Entrepreneurs are still trying to perfect the lightbulb, 138 years after Thomas Edison patented the incandescent lamp.
One of the latest efforts comes from The Finally Light Bulb Company, a Boston-area startup commercializing an energy-efficient bulb partly based on technologies first developed by Edison’s rival, Nikola Tesla. And investors like the idea: Finally announced a $15 million Series C funding round on Tuesday.
The money comes from unnamed family investment offices and wealthy individuals, some of whom have held leadership roles at companies such as Amazon, EMC, Keurig Green Mountain, and Osram Sylvania, Finally said in a press release. The startup has raised $38 million total from investors since it was founded in 2013, and it says investors now value the company at $75 million after the closing of the latest funding round.
Finally’s pitch to consumers is that its lightbulbs offer “the same pleasing warm glow” as traditional incandescent lightbulbs, but use 75 percent less energy, Finally founder and CEO John Goscha said in the press release.
The company’s bulbs use induction technology initially developed by Tesla, which employs a magnetic field—instead of a filament or an electrode—to generate light. Finally said induction-based lighting is used in tunnels, warehouses, garages, and other large spaces; the company said it figured out a way to “compress” aspects of the induction process and make it work well in bulbs for home use.
The company began selling its bulbs in 2015 and sold more than 100,000 last year across more than 1,400 stores, including Staples and Ace Hardware, Goscha told the Boston Globe. Finally said the new cash will help it roll out its bulbs to more stores and begin selling its products in other countries. The money will also go toward hiring in sales and marketing.
One of the company’s challenges will be to lower its costs so its bulbs’ retail prices are on par with competitors’ products. A six-pack of 60-watt bulbs from Finally currently costs $53.94 on Amazon, while six-packs of similar 60-watt bulbs from GE and Philips cost $29.99 and $23.10, respectively. Goscha said in the press release that Finally’s costs are going down.
[Top photo of Finally founder and CEO John Goscha taken by Rick Friedman and downloaded from the media resources page on Finally’s website. Photo ©2014 Rick Friedman All Rights Reserved.]