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A Bright Future for an LED Franchise

Marcel Fairbairn saw huge potential in the newest LED lights--so he quit lighting concert stages and created LED Source.

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This story appears in the September 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Flipping the SwitchMarcel Fairbairn's fortunes turned on the color blue. Until 1998, LEDs--light-emitting diodes, the small semiconductors that create light using very little energy--came in only red and green. Then Fairbairn, an architectural and entertainment lighting manager, saw blue LEDs at a trade show, and he knew the possibilities had just become infinite.

"You can blend red, blue and green to create almost any color, including white light," he says. "I saw those lights and thought, 'The world has forever changed.'" Fairbairn began using LEDs in his productions and discovered that they are also cooler and easier to work with than incandescent or halogen bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours. By 2007, the light quality was as good (or better) than incandescents, too, and Fairbairn knew it was time to act.

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