We talked to the people from Led Projects. How the project was born, collaboration with World Padel Tour, the launch of the “Pista Padel SHOW” and much more
Led Projects has been the company in charge of lighting the World Padel Tour’s centre court for the entire 2023 season and has been the official lighting company, uninterruptedly, since the 2015 season.
First of all, can you introduce yourselves?
Juan Antonio Pérez, partner and founder of Led Projects together with Abraham, 11 years ago. I focus on the commercial area and customer service.
Abraham Melero, Juan Antonio’s partner, also founder. I am in charge of the technical side, especially the product design and its implementation in the installations.
Pedro Garibi, the latest arrival. I have joined recently, to help Abraham and Juan Antonio to continue growing in the world of sport and in other sectors. I arrived a year ago, as a shareholder of the company. I am responsible for the financial and corporate side.
Tell us how Led Projects was born. How did the idea develop?
The idea was Abraham’s. We were working together in a lighting company that was doing very well and, as fate would have it, there came a bad period and business started to slow down.
At that time, Abraham had started to study and specialise in the area of LED lighting, so when things blew up and we saw that there was no future there, we thought of setting up our own company with our know-how and business portfolio.
Two other capitalist partners also participated in the creation of Led Projects, with more business vision than us at that time, to whom we are very grateful, but in the end it was just me and Abraham (Juan Antonio) at the helm, very focused on the healthcare, retail and industrial sectors.
What would you say is the key to having started from scratch and now being where you are?
Well, I think there is a professional part and also a very personal part. In the end, getting on well, in this case, with the man who has been my only partner for ten years is vital. Now with the arrival of Pedro, whom we already knew as a client, everything continues to flow smoothly.
On the technical side, he had been working with LED technology for three years, so he knew the product and how to develop it, so we got down to work and started out on our own.
Shortly after starting, with Juan Antonio’s contacts in the padel world and seeing the problems and needs of the sector, we decided to launch ourselves into the creation of an ad-hoc product for padel.
Like any company, you probably have had some bad moments. Have you ever thought, or have you ever had a moment of saying, maybe we can’t go on with this, or if not, what has been the worst moment you have had to go through?
Well, look, I think we’ve been lucky. I don’t know if it’s luck in life, or work, or affection, or whatever you want to call it, Abraham and I, in this case, have always been supported and close to many people in the padel sector, who have helped us in complicated moments.
And, here we must recognize that at a given moment, where we were going through difficult times, or very difficult, I do not want to advertise anyone, but I think it is well born to be grateful.
Fran from Padel Galís, when we were going through a complicated time, bet on Led Projects, he made a good purchase of material and helped us a lot in a really complicated stage.
We are grateful to the rest of the manufacturers who trust us, but for your specific question I think we have to be grateful at this time. Fran, who was running the company on his own at the time, the new shareholders hadn’t come in, did lend us a hand and said: “What do you need? Whatever I can help you with, I’ll help you with” and that’s how it was.
It is true that historically the company has only had one year of losses in the ten or eleven years it has been operating. It has also suffered a little bit during the COVID period, obviously, because of the hiatus, but then it recovered very well in 2021.
What is the present of the company?
The future of the company depends on the growth of padel. There is a lot of lighting renovation in Spain right now. The aim is to try to become leaders in this national renovation and to continue expanding in the world with the manufacturers who trust us.
At the same time, to open new market niches, because Led Projects was not born in the world of padel, it was born in the world of the health industry.
Thanks to the incorporation of Pedro in the company we want to continue in the world of padel, in the sport, because I think we are good, but our idea, thanks to the shareholders and the new capital, is also to be able to recover the sanitary and industrial niche, which is the only reason why we have left is because padel has absorbed us.
Now we are at the Barcelona Master Final, the last tournament in the history of the World Padel Tour, did you want to do something special?
We wanted to debut the “SHOW padel court” here, for something very simple, because I think we owe it to World Padel Tour. Since we made the presentation of the tenth anniversary we’ve had quite a few girlfriends with the product, but we’ve told everyone the same thing.
World Padel Tour has been our home since 2015. They’ve taken care of us, they’ve treated us well and they’ve helped us. An important part of us being where we are is thanks to World Padel Tour.
And when I say World Padel Tour, I don’t mean World Padel Tour as a brand, which I also mean. It’s the people. We stay with the people of World Padel Tour, who are the ones who have helped us a lot.
The decision on our part was clear, this lighting or this show was going to be presented here, yes or yes, regardless of whether it was the last tournament or the first. And the relevance of the date and the occasion is important.
At the Palau San Jordi, with all the tickets for Saturday sold out, more than 15,000 people, a new record. It is an unbeatable occasion to publicise the product we have been working on for several years.
Now tell us about this innovative lighting that you have brought here. What makes it different from what you have brought to the World Padel Tour so far?
Well, we have always differentiated ourselves by designing an ad hoc product for padel courts. Taking into account that padel has an advantage over other sports and that is that the dimensions of the court are always the same.
The location of the lighting on a tennis court or on a football pitch is totally different. But in padel it is always four metres from the back and six metres high. So it can be standardised much more than any other sport.
This allowed us to design optics that are exactly tailored to padel. What did we want now? Well, we believe that the spectacle is getting bigger and bigger with the introduction of television and the interaction with the public.
So we decided to bring colour and playfulness to the show. So, three and a half years ago we started with the idea and we have been developing it until we have managed to find the key.
But with a question that for us has always been the most important. The practice of padel is still the most important part. That is to say, the show has been added, but it doesn’t change the game’s perspective, which is exactly the same. It does improve the show and the spectacle, but without penalising the sport.
What plans do you have for the future, perhaps in the medium or long term?
To grow in an orderly way. And above all, to provide the company with financial resources to be able to increase the human team, the resources and to be able to enter new markets.
I would say that the United States is very important, padel can explode there. There is also pickleball, which we have to pay a lot of attention to. And we don’t want to be labelled as just padel. We can also light up five-a-side football pitches, pickleball courts and tennis courts.
And then we can also look for opportunities in the Arab world. Padel is growing a lot there. Also in Europe. I think that Spain has been the country where it has grown the most, so now we can look at a business that is already mature like the Spanish one.
To continue to be there in the world of replacement, renovation of tracks, new tracks. But also to enter the international world. And that is what we also want to do, to help them to put a bit of order and to grow with order and rigour.
You are the leading company in padel court lighting, why is that?
I don’t think it’s that we are the leading company. It’s that we are the only company that has a product that has been studied and designed for padel courts. That is to say, normally what is put out by other companies is good and illuminating, I’m not going to get involved with anything.
But it is true that when someone goes to buy padel court lighting, they are given what they have in stock. “That’s what I have, does it light up? Yes, perfectly.” Everything works. You can go with a bicycle to Galicia and see how it gets there.
It goes better in a car, doesn’t it? We, Abraham in this case, what he has done is to study in detail the characteristics of a paddle court. People say, no, if it’s 20 by 10, yes, but it has an influence.
If it’s a wall, if it’s glass, the type of carpet, if it’s covered. It influences many things that we, Abraham in this case, has studied. So that’s why we are what we are. Not because of anything else.
We don’t sell lighting, we sell Led Projects. Led Projects is an experience, from the moment someone asks for a quote until the installation is finished. That is key.
Our customers are friends in the end. And if a client is a friend, they have a lot to gain. 90% of the invitations or 95% of the invitations we do are people we can no longer sell anything to. That we have already sold to them.
Why is that? Because they have trusted us and I think they owe us that respect. We go to Galicia and if we have a club and we have time we don’t go for a coffee. And I’m not going to sell him anything. Of course, of course, yes, yes, yes.
What happens is that a friend can be a bad customer if the product is not good. So, if you have a good product that is competitive in price and on top of that you give a good quality-service ratio and an important front-end service, then he repeats.
Once our product is sold, it takes five years or ten years for it to go out of date because it holds up. So, the income comes once but then the relationship is maintained. And those clubs can set up another club, they can set up a tennis club or a football club and that’s also where trust comes in.
Have you thought about the possibility of competition coming in that does the same thing as you do?
Hopefully, it would be good. Above all to clean up all that product that is not really good for padel and is sold for padel. We are looking forward to real competition.
Not competition that only sells a low quality product at a low price. In any case, we have to do a lot of educational work in the world of lighting, especially in padel, and in sport.
Because it seems to be a bit undervalued. The importance of being able to see well for the show and for television as well. I think it’s all been said.
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