LuDela – Cutting Edge Tech with an Old World Charm

Jamie Bianchini’s laptop screen is cracked. His keyboard is worn, half the keys polished to illegibility by years of tapping fingers. Maybe it’s time for a new computer.

Nope, Jamie tells me. This one’s worth $200,000.

“I went bankrupt in my twenties,” he says. “I was trying to get the fast cars, the fancy houses, and I was $90,000 in debt after trying to self-fund these products I’d invented. That experience taught me I had to get my ego out of the way when I started a business. I have to find advisors. I have to ask for funding, guidance and help.”

“These days, potential investors like it when I tell them I went bankrupt. They like to know I’ve failed in the past and learned from it. I took this laptop to a meeting with a strategic Angel investor, and when he saw it, he agreed to give me $200,000 in funding. He told me, ‘I like that your screen is cracked; it shows me that you’re frugal.’”

That meeting was pivotal for Jamie’s company LuDela, a startup vying for $20,000 in funding at the Bend Venture Conference (BVC) on October 19. And that could be just the start.

“There could be dozens of suitable investors for LuDela there,” Jamie says. “The BVC is one of the biggest and most respected VC conferences on the West Coast. Connecting with the right people there can really make stuff happen.”

Thinking about becoming a BendTECH member? Learn more about our coworking space here.


LuDela makes candles, but not the type of candles you’re thinking of.

The LuDela Perfect is a real-flame candle that can be lit via remote control and extinguished with the touch of a button. These candles snuff themselves out after a pre-determined amount of time, or if they are accidentally knocked over. As explained on their website, LuDela “combines the 5,000-year old art of traditional real-flame candles with cutting edge technology.”

The inspiration for LuDela is a story unto itself.

In 2002, after the business struggles of his twenties, Jamie began enlisting sponsors for a different kind of adventure: riding through 80 countries on a tandem bicycle, picking up hitchhikers along the way. In Jamie’s words, “I was looking to spread love and compassion, and to make human connections.”

As he rode, Jamie met and befriended hundreds of total strangers of every skin color, nationality, race and religion. And wherever he went, his new friends went out of their way to take him into their lives and care for him.

Moved by the generosity and love of the people he met, Jamie began to seek opportunities to give back, and to reduce the suffering and increase happiness in the communities that embraced him. With the support of his sponsors, Jamie distributed malaria medication in Zambia, helped create a clean water source in a small village in Bolivia, and, after being inspired by his friend Innocent—who met and rode with him in Uganda, and told Jamie of his community’s need for books and opportunities for fundamental education—he helped to build and find the funding for a school for Ugandan AIDS orphans and the needy.

It was in the West African country of Burkina Faso where the inspiration for the LuDela Perfect candle struck. While staying at a rustic guesthouse in a room lit by candles, Jamie fell asleep. He awoke hours later to a room full of smoke caused by a candle fire, a fire Jamie was able to extinguish with his boxer shorts.

The next day, back on his bike, Jamie reflected on his close call the night before, wondering if there was a better way to enjoy the natural light of a candle with less risk of accidents. And on that tandem bike, on the rural roads of Burkina Faso is where the idea for the LuDela Perfect candle was born.

Now in pre-production, the LuDela Perfect candle may soon be providing bright, safe, natural firelight to anyone who wants it. And if it does, it’s not only buyers of the candle who stand to benefit. Jamie has established LuDela as a B-Corp, a company that uses business for good, and meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. For every candle sold, LuDela will donate a book to help build libraries in underserved communities, creating the foundation for a movement of literacy around the world.


Jamie began working out of the BendTECH coworking space in September 2018, and he’s already found that being a member of the BendTECH community has huge benefits.

“The biggest thing is the ‘Pinch me, I’m dreaming’ collaboration,” he says. “It’s so rare today. People are usually so busy, so heads down and unwilling to help. But as soon as I got here, the members at BendTECH asked what I was working on, and they genuinely cared and wanted to help.”

Jamie relates a story of how, when he was scrambling to prepare for his first presentation to the Bend Venture Conference, three BendTECH members who work for Apricity “dropped everything” to design the LuDela Perfect candle in order to enable it to function via the control of an Amazon Alexa. Jamie’s convinced that the added functionality is what advanced LuDela to the final round of five startups competing at the BVC.

“There’s a lot of talent here. There’s always someone who knows someone who can get something done,” Jamie says. “And there’s no ego. It’s more like, ‘Let’s do this together.’  I can’t wait until I can finally have the opportunity to pay it forward when some needs something I can offer.”


Jamie’s glad to have the help. He’s hoping to have the LuDela Perfect candle stocked and ready to ship by early December, just in time for the holiday shopping season.

At the same time, he’s polishing his pitch for the final round of the Bend Venture Conference on October 19.

“Things are a little hectic right now,” he admits.

But with the BendTECH community rallying behind him, Jamie knows he’ll have all the support he needs, even when he’s burning the candle at both ends.

Thinking about becoming a BendTECH member? Learn more about our coworking space here.


About the Author

Sean Leslie is the President and Chief Content Officer of Cascade Cadence Content Marketing. Sean is a copywriter and storyteller who combines data-proven best practices with optimized, strategically written copy, creating content that attracts, educates, engages and converts. Sean’s a happy and devoted husband and father; an erstwhile runner, mountain biker, backpacker and outdoorsman; and—though English by birth—an adopted and fiercely proud Pacific Northwesterner. He’s also a vocal and passionate proponent of flip-flops in the office. Learn more about Cascade Cadence Content Marketing at www.cascadecadence.com