LumaStream gets $10M in new funding

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Margie Manning
Eric Higgs, LumaStream CEO

A new round of funding is lighting up the balance sheet at LumaStream.

LumaStream, a St. Petersburg-based firm that manufactures intelligent LED lighting systems, received a $10 million injection of new capital from several investors, including a number of “super angels” and a few individuals, from both in Florida and out of state, said Eric Higgs, CEO. The funding was led by a Toronto, Ontario-based investment group whose members include W. Geoffrey Beattie, a member of the board of directors of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE).

The investment is “an excellent validation of what we are doing,” Higgs said.

Beattie will become an advisor to LumaStream, along with Anthony Caldarone. Jonathan Webster will join the LumaStream board, a statement said.

The new capital allows LumaStream to expand and further product development, Higgs said. “We have a new space in St. Petersburg that triples our capacity where we are doing research and development, prototyping and where we have our corporate offices,” he said. The company plans to move the production of its core power driver technology from Waterloo, Canada to St. Petersburg, partnering with local contract manufacturers.

The company, with a staff that numbers in the mid-30s now, also is hiring in engineering, product configuration, shipping and management, Higgs said.

It’s the second round of funding for LumaStream, which earlier received $1.5 million in seed capital.

Funding for early-stage companies in the Tampa Bay area is challenging, Higgs said. There’s strong civic support for such firms and the passion for building technology hubs here is strong, but “this state needs to put a concerted effort into attracting capital,” he said.

“Eighty percent of our capital has come from out of state and out of the country at this point. That shows the challenges,” he said.

LumaStream’s technology addresses and resolves problems in the LED industry – specifically, lighting fixtures that are packed with electronics to take high-voltage power to low-voltage power. Those electronics fail in many cases, limiting the longevity of LEDs, Higgs said.

“We’ve come up with technology that allows us to take the electronics out of each fixture,” he said. LumaStream has developed remote intelligent power supplies that convert and control power digitally. “We’ve simplified what’s in the fixtures.”

The company is targeting multiple location accounts, including the restaurant, hospitality and retail industries, where it can install systems that are scalable and repeatable. Changes in commercial building codes regarding energy efficiency work to the company’s advantage, Higgs said. “Our technology allows us to meet codes in a more robust manner than traditional LED solutions.”

Tampa Bay Business Journal