Can a property tycoon stimulate UV-C business for Healthe?

June 30, 2021
Stephen Ross bought into the company last year, and his Miami Dolphins soon deployed the sanitizing technology. Other locations could follow. Or maybe not.

When Healthe Inc. won a UV-C installation at the Miami Dolphins locker room last year, it was probably no coincidence that Healthe had recently welcomed Dolphins principal owner Stephen Ross into its ownership ranks. Ross is also the billionaire chairman of international real estate giant Related Companies, so the Dolphins development begged the question: Will his presence at Healthe lead to other ultraviolet C-band (UV-C) technology wins?

Ross first invested in privately held, Florida-based Healthe in May 2020. Last August, the company announced that he had led a significant financing round comprising both individual and institutional investors. The owner with the largest stake in Healthe is investment firm Pegasus Capital Advisors, through its ownership in LSG, a holding company.

Ross' stake in Healthe is a direct one. Given that New York City-based Related has its hand in around $60 billion of property assets including New York's Time Warner Center and Hudson Yards, it is reasonable to assume that Healthe products could find their way into some of his locations. Related projects can be found around the world in cities including Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, São Paulo, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, and Miami. In addition to the Dolphins he is the principal owner of Hard Rock Stadium where the team plays.

With the company's focus now shifting to UV-C sanitization under new CEO Gerard Meyer, with public health and hygiene awareness currently running high, and with the Dolphins as a precedent, it seems reasonable to assume that Ross might be instrumental in some more UV-C matchmaking between his companies.

“Healthe’s [UV-C] family of products provides ongoing unparalleled sanitization of indoor spaces, and they can be an effective part of the new normal as the world truly begins to understand the need for greater hygiene standards,” Ross said last August when Healthe announced the financing round (they declined to reveal the dollar amount). “The valuable sanitization solutions that Healthe provides will facilitate a faster, more efficient, and badly needed resumption of economic life.”

That was August. So are more to follow soon?

“Others are in the process of considering [or] discussing,” Healthe chief marketing officer David Meckstroth told LEDs Magazine.

In another ownership link, retailer Boll & Branch was one of the investors in the August round, and also counts itself among Healthe users, at locations in Greenwich, CT and Boca Raton, FL.

Of course, strong ties to the property industry does not guarantee a conveyor belt of contracts for lighting companies. Just ask IoT lighting pioneer Gooee, which had forged relationships with British and Dutch property engineering companies TClarke and Croonwolter&dros, but which recently went bust for all of its innovative smart lighting developments.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a stymieing effect on the commercial property industry. Hudson Yards, Related Companies' massive office, hotel, residential, and retail project on midtown Manhattan's West Side, has suffered, for instance, as detailed in a New York Times article earlier this year (subscription might be required). There's some hope that UV-C lighting and other sanitizing technologies might help restore confidence in the sector.

On the other hand, some of Ross' organizations via Related Companies have distanced themselves from ownership. For example, fitness chains SoulCycle and Equinox two summers ago both issued statements saying they did not support a fundraising event that Ross organized for then-President Donald Trump back in August 2019.

Still, the Ross influence seems likely to stimulate some amount of business. To use an apt phrase, watch this space.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

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About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.