaking so many of the laws of physics in developing this system.”
The startup company had the support of the Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems at Syracuse University (commonly referred to as SyracuseCoE) and was backed by NYSTAR, Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation.
“We had six students and a professor from Syracuse University one entire summer just researching and analyzing the mechanics and thermals of the entire system,” said Casper. “They evaluated the structural integrity of the cross arm that replicates a bridge so it can withstand hurricane wind loads. That’s why the Syracuse Center of Excellence, with the vast resources and knowledge, was so instrumental in the success of this monumental effort.”
M3 Innovation’s partnership with SyracuseCoE, along with being a member of the Startup NY program, gave the business access to the research and development facilities and staff resources necessary to build prototypes for testing along with marketing demonstrations.
SyracuseCoE is a vital part of New York State’s innovation infrastructure — a robust, statewide network overseen by NYSTAR that provides innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders with access to resources and support to solve challenges, develop technology and grow companies. Across the state, there are over 70 NYSTAR-backed centers.