Luminus Devices Aglow With $72 Million in New Financing

3/17/08

When these guys say they’re looking to expand they ain’t kidding. Luminus Devices of Billerica, MA, said a few months ago that it was working to build its LED business beyond TV and display applications and into the general illumination market; a deal with Arizona’s Avnet Electronics Marketing, inked a few weeks ago, marked an important step in that direction. And now Luminus has a $72 million-plus springboard to help propel the effort even further.

Luminus’ new round of financing, announced today, was led by Braemar Energy Ventures of Boston and joined by several other funds, including San Francisco’s CMEA Ventures and Washington, D.C.’s Paladin Capital Group. All of the firm’s existing investors—including Battery Venture Partners, Argonaut Private Equity, Stata Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DFJ-New England, and Eastward Capital—participated as well. The new round more than doubles the total amount Luminus has raised (previously $67 million) since its formation in 2002.

Founded by MIT professor John Joannopoulos and MIT Ph.D. Alexei Erchak, Luminus is built around “photonic lattice” technology developed in Joannopoulos’ lab; the technology makes Luminus’ “PhlatLight” LEDs super bright. (Another Joannopoulos-founded company, Cambridge, MA-based OmniGuide, is using similar technology to build laser scalpels for endoscopic surgery.) The PhlatLight technology is already marketed as an alternative to traditional lamps in projection TVs and digital projectors, and will soon be incorporated into flat-screen LCD TVs as a less-toxic alternative to mercury-based fluorescent backlights. But Luminus is also eyeing the gigantic general illumination market, with possible targets ranging from general-purpose lighting for homes and businesses to medical, entertainment, and homeland security applications.

“This investment enables a new phase in the growth of our company, and it will provide us with the resources to expand our product line, serve new markets and deliver the full value of our technology to our growing roster of customers,” said Luminus CEO Udi Meirav of the new funding round.

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