Digital Lumens, which sells LED lighting systems for warehouses and factories, announced on Thursday that it’s raised a $10 million round from its existing investors, bringing its total funding to $35 million. The Boston-based company says it’ll use the funds to continue its growth, and it now has 500 large installations of its LED systems in industrial buildings, covering some 50 million square feet of space.
The startup’s growth shows how LEDs are breaking through in the industrial and commercial sectors. That’s because LEDs can save building owners money over the life of the systems, because the lights are more efficient and customers pay smaller monthly electricity bills than they would with traditional lighting. Digital Lumens says it is now saving some of its customers more than $25 million per year.
In contrast, LEDs are moving more slowly into homes, because the cost savings over time aren’t that attractive (or apparent) to the average home owner. A new LED bulb, like the one from Philips, costs $25 compared to a few dollars for a compact fluorescent bulb, or under a $1 for an incandescent.
Industrial building owners also benefit from the LED management systems that Digital Lumens sells, and the company wirelessly networks its lights and uses sensors to dim them in areas of the building that aren’t being used. The startup uses LED components from Cree, and designs its own lighting system and develops the lighting management software.
Digital Lumens also has a lighting as a service business that it’s developed and is launching this year. The company is backed by investors Black Coral Capital, Flybridge Capital Partners, and Stata Ventures.
Venture investors put far less money into cleantech startups in 2012, and that trend will likely continue in 2013. Most companies that are still able to raise funds are maturing companies that are showing growth, like Digital Lumens. And energy efficiency (like LEDs) is one of the sectors that VCs still seem to be willing to fund.