A Tech Moment with Marisa McRainey at Revolution Micro

by | Dec 5, 2019

Written by Jessica McKeil

Jessica McKeil is a cannabis writer and B2B content marketer living in British Columbia, Canada. Her focus on cannabis tech, scientific breakthroughs, and extraction has led to bylines with Cannabis & Tech Today, Terpenes and Testing, Analytical Cannabis, and Grow Mag among others. She is the owner and lead-writer of Sea to Sky Content, which provides content and strategy to the industry’s biggest brands.

Ten years after founding the company in 2018, Marisa McRainey took the role of CEO at Revolution Micro, an industry innovator in lighting and control. She is fiercely intelligent and considered a rising leader in the cannabis industry.

Through Revolution Micro's bottom-up innovations in lighting and controls, they have come to dominate the high-tech indoor horticultural industry. Her work with Revolution Micro over the last decade has forced the entire industry to step up after years of uninspired inactivity.

McRainey took a few minutes out of her day to speak with us for this week's installment of A Tech Moment. During our conversation, she outlined a piercing analysis of the industry, detailed Revolution's commitment to ethical manufacturing, and explained just how infallible their products are.

The Evolution of Revolution Micro

Together with her partner Greg Richter, McRainey has completely upended the status quo of indoor lighting. Before Revolution launched their first product—the DEva 1000W double-ended HPS—they painstakingly dismantled the products already on the market. In McRainey's opinion, for 15 years the industry had been playing a game of copy-paste with lighting solutions.

Instead of correcting issues, companies were copying technology, throwing it in a new metal fixture, and stamping the cardboard box with a new logo. All equipment was coming from the same factories in China, meaning that when you looked inside at the guts, all fixtures were essentially the same.

Revolution Micro decided to break out of this mold, to rebuild indoor horticultural lighting from the ground up. Relying on Greg Richter's 30 years of aerospace engineering, they were able to produce a light covering that was 36 percent more canopy, with two percent less energy than what was already on the market. Richter is still responsible for all product design, engineering, and software development.

In McRainey's ongoing commitment to the environment, they eventually began the development of a competitive LED option. Their second product, the Avici 1150w Programmable Spectrum LED, is brighter than the DEva 1000w, more efficient, and priced affordably for ease of scalability. Its current MSRP is $999, well below most other options on the market.

Dedication to Difference and Always Improving

As McRainey explained, they've designed their products “not for profit, but for performance.” Both the Avicii and the DEva fixtures are built around a 32-year part-life. The industry standard is only three to five years. Furthermore, they have kept the DEva failure rate at less than one percent (technically, 0.003 percent). It’s an impressive number, with others in the industry struggling to cope with an eight to 12 percent failure rate.

Out of hundreds of thousands of DEva fixtures installed globally, they have had only 12 failures. As only one example of the success rate, Potent Farms in Oregon has had a zero percent failure from any of the 630 lights installed.

McRainey made it clear: they take their customer service seriously. Should any light fail, they overnight a complete replacement. Producers don't need to go through a lengthy back-and-forth or months of delays as they await a replacement part or warranty decision. Instead, Revolution Micro sends an immediate, full replacement, which means the cultivator is back up to full capacity within a day.

Looking at these numbers, it's hard to argue with McRainey when she says Revolution Micro has “a level of mastery that is not seen anywhere else in the industry.” She goes on to confirm, “Our customers are the happiest in the market. We have the best customer service rating that there is. It's almost unheard of.”

Making the Industry Better, One Ethical Decision at a Time

If you look at the DEva versus similar HPS fixtures, there is a noticeable price difference. They are cheaper, yes, but McRainey asks, “But at what cost? There are people that are dying to bring you these cheap lights, and it's not good.”

All Revolution Micro facilities are ISO10001 certified, making sure these facilities meet a high standard of working conditions. Employees get breaks, they get paid, and they are not subjected to harsh chemicals or a toxic work environment.

McRainey has also pushed for ethical sourcing of materials, something that doesn't come up in the tech industry as often as it should. She ensured that all rare earth metals used within their fixtures come from ethical sources, where the profits do not get funneled to warlords.

Above the superior outputs, the reduced energy requirements, and the close to zero percent failure rate, meeting ISO standards and ethical sourcing is the icing on the cake. The DEvas has already proved to be a massive success among indoor cultivators, and now Revolution Micro is pushing the Avicii out into the world. As one of the few LEDs which match an HPS in output, and all at a scalable price point, it's not hard to predict the trajectory.