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Bridgelux Inc of Sunnyvale, CA, USA, which designs and makes ITO/InGaN-based LED chips for solid-state lighting (using high-volume production capacity in Asia), has completed a $40m round of financing. This includes about $10m of bank lines of credit and $30m of private equity investment, led by new investor VentureTech Alliance and joined by existing investors DCM, El Dorado Ventures, VantagePoint, Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital and Harris & Harris Group.
Jim Diller of VentureTech Alliance will be joining Bridgelux’s board of directors. “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,” Diller says.
The firm was founded in December 2002 as eLite Optoelectronics Inc by Dr Heng Liu (formerly of North Carolina State University, Emcore, Hewlett Packard, and AXT, and now chief technology officer). Following initial funding in late 2003, the firm raised $8.5m in s eries B funding in May 2005 plus (after changing its name to Bridgelux) $23m in series C funding round last August.
Bridgelux says that the latest funding will allow it to pursue its strategy for product development and market expansion, while continuing to drive its technology R&D activities. “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,” claims Bridgelux’s CEO Mark Swoboda. The latest round of funding will enable the firm to rapidly expand beyond its LED chip product offerings and move aggressively into value-added, application-specific LED lighting products, expanding its market reach, he adds.
Market research firm Strategies Unlimited forecasts a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% over the next five years for the LED market. High-brightness LEDs alone are projected to grow by 12% in just 2008, while new market opportunities are also emerging around display backlighting, camera flash, architectural lighting, task lighting, commercial and other general lighting applications. The overall market is therefore expected to reach $11.4bn by 2012.
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