Palm Springs, California -- I ran into the co-founder of Lemnis Lighting, Warner Philips, at the CleanEdge/IBF Clean-tech conference this morning.
Lemnis builds screw-in LED bulbs that replace the incandescent household bulb. The firm's Pharox bulb puts out about the same amount of light as a 60-watt or 40-watt incandescent, but consumes just six watts of power. Plus, if you install one in your house today, you won't have to change it until 2030. (BTW -- Lemnis founder Warner Philips is the grandson of the founder of Philips Lighting.)
Greentech Media did a product evaluation of the Lemnis bulb here.
As for the update: Lemnis has shipped more than three million bulbs to date and has a pipeline of hundreds of millions of bulbs to be shipped in the coming years. According to the founder, that makes Lemnis the world's leading supplier of LED bulbs.
Declining prices, energy efficiency regulations, and outright bans on incandescents are creating demand for LED bulbs. But it's the early adopters that have been buying bulbs so far. Once a certain price threshold has been met, we'll really start to see mass market adoption of this cool-to-the-touch, long-life, efficient light source. Lemnis expects their bulb to be priced at less than $10 in the next 18 to 24 months.
According to the co-founder, bad product killed the compact fluorescent category -- and consumers tend to return to known brands. Lemnis intends to be that brand.
Lemnis also claims that the majority of people will buy the LED bulb online, although Philips emphasized the importance of other channels such as government, retailers and utilities.
And one more consideration -- if the bulb lasts 20 years, Lemnis abdicates the traditional bulb business model of incessant replacement. The firm is weighing the value of providing an LPA, a lighting purchase agreement. After all, customers don't want light bulbs -- they want light. Perhaps the consumer would be willing to pay for lighting as a service where maintenance and upgrades are handled by a provider instead of the consumer buying the bulb. It's a bit of a stretch, but it's something that Warner Philips and his firm is considering.
Lemnis Lighting raised $37.5 million in a fourth round of funding from unnamed African investors in March of last year.