LED Lighting: Not if, but When? 0

The incandecsent bulb’s days are numbered.

We are going to witness the entire multi-billion dollar lighting industry flip to a new technology — spurred on by technology innovations, improved pricing and in no small part, legislation.

LEDs and CFLs are going to succeed the Edison bulb with a resulting set of new market victors — and a set of market losers. Some new entrepreneurial firms will emerge and a few incumbent firms might perish in the industry transformation.

We’ve covered the new firms in the LED lighting field extensively at Greentech Media. Here’s a recent survey of the players.

Switch Lighting

One of the LED bulb aspirants is Switch Lighting — we visited them for an update last week. The early-stage startup (formerly Superbulbs) just started shipping its LED bulbs this quarter, as promised in an earlier interview. Switch Lighting’s product is meant to be an exact replacement for the century-old Edison bulb.

That means the exact same radial flux, the same warm light quality, the same “instant on” as incandescents, the same performance with existing dimmers, and three-way switchability. The “dirty secret” of LED lamps, according to Switch CEO Tracy Bilbrough, is their vulnerability to drivers, which heat up because of bulb orientation and placement. Switch claims to have solved that problem.  “We are the only people with a complete replacement,” according to Bilbrough, who added, “We think we can win against these incumbent giants because of our unique approach.”

The firm is LED “vendor-agnostic” and has received funding from VantagePoint Venture Capital. In fact, the firm seems VPVC-centric with a board comprised of two VPVC partners as well as Bill Watkins, the CEO of LED light engine vendor and VPVC portfolio company Bridgelux.

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