It’s a bright day for lighting startup Luxim Corp. The Sequoia Capital-backed company has just announced $12 million in Series C funds to help it expand and ramp up production of its energy efficient, solid-state plasma lighting — bringing its total venture investment to some $72 million in less than a year. According to Luxim spokesperson Jane Evans-Ryan, the company started out in the now-dwindling niche of front-projection TVs before moving into entertainment (think stadium concerts and light shows), architecture, city street, industrial and medical instrument applications.
Evans-Ryan said the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company plans to use the Series C funds to further expand in those markets. In other words, don’t expect Luxim to light up your living room anytime soon (unless it’s coming from a Panasonic projection TV that uses Luxim’s technology). Your street, office building and next Beyonce concert, however — those are possibilities.
Part of the technology’s allure for entertainment lighting designers is the small directional source, allowing for brighter, smaller and lighter-weight spotlights. The tight directional focus also lends efficiency, since more of the energy goes to lighting the desired subject, rather than being wasted as ambient light.
Of course, LEDs, a hot segment of the growing energy-efficient lighting sector, are also small and energy-efficient. But Luxim’s technology differs from LEDs in that it has a wider color spectrum and higher lumen density. That means more light per lamp — enough for just one Tic-Tac-sized lamp to provide enough illumination for a typical street light. Whereas LEDs use a solid-state device itself as the light source, Luxim uses it to generate a radio frequency that then powers a plasma light source.