For nearly forty years, LAVA Computer MFG. Inc. has steadily positioned its products and capabilities at the fore of the market, where it became recognized for its offerings and the service it provides to customers around the world. Specializing in personal computer (PC) and mobile device performance, the company is a leader in connectivity solutions and battery protection.
Based in Toronto, Ontario, LAVA is family-owned and operated and proud of its roots. Founded by Roman Wynnyckyj, a true entrepreneur, the success of LAVA stems from the unique culture that was instilled in the company and its operations from the outset.
According to co-owner and Technical Sales Engineer Rostyk Wynnyckyj, “As a family-run business, we’ve been made locally since 1984. Something else we’re proud of is that we’re Ukrainian-Canadian and when we talk about the ethos of LAVA—the moral code—a lot of it comes from that.”
“A little bit of tinkering”
When asked about the impetus behind LAVA’s founding, Rostyk explains that it was “Roman’s inherent internal motivation that made him want something that he could call his own, something that he could lead with a vision, and also have a lot of fun along the way. Roman calls his job his hobby, so it’s a combination of his love of tinkering and engineering while also turning that into something that is commercially successful.”
Heir apparent Rostyk, too, has a passion and vision for the family business he grew up in. As he readies himself to eventually take the reins, it seems that LAVA will remain in good hands. Rostyk notes, “The work has become my hobby and reflects the passions that I have.”
Together, the LAVA family team is working to lift the already impressive level of product development, performance, and service offered to its customers, some of the largest brands in the world.
From manufacturing a multifunction board for the IBM PC in 1984, LAVA has grown alongside the growth of the personal computer. At the time of its founding, the PC was just starting to gain traction. “It was something that was becoming popular, but not ubiquitous,” says Rostyk, but it certainly piqued Roman’s interest.
Roman’s first venture, Orange Computers, built Apple II-compatible computers. Orange was credited with manufacturing the first computer to have an independent loadable operating system, a technological advancement we take for granted today. Unfortunately, that company was not meant to last.
“LAVA is a continuation of Orange Computers, wanting to stay in the tech space and having a passion for it,” says Rostyk. “Roman is very much the technical, classic entrepreneur—always trying to have something of his own and create something that’s his, or a vision of his.”
LAVA’s early success came in the serial and parallel card business, which sustained it for many years, but the onset of the 2008 global financial crisis initiated a pivot that would cement the company’s future for the long term.
As technology changed and business slowed, LAVA had no other choice but to evolve. The company quickly transitioned to the mobile device market where it continued to wield its engineering genius with great effect, becoming the world leader in mobile battery protection and tablet connectivity. Now, with its premium product lines and proprietary technologies, LAVA has served its customers by innovating products and solutions that have changed the mobile device landscape while setting the stage for exciting future developments.
At LAVA, emphasis on communication is key, and it plays a vital role in the company’s success, particularly when it comes to pushing ideas and innovation that lead to new products and technologies.
Rostyk credits the company’s location and organization as the source of the discourse that so enhances innovation. “We’ve always been proud that we’re all within thirty feet of each other: production is right next to engineering, engineering right next to marketing, and marketing right next to sales. That ability to have spontaneous conversations from being so close to each other is what drives innovation because sales is inherently talking to engineering, engineering is inherently talking to marketing, and vice versa.” In other words, sharing ideas, brainstorming, and ultimately, fuelling innovation.
Where it all starts
Roman built this process into the company culture through “engineering spitball sessions,” where, Rostyk explains, “there’s never a wrong answer, especially when you’re in a spitball session. It’s an opportunity to throw out ideas, but you have to justify those ideas and always come up with a reason why.” He credits these sessions with stimulating innovation company-wide.
You can see why. It was these spitball sessions that led to a number of product innovations including SimulCharge™ adapters that provide compatible mobile devices with simultaneous charging and access to data.
Another unique piece of technology LAVA created and remains a leader in is referred to as True Dead Battery Mode (TDBM). The technology can be used with mobile devices in B2B business applications through LAVA’s adapters, and serves as a jump start for your mobile device’s battery when it is severely depleted. When activated, True Dead Battery Mode allows a mobile device to properly and reliably charge, even when the battery is completely drained. By acting as a dedicated charging port (DCP), the tablet or phone can get enough charge to negotiate a USB-C PD power contract with the adapter and switch into SimulCharge™ mode, allowing you to get back to your activities without any further interruptions.
“We were first in that space. We created that,” Rostyk says. “The other thing we created —and we’re only now starting to see some companies catching up, though I would say our technology is still better—is battery protection or battery modulation. RBM [Network Recovery and Battery Modulation], integrated into our top-tier SimulCharge e Series adapters, can get about six years of battery life out of a lithium-ion battery, specifically on tablets and mobile devices.” This in turn improves return on investment and reduces the environmental footprint of any relevant operation.
This is particularly important for small- to medium-sized businesses that need to stretch their technology budgets as far as they can without sacrificing performance. This technology became possible because of the culture of innovation at LAVA and the team’s dedication to solving customer problems with game-changing technologies.
These advancements are timely, too. During the pandemic, mobile device users were homebound and likely to keep their tablets or phones plugged in all day, which led to battery issues and inability to keep a charge. Luckily, LAVA’s proven technology can extend the life of these devices by six years.
A single ring away
LAVA knows that offering a premium product only works if it is supplemented by premium service, and customers can rest assured knowing that the utmost care has been taken to ensure product quality and aftercare support.
“We have a rule here. When you call us, the phone should never ring more than once. That immediate support is something that LAVA excels in,” says Rostyk, who emphasizes that support is always offered at the front end during the sale to ensure customers get exactly what they need, and continues well after the sale is complete.
“There is always that push in engineering and production that it’s got to be done right and it’s got to be done right the first time when it goes out to the customer. Before that, we’ll do things like prototypes, engineering tricks that are standard operating procedures at LAVA that just make sure that when we put our label on it, we’re very confident it’s going to work,” he explains.
This guarantee is backed by a robust quality assurance and testing policy. Each product that moves out is individually tested beforehand, and the supply chain is carefully monitored to ensure quality. While ‘statistical sample set’ testing is sufficient elsewhere, LAVA tests every single device off the production line for certainty.
Rostyk borrows a well-known slogan, in common use among the sales team: “It’s a paraphrase of a commercial for a well-known cough medicine: ‘We’re expensive. And we work.’ We’re a premium product, and we don’t shy away from that. We’re proud of it.”
Changing the game
Some of the premium products that LAVA has designed and manufactured have significantly altered how mobile devices operate and this section of the market is ripe for the picking as far as Rostyk is concerned.
The post-COVID world is still in flux, so having a performance guarantee backed by Made in Canada quality will continue to be attractive to discerning customers who understand the value LAVA delivers. And while the quality and consistency of its products and service delivery remain unchanging, other aspects of LAVA are in evolution. Combining the wisdom and experience of Roman and the vigour of Rostyk, the team is applying their synergy to revamping LAVA’s systems and outlook for the future.
“Roman and I have talked and strategized and we’re completely aligned on this. In the short term, we’re trying to expand LAVA and we see this as a pivotal moment of expansion,” he says.
While growing the team at LAVA and expanding it into other divisions, the plan is to extend the reach of the company in both technology and marketing by integrating Roman’s passions—among them the Internet of Things (IoT) for both B2B and commercial sectors—with Rostyk’s interests.
Ultimately, their aim is a simple one: to provide LAVA with the strength and staying power to safeguard its own future and that of its clients, just as its products safeguard the mobile devices of its marketplace.