OCEANSIDE — What began as an idea for better light during night surfing, has taken a vastly different turn since the company’s inception.
Shortly after introducing its first headlamp, FoxFury realized its products were being consumed by other industries. Now, its products are used in the military, emergency services, forensics, law enforcement and film production.
Last week, the company was a finalist for the MetroConnect grand prize through the World Trade Center San Diego and a grant from JP Chase Morgan. CureMatch, a precision oncology company, took home the $35,000 grand prize. Planck Aerosystems and Tioga Research were the other two finalists.
FoxFury, and 15 other companies, received $10,000 prior to the announcement of the final competition. Antonio Cugini, director of marketing for FoxFury, said the inclusion into the World Trade Center program allows the company to expand its products to global consumers.
“It’s a real interesting program,” he said. “The World Trade Center San Diego will connect us with foreign delegations … (and) would help us partner with those folks.”
Nikia Clarke, executive director for World Trade Center San Diego, said FoxFury came to the organization’s attention through the San Diego County Economic Development Corporation’s Innovate 78 program. Innovate 78 is an economic development strategy for five North County cities.
Admittedly lighting isn’t “sexy,” Clarke said, but how the company has grown locally and regionally and proved it is ready for more robust growth.
Still, the program assists small to medium businesses with resources and access to other markets and end users.
Clark said the finalists are “a really diverse slate of companies that reflect the region.” She added that FoxFury “applied for the program and are just a great story. They’ve ended up with a client list that’s so diverse.”
Founded in 2003, FoxFury was based on the premise of finding better light sources for night surfing. The company started with a waterproof headlamp, which also could withstand high impact and corrosion.
A firefighter saw the lamp and asked if the company could make a lamp for firefighter helmets. FoxFury ran with the idea and started attending trade shows and has expanded into other professional industries. The company now employs 22 people.
The lights are LED only and the company’s most popular products are through its Nomad line, which are mobile and battery powered. Some of the products incorporate a tripod and reach up to eight feet.
“We have a lot of partners oversees and it’s helped us tackle some markets and gain strategies that otherwise would be challenging to know where to start with,” Cugini explained.
The lights cover many avenues of emergency services, law enforcement and the military. For example, lights are fixed into firefighters’ helmets or lighting command posts, shields, U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and used in film production.
The international market typically understands and implements FoxFury’s products faster than domestic counterparts. The company has done business abroad, with 40 percent of its business from overseas.
“That ability to continually innovate and be creative about new solutions for your product is really great,” Clarke said. “When they applied, they had a really strong application and the judging group … felt like they had a lot of potential.”
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.