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ASU startup inks deal with MGM Grand

Jeff Kunowski
April 10, 2013

Arizona State University startup company Illumin8 Outdoor Media has entered into an agreement with MGM Grand Resort and Casino in Las Vegas to provide signage for the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Illumin8’s portable signage platforms use LED technologies to create attractive, highly visible signage products that range from informational and directional signage to revenue-generating advertising platforms. The signage for MGM Grand will promote events such as concerts, shows and fights at the Garden Arena.  

Illumin8 was founded by ASU alumnus Jeff Kunowski, who graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in integrative studies with a business concentration. Kunowski launched Illumin8 in 2010 with the support of ASU’s Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, a startup accelerator that provides funding, office space and mentorship to student entrepreneurs from all university disciplines.

Kunowski, who was named one of The Arizona Republic’s 35 Entrepreneurs Under 35 in 2012, came up with the concept for Illumin8’s signage while driving one evening. He noticed that it was difficult to see advertising signage in the dark, and he set out to develop an innovative product to solve that problem. Using LED technologies, he created illuminated signage products that are highly visible, even in the dark.    

Kunowski completed 12 internships while at ASU and used the networks he built as an intern to grow Illumin8. In addition to MGM, the company’s clients include the Arizona Diamondbacks, Comerica Theatre, Arena and several local valet companies. Illumin8’s first client, the Phoenix Suns, now have 26 Illumin8 LED signs at US Airways Center.

The deal with MGM marks the company’s first entrance into markets beyond Arizona.    

“Illumin8 has found success in marketing to professional sports and entertainment venues,” Kunowski said. “We currently have signs in almost all of the notable venues here in Phoenix; however, this sale to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas marks our first major sale outside of Arizona. The Las Vegas market is a prime location for innovative signage products, and we are proud to break into this market with the third-largest resort in the world as our client.”