LED Company EcoSense, Flush With $13M From Bain Capital Ventures, Eyes Expansion

Things are looking brighter for New York’s EcoSense Lighting, which on Tuesday said it raised $13 million in a Series B round led by Bain Capital Ventures in Boston. Jeffrey Glass, managing director of Bain, says his firm was attracted to the experience of EcoSense’s management in the LED lighting sector.

EcoSense, founded in 2009 by its chairman George Mueller, makes energy efficient LED lighting fixtures for industrial, commercial, and residential use. Mueller calls his products professional grade white LED lighting and says the new funding will help his company increase production and grow its engineering and sales staff. The company currently has a staff of 20. “It will allow us to enter more markets and have more feet on the street worldwide,” he says. Mueller says EcoSense’s prior funding largely came from an undisclosed Series A round from internal investments as well as angel investors.

Mueller previously co-founded Boston’s Color Kinetics, a maker of LED lighting systems that was acquired in 2007 by Royal Philips Electronics for $791 million. “Color Kinetics was a very big business that really invented the color LED space,” Glass says. Ihor Lys, Color Kinetics’s co-founder and former chief scientist, was named technical advisor in Sept. 2010 to EcoSense’s board of directors.

In addition to the management team’s expertise in LED lighting, Glass says Bain Capital was interested in the evolution taking place within the industry. “LED is becoming increasingly competitive with other alternatives for lighting,” he says. “The cost of LED lighting is coming way down while the cost of fluorescent lighting is going up. Incandescent lighting is terribly inefficient.”

EcoSense makes such products as LED floodlights for outdoor use as well as interior lights. The company also made its way into the spotlight last year when its landscape lights were used on “The Vanilla Ice Project”, a home improvement cable television series on the DIY Network.

While Glass says there is room for a variety of players in the LED lighting market, he believes EcoSense’s products appeal to discerning consumers and high-end commercial buyers. “There’s lots of opportunity for many companies [in this market] to be successful,” Glass says.

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