LED lighting company raises $30 million from VCs

Bridgelux Inc., a supplier of LED technology for solid-state lighting founded in 2002, has announced that is it has raised $30 million in private equity investment and approximately $10 million of lines of credit with banks.

The financing round was led by VentureTech Alliance, while existing investors DCM, El Dorado Ventures, VantagePoint, Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital and Harris & Harris Group participated with follow-on investments.

The money will be used for product development and market expansion, while continuing to drive R&D, the company said.

The company claims to have proprietary epitaxy technology and innovative chip designs that make superior solid-state lighting. Beyond LED chips, the company is looking to open up new markets in solid-state illumination.

Strategies Unlimited, a market research firm, is forecasting a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for the LED market over the next five years of 20 percent. High-brightness LEDs are projected to grow by 12 percent in 2008, while other markets are set to emerge around display backlighting, camera flash, architectural lighting, task lighting, commercial and other general lighting applications. As a result of these burgeoning market segments and related applications, the overall LED market is expected to reach a total size of $11.4 billion by 2012.

"At Bridgelux our capabilities in gallium nitride epitaxy growth processes, device structures and chip designs, coupled with our market knowledge, has enabled us to quickly become a leader in the high-power LED industry," said Mark Swoboda, CEO of BridgeLux, in a statement. "With innovative technology and a solid business model focused around a growing market, Bridgelux is representative of precisely the type of investment we seek. On the management side, Bridgelux's team features an impressive roster of seasoned individuals with combined experience in the LED, IC, compound semiconductor materials, lighting and consumer electronics sectors, all of whom will be key to driving its future success," said Jim Diller of VentureTech Alliance.

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