In conversation with Babsi and Thomas from Luminous Labs

The best start-ups flourish where ideas and passion meet motivated entrepreneurship. We welcomed Babsi and Thomas, founders of Luminous Labs, to our Yaasa showroom in Graz. They told us how red light has changed their world, how they have made biohacking their philosophy of life and how they organize their daily work as young entrepreneurs.

Yaasa Meets Luminous Red

Who is behind Luminous Labs and how did the start-up come about?

Hello Babsi, hello Thomas!

Babsi & Thomas:
Great to be here today!

The pleasure is all ours. Please be so kind and introduce yourselves. Who are you and how did you come to found your start-up?

We are Babsi and Thomas, the founders of Luminous Labs. Our first product on the market is called Luminous Red - there is sometimes a risk of confusion between the terms ;) We've officially been around since February 2021.

We actually started because of a very personal thing... I'll just start with this - Thomas and I are a couple "in real life" (laughs) and in 2018 we were both doing pretty badly. I had a burnout and Thomas had just had an operation from which he was recovering badly. During that time, we both started looking for ways to feel better.

Because Thomas studied lighting design (yes, there is such a thing!), he came across what is known as Red Light Therapy. As we know, light is extremely important for us humans. We need sunlight, vitamin D, our body is dependent on the day and night rhythm - in short, our biology, light and physical and mental well-being are strongly interlinked.

Babsi von Luminous Labs arbeitet am Yaasa Desk One.

Exactly. And so it was that I had something floating around in my head that we also learned about during our studies: A special type of light that is normally used in pain therapy. The body is "overclocked" and builds up more physical and mental resilience. And we thought: "Right, we'll just try it out ourselves!" (laughs). We then set up a device like this in our own bathroom, everything was full of cables! But somehow it worked and Babsi got started straight away. She is a very sensitive person and first tested the whole thing subjectively and according to her intuition. She felt better after just a few weeks.

Yes really, in a very short time it led to more relaxation, a better mood, just more calmness in me.

In my case, I'm more scientifically inclined. We are both PhD students, Babsi in psychology in the field of happiness and burnout, and I in the field of light. So I need figures, facts, measurable things. The purely subjective wasn't really enough for me. But even I was amazed at how much positive change I felt after just a few weeks. I also took regular blood tests and could see that something was happening.

After a few more weeks, Babsi approached me with the idea of making more of it. We had always wanted to become self-employed together, but the right opportunity had simply never presented itself before.

For me, it was incredibly fascinating to see that we had something there that was incredibly good for both of us in our own way. The red light is simple and it's easily accessible; it just seemed perfect as a business idea.

Luminous Red und Yaasa

The Luminous Labs company story

Wow, that's more than impressive! The fact that there is such a personal story behind it makes it really special. How did you proceed once you realized your business idea?

First of all, we looked at the market situation. Our competition mainly comes from America, but even these companies still do it in a rather "shirt-sleeved" way, i.e. not as sophisticated as we imagined. We realized relatively quickly that there really is a lot of potential here. After all, as previously mentioned, we both have the relevant expertise in the fields of psychology, business and lighting technology, which is of course an immense advantage.

And we thought to ourselves: hey, we could actually use our knowledge to develop this device even further, market it well and improve the user experience. Looking back, I would say we put a good portion of madness and insanity (laughs) into this project - but it really worked!

It really was madness. There was only about a month between us deciding to pursue this idea and the first product we sold.

We then quickly joined in on Instagram and got involved in various biohacking communities, especially on the pain points and wishes of the community and ultimately customers. It was also surprising for us to see how quickly this wheel got rolling and how soon we were able to really keep up with the competition.

Two years later, we also have a proper online store, have developed our lighting device into its sixth version, have a small team of five people, an office and, of course, our own growing community.

We have always taken our customers' feedback seriously and incorporated it heavily into our developments. That would also be a point I would give to any entrepreneur - feedback and outside voices are so incredibly important for progress and success!

Our next projects are primarily related to research. We want to further develop our Red Light device, back it up with even more facts and figures and also think about which new areas we can "innovate" into.

I would also like to add that we have been accepted into the Graz Science Park in 2021. This is an incubator for local start-ups that supports and advises them and helps them with their initial expansion. This collaboration has helped us enormously.

Another important topic for us at the moment is ageing and how we can perhaps counteract this or take a healthier approach to it. I think it would be really cool if we could keep people healthy for longer or even live longer using biohacking methods such as red light.

How does light therapy work?

You've had quite an exciting few years - and in a global pandemic to boot! Congratulations to you for making it work so well so far. Now our question, can you perhaps explain how exactly the red light, i.e. your device, works?

It's actually really simple to use. You stand in front of the light panel, which should ideally be as large as possible so that the light is absorbed over a large area of bare skin. Ideally, you should stand in front of it naked or in your underwear. You then do this for around 10-20 minutes a day and absorb the specific red or near-infrared light spectrum.

The mechanism of action, simply explained, is that this light penetrates deep into the tissue, even into the cells, where it activates the mitochondria more strongly. As a result, more cellular energy is produced and the body is overclocked, i.e. simply more energized - allowing sport, personal hygiene, sleep, mental health, focus, cognition, mood - you name it - to function more successfully. And, as Thomas already mentioned, the biggest hypothesis is that this slows down ageing.

Work-life balance as an entrepreneur

That really doesn't sound difficult. And very impressive in its effect! Thanks for explaining. But now back to you again. You are very health-conscious people - just like us ;) - So we wonder how you ensure your well-being in your stressful everyday lives as entrepreneurs. Is it all possible to balance work and a healthy life at the same time?

Definitely, it's very important to us. But we are very different in these respects. For my part, I would describe myself as very "basic" and like natural biohacking: intermittent fasting, sufficient sleep, little screen time in the evening, I drink tea before going to bed and try to exercise regularly.

Apart from our Red Light device, light also plays a big role in my everyday life. I try to be very conscious of my daily rhythm, go out in the morning to get some sunlight and "consume" less blue light in the evening.

I'm a bit more experimental in that respect (laughs). That means I try a lot and am more of a biohacker in the classic sense. The basis for me with any kind of biohacking is that I track everything - from blood tests to smartwatches and fitness trackers. So you have your baseline and then you see where you are going with certain biohacking methods.

Meditation and reflection for the right state of mind play an important role for me, as do good time management such as the Pomodoro technique and fixed routines. Like Babsi, the topic of light is particularly important to me: I try to actively follow the circadian rhythm, use red light and try to "consume" blue light in the morning and red light in the evening.

Exercise is also extremely important to me. I have a walking pad that I use while I work, and I generally prefer to work standing up rather than sitting down.

I'm also a huge fan of gadgets. For example, I have a crazy headset that shoots electricity and audio waves through your head and is supposed to promote concentration or creativity (laughs).

In general, however, I have to say - and this certainly applies to both of us - that it's always a balancing act. We want to try out a lot and do our best health-wise, but everyday life often catches up with us and right now, in this company phase, we have an incredible amount to do. And that's just real life.

Exactly. In such a young company, everything is still very fragile. As founders, we are still very much involved in the company, so at the end of the day we often simply don't have enough time to look after ourselves.

We made a great New Year's resolution to ensure that we work well in a large team, which we are trying to live by consciously. It has to do with our core value as Luminous Labs, namely that we live what we communicate. And we communicate well-being, that people feel better - we know the effectiveness and science behind it, and we want to share that with the world. But if we are constantly stressed out in our company and there is no time left for ourselves, then that contradicts the whole idea of the company. And that's exactly what we want to pay particular attention to this year.


To make sure we do this, we try to hold a weekly stand-in with all our team members. We simply talk about how we're doing, what we've achieved that week and so on. This awareness alone is good and helps us to prioritize ourselves.

We recently made a kind of vision board to pause for a moment and look back and ahead. What have we already achieved, where do we want to go, who is actually involved in this overall effort? That was really great for us to see and feel.

We shouldn't forget that our private relationship also plays a role in our work-life balance. Thomas and I are more or less work and life (laughs). But we've become really consistent in the meantime and try to keep them completely separate, which works quite well.

Arbeiten im Stehen am Yaasa Desk One.

About our workplace

It's really impressive how much thought and reflection you put into your well-being and that of your company. We can definitely take a leaf out of your book. Of course, we hope that your plans in this regard go really well and that you find enough time for yourselves!

We're interested in what your workplace looks like. As desk experts, we have to ask ;) And we're also genuinely interested. How do you work?

Well, I think standing desks are really great - and I'm not just saying that because I'm talking to you right now (laughs). We have two standing desks at home in our home office and I notice very clearly that my focus is better, productivity, even creativity, because I'm simply more alert.

The posture is simply a very upright one and there is a lot of evidence that posture can have a strong influence on our mental state. A height-adjustable desk is therefore also biohacking for me!

We don't have standing desks in the Science Park office, which is fine. We balance our movement there by taking breaks, going for walks and we have our desks facing each other, which of course also creates a great atmosphere.

I'm a very bad desk worker (laughs). I think what you do is cool and I believe that it has an extremely positive impact on health and well-being, but I prefer not to work at a desk at all. My favorite place to work is in the park, going for a walk, where the work takes care of itself. Of course, that's not possible.

In this sense, the desk, and especially the standing desk, is a cool compromise that at least makes it easier for me to work. I move around, I can work through things and I don't collapse completely.

I think the standing desk is really cool, especially for collaboration and meetings, because it's easier to discuss and chat while standing. I like to use your Desk One for this, like a kind of bar table. It's important for me to switch between different workstations.

Tips for entrepreneurs

That all sounds totally understandable. Thank you for your input! Now one last question, short and sweet - what tip would you give to new or starting entrepreneurs after you've gone down this path yourself?

I am inspired by Sergej Young and his Longevity Vision Fund - be sure to read his book "Growing Young"! - because when asked what makes him stand out as an entrepreneur, he always answers: My time horizon. And that would also be my tip for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Always ask yourself the question: What do you expect? Do you want to find investors? Build an empire? Run a family business for generations? Live to be 100 years old? Find your time horizon. Only then will you be able to divide your energies, plan your path sensibly and actually go down it. For my part, I plan to live until at least 2140 (laughs) - that's my time horizon. A little more abstract, but it gets me further!


My most important tip and favorite principle is: Fail fast! Do things, try them out, have the courage and if it doesn't work, move on! Collect the feedback that your fast fails bring you and make sure you use it.

Nothing holds you back more than inventing something great in the privacy of your own home only to realize that the people you want to market it to aren't interested. As an entrepreneur, you have to go out into the world and confront the voices outside your bubble.

Brilliant, thank you very much! It was great chatting with you!

Luminous Red

About Babsi:

After a personal experience with burnout at the age of 23, Babsi researched the topic of exhaustion and happiness to find the answers she had been searching for all along. This led her first to her PhD and then to founding Luminous Red: the company and the products they developed are a way for her to share the incredible benefits of red light therapy to people worldwide. Babsi believes in Luminous Red because it helps her get back to the basics of nature: the power of sunlight and the potential of our natural bodies.

About Thomas:

At the age of 27, Thomas suffered a physical breakdown. After that, he made it his mission to find ways in which we as humans can optimize our performance: In short, he became a biohacker. Thomas' approach is unique - driven by personal experience and the data that drives Luminous Red product development. The combination of this curiosity and his passion for developing machines and gadgets has created Luminous Red. Thomas firmly believes that light can help maximize human wellbeing: not just as a reaction, but as a proactive step that becomes an integral part of daily routines.

Biohacking definition:

Biohacking describes consciously intervening in one's personal environment or biology - either with a particular lifestyle, with technology or, more recently, via direct intervention in one's biology - to improve performance, well-being and being for oneself. What do you let into your body and what not? Which people and places do you surround yourself with? All these aspects can be questions for biohacking.