It can be pretty scary biking or running this time of year and fearing that you haven’t done enough to make yourself visible to the cars you’re competing with for space on the road. In Seattle, darkness comes even earlier, and mixing rain into the fall and winter equation makes things especially hazardous.
Seattle-based Orfos has been drawing attention to cyclists and creating an extra bright path for runners and hikers with its line of lights since 2014. Founded by Peter Clyde, the company is back on Kickstarter looking to crowd fund the FlarePro, a next-generation version of its original Flare light.
A long-running, high-output LED light that promises to turn night into day, the FlarePro packs a powerful punch into its 1-ounce package. A white version puts out 950 peak lumens and a red option emits 400 lumens, and they’re waterproof and powered by USB battery packs.
FlarePro, which is mounted at the waist and casts “natural shadows,” sells itself as a better option than traditional headlamps. The Kickstarter description says that the white FlarePro produces a 180-degree flood of warm, natural light. If you like running through the woods in the dark and don’t want to trip over roots or rocks, FlarePro “is like having your own personal sun.”
Clyde said the first version of the light set the stage for what he’s making now.
“The original Flare laid the groundwork for the new Flare in terms of being an incredibly portable, powerful flare-like light source,” Clyde told GeekWire. “We knew it was a game changer, but it needed to be smaller, more powerful and more affordable to reach everyone. The FlarePro is brighter, has more of an even glow from more LEDs, and has a sleeker form factor that enables things that were never possible before, all at extremely long runtimes.”
With 19 days to go in the crowd funding campaign, Orfos has raised $58,981 from 477 backers — an amount that’s well above the goal of $15,000. A white or red light is available to backers for $64 — both are expected to retail for $75. A twin pack is offered at $119, and a team pack with four FlarePro lights of any color can be had for $238.
“The funds from Kickstarter will be used to buy enough parts upfront to ensure we can make the FlarePro at their exceptional value, using the economies of scale,” Cyde said. “Manufacturing will happen immediately after the Kickstarter, since prototyping is complete. Distribution will follow shortly after all our backers have received their FlarePros.”
Kickstarter backers have enabled Orfos to remain a small, family run company, Clyde said, adding that all manufacturing is done in the U.S. — primarily in the greater Seattle area.
“We have never needed to seek outside investors,” Clyde said, crediting pre-orders from the “amazing” Kickstarter community. “Some of the machines that assemble the FlarePro cost millions of dollars, so we utilize the great manufacturing partners in the Seattle area which eliminates our overhead and allows us to focus on design and customer support. The tech industry out here is booming and there is lots of great manufacturing happening locally.”
Like any good Northwesterner, Clyde calls himself an outdoor enthusiast. Making a product to support the passions of people who can’t sit still has been important.
“Designing products that support my own daily adventure needs is what I love most,” Clyde said. “Biking, hiking, and running are my three favorite things outdoors, so naturally that is what the FlarePro is designed for. As a busy engineer, it is hard to get out before the sun sets on a normal day, especially during this time of year. Having the ability to enjoy the outdoors safely even after dark is a primary goal of Orfos for everyone, myself included.”