Aledia, a developer and manufacturer of 3D LEDs based on its Gallium-Nitride-on-Silicon platform, recently announced the closing of its Series B financing round and the execution of development and supply contracts with major LED buyers.
IKEA GreenTech, the venture capital arm of IKEA, and the Ecotechnologies fund of Bpifrance, the French national industrial bank, were among those participating in a Series B funding round by Aledia, a Grenoble, France-based maker of LED lighting, which has closed on about €28.4m (approximately $31 million).
Other participants in the funding round included Valeo, an automobile-equipment maker, while existing Aledia investors Sofinnova Partners, Braemar Energy Ventures, Demeter Partners and CEAi/ATi joined in as well.
"This financing round, abundantly oversubscribed, and particularly the presence of two very large potential corporate customers, testifies to the interest that our cost-disruptive nanowire LED technology is generating in the customer base, as well as in the financial community", said Giorgio Anania, CEO, chairman, and co-founder of Aledia.
The inclusion of Valeo, an automotive lighting manufacturers, and IKEA, a major retailer of general lighting products, were particularly noteworthy given that both would provide a potential customer bases for Aledia as it moved toward commercialisation. IKEA, through its investment arm GreenTech, has been especially active in funding innovative LED-lighting start-ups including Scottish flexible-LED-tile maker Design LED Products.
"This technology will be one important part in the IKEA Group strategy to supply high-quality, energy-saving lighting products to consumers worldwide," said Christian Ehrenborg, managing director of IKEA GreenTech AB. "The low-price opportunity for residential use has the potential of faster implementation of the LED technology, leading to savings for customers. The connectivity functions of Aledia’s technology also open up new interesting possibilities to make life at home more convenient and smarter".
Our market research report LED Lighting in Buildings 2014 to 2018 shows that by 2018 the market will grow still further to total almost $23 billion. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the overall market over a 6 year period of 22.8%. Beyond the time-frame of this report, revenue growth will slow as cost competition intensifies, with the size of the LED lighting market expected to level off around 2020.
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Founded in 2011, Aledia develops and manufactures innovative LEDs based on a unique 3D architecture using gallium-nitride (GaN)-on-silicon microwires. The technology uses standard silicon wafers with diameters of 8 inches and existing CMOS wafer-fabrication processes and tools, enabling production of LED chips at 25% of the cost of traditional planar LED chips.
Aledia’s ground-breaking WireLED technology, developed at the research laboratories of CEA-LETI and CEA-INAC in France, represents a cost-disruptive solution to the key challenge facing the very large and growing LED market. By resolving the important cost issue, Aledia is working to make LEDs available at substantially lower prices than are found today. In addition to the low-cost substrate, the technical direction includes a 3-D approach that allows integration of other electronic components alongside the LED include integrated network connectivity.
IKEA's been inching into the home electronics business very deliberately, and it has been expected that it would want to dominate the burgeoning smart home market. Creating with a connected light bulb system makes good sense. This year we saw the launch of IKEA's versatile and customisable wireless charging system and next autumn they plan to release their highly anticipated Home Smart II Lighting Collection.
The collection will offer home furnishing light kits that enable people to personalise their homes and create a sense of safety and wellbeing. Bedside lamps that can imitate the sunrise while coffee is automatically brewed and different modes can be optimised to support each member of the household throughout the home using wall switches or smartphone apps, for example.
The whole system is designed to require no set up beyond screwing in the light bulbs and IKEA promises that it will be as cheap as possible. "Let's create smart solutions that make everyday life at home easier" said Björn Block, the head of IKEA Home Smart, in a company statement. "And let's create these solutions [at] prices so low that as many people as possible can afford them".