Last year LC Dynamics was founded by Lisa Von Benecke and very recently the engineering startup was awarded R250,000 financial support for upscaling. LC Dynamics builds solar PV window blinds that replace Venetian blind slats with solar PV cells, allowing them to generate electricity. The mechanism housing contains control circuits, a motor for tilting the slats for sun-tracking, a lithium-ion battery pack, a built-in LED light and multiple DC outputs such as USB and a variable DC output that can be connected to other solar window blinds, charge or power DC devices or connect to a grid-tied or off-grid battery/inverter system. Below Von Benecke answers a few questions to give her side on her innovative startup.
Lisa Von Benecke, founder of LC Dynamics | image supplied
Briefly tell us about LC Dynamics.
LC Dynamics is a clean-tech company that was founded with the vision of improving access to clean and affordable energy. Our first product, a solar PV window blind is being developed to create more equitable access to solar technology and support a circular economy by being e-waste conscious.
How do solar PV window blinds work and what can it power?
Our solar PV window blinds are a mobile solution, accessible to tenants and sectional title owners. They generate electricity from the sun and can be used to directly supply DC devices.
Other than sourcing energy from the sun, what other benefits come with solar PV window blinds?
Solar PV window blinds are easy to install and remove and when placed behind a window, can be kept safe from weather damage or theft.
What inspired you to start this business?
I worked as an electrical maintenance technician at a coal power station for two years, and that experience exposed me to the reality and damaging impacts that our reliance on coal has on the environment, air quality and public health. That’s what made me decide to pivot into the field of renewables. I have always been an avid innovator, continuously thinking of new ways to use technology to solve societal challenges. I’ve now found a space to keep doing that, by innovating to meet customer needs and soothe pain points through my business.
What future plans does LC Dynamics have?
Following winning the Best Female Entrepreneur of the TotalEnergies StartUpper Award, I intend on completing the development of our first market-ready product and building strong customer relationships over the next year. The R250,000 cash prize and support in the form of mentorship and training will better equip me to reach the milestones we have set out to meet.
Where there are problems, there will always be space for more solutions and inventions, and so I am also excited about developing additional solutions in the future, to solve widespread challenges in creative ways that challenge the status quo.
Tell us about the challenges you’ve faced so far on your journey with LC Dynamics.
Launching a startup is very time-consuming and demanding. When you build something from scratch there is often a very steep learning curve and high levels of uncertainty that can crush your optimism if you lose sight of why you started. I always remind myself of the other “scary” things I have already faced with extreme bravery in the past- like studying in a field that was labelled difficult by my friends and family and holding my own space with confidence in a male-dominated work environment.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you want to start a company, begin with a real problem and make sure you care about solving it. How well you solve the problem will determine the extent of market adoption, and how much you care will determine the amount of difficulty you’ll be able to pivot from or persevere through during the journey.