L.E.S.S. SA (is More) – Founder, CEO Dr. Yann Tissot

Dr. Yann Tissot, the founder and CEO of innovative lighting company L.E.S.S. SA explains what it takes to disrupt an entire industry.

L.E.S.S. SA (Light Efficient Systems) offers versatile lighting solutions – the company strives to develop safe, bright, and innovative products. The unique nano-active fibre technology created by L.E.S.S is a proven disruptive alternative to LED technology, setting a new standard of lighting quality. It generates high-quality light that exhibits both ultra-uniformity and high brightness characteristics, surpassing today’s quality standards. The thinness, flexibility, and three-dimensional nature of L.E.S.S. laser wire technology facilitates the creation of unprecedented low weight and power-efficient lighting solutions.

So how did it all begin? Ingenuity, pragmatism, and innovation have been part of the company’s DNA since it was founded by CEO Dr. Yann Tissot in 2012. He had the ambitious idea to outperform LED technology with photonics technology through a unique nano-active optical fibre…and the rest is history. Since then, L.E.S.S. has received regular business and innovation awards.

We deliver lighting that is unmatched in its brightness and thinness

L.E.S.S. lighting systems exhibit the same optical properties such as colour temperature, ultra-uniformity, and directionality regardless of the product line they belong to, whether it be microscopy, machine vision, or workbench lighting. The light quality remains constant throughout the system longevity – this consistency provides a stable benchmark on two different levels; over time and across the entire production, assembly, and processes. As the company’s Head of Quality Stéphane Surmely – says, “quality cannot be reduced to compliance with specifications. For me, quality is an inspirational tool that makes people’s lives easier and gives everyone at L.E.S.S. the best motivation to satisfy our customers.”

Recruiting the right people is also a crucial part of the lighting company’s success. Its R&D, offices, and production facilities are brimming with talent from various multicultural backgrounds. This is thanks to people like Frédéric Roger, the head of HR, who “acts as a balance and catalyst between L.E.S.S.’s vision and objectives.”

Milestone spoke to Dr. Tissot about the company’s plans going forward, its greatest challenges, and why it stands alone as a pioneer in the field.

Milestone: Hi Yann, what are L.E.S.S.’s growth plans in the medium- to long- term?

Yann Tissot: Hi. The company is definitely booming, despite the fact we were slowed down by COVID – luckily things have only been postponed, not cancelled. We started bootstrapping early before getting investors onboard in the first market, which is the inspection lighting market, where we managed to be profitable. For once, our growth plan is focussed on an additional segment – the automotive lighting business, which came to us, we didn’t approach them. Now we’re increasing our investment in industrialisation and production ramp up. We view automotive as the right vector for our growth in terms of turnover and STE. At the moment we are doubling the number of employees in the company every year – we now have 35 people, we plan to reach several hundred in the next five years.

What is the biggest challenge the company is facing at the moment?

You can’t do anything without primary investment to reach the right cost structure you need to enter the automotive industry, which is a changing market. You need to meet strict cost and quality requirements to be qualified as a tier two supplier for the industry and you can’t take shortcuts, so this is one of the biggest challenges.

What is one of the most important things you’ve implemented as founder and CEO?

I think it would be the fact that the company is pivoting towards being a rapidly growing SMB. We were founded as a startup targeting the industrial market but we worked incredibly hard to make sure we established a structure and got all the certification so we could be more like an SMB, which reassured our long term customers. Now, as we enter the automotive lighting market, the certification is quite strict – fortunately we have the operational structure in place to answer the constraint of automotive suppliers.

What sets L.E.S.S. apart from your competitors?

There are two things: if you compare us to other companies on a pure innovation level, we deliver lighting that is unmatched in its brightness and thinness – it also offers our customers a design feature they can’t get anywhere else. The efficiency and weight (lack of) our products offer are incomparable, our technology is game-changing. On top of this, as a tier two supplier, we are far more qualified than most others.

You can’t do anything without primary investment to reach the right cost structure

What about the company’s green credentials?

We were recently recognised for our environmental impact by the Federal Office for the Environment and Technology Fund for our innovative and cutting-edge products that aim to reduce greenhouse emissions. L.E.S.S. is a member of Swiss Cleantech and we’re very proud to have been distinguished and to actively contribute to the reduction of energy consumption thanks to the unique nano-active fibre tech we have developed. Our versatile lighting technology offers state- of-the-art, safe, flexible, and reliable products that use less energy than those currently on the market. The loan guaranteed by the Technology Fund is supporting us and accompany our strong growth, particularly in the transformation of the automotive sector, and the high demands in terms of quality and volume that it entails.

And what about your core values?

L.E.S.S. is constantly growing and consolidating itself alongside its customers. It has always been crucial for us to remain faithful to our core values – promoting dynamism through an engaged approach, not only to our partners and customers but to our employees and the environment. We are always striving to make the best Swiss products possible. Today we are proud to say that L.E.S.S. is an established and international high-tech, high growth company that uses the versatility of its technology to design, develop, and deliver brilliant lighting solutions and systems to our customers.

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