Australian IoT startup LIFX raises $12m

Sequoia invests in Australian Internet of Things company

Melbourne-headquartered Internet of Things startup LIFX has raised $12 million in Series A funding, partnering with Silicon Valley VC firm Sequoia.

LIFX's initial product was a Wi-Fi enabled lightbulb funded by a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. The LIFX bulb was listed on the crowdfunding site in September 2012 and raised $1,314,542; the team's initial goal was $100,000.

The Sequoia Capital investment brings the startup's total funding to $16.6 million.

The first batch of LIFX bulbs was shipped in Q1 this year. The initial batch was for backers of the Kickstarter campaign; the bulbs are now available for purchase from LIFX's website.

The LIFX bulbs each incorporate a computer system capable of connecting to standard 802.11n Wi-Fi networks; the bulbs communicate with each other using the low-power 802.15.4 networking standard.

Hue and brightness can be controlled by a smartphone app, and an SDK allows third-party developers to build additional applications to control the behaviour of individual bulbs or a network of bulbs (blinking in response to social network notifications, for example).

The on-bulb firmware systems are based on Thingsquare's open source Mist system, which is a commercial spin-off from the well-known Contiki operating system for the Internet of Things.

"In the short time since the launch, we've worked to perfect our hardware, build a beautiful app and increase manufacturing to meet demand,” the startup's CEO, Phil Bosua, said in a statement.

"This partnership will allow us to accelerate the growth of LIFX and produce some of the world’s best IoT products."

In addition to Melbourne, LIFX has an office in Los Altos, California. The startup is seeking to hire in both Australia and the US.

"LIFX is one of the fastest growing and most promising smart home companies," said Sequoia partner Omar Hamoui, who has joined LIFX's board."

"Phil and team have truly revolutionised the first consumer electronics device: the light bulb. As consumers adopt connected home technologies, the LIFX bulb will be a starting point because it’s easy to install and immediately useful on a daily basis. We couldn’t be happier to support them as they work to deliver the best home innovation experience."

Google made waves earlier this year when it announced it would purchase Nest Labs, a California-headquartered company best known for its networked home thermostat.

Networking vendor Cisco has estimated that what it dubs the 'Internet of Everything' is potentially worth $14.4 trillion for the private sector over the next decade.

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Tags NetworkingInternet of ThingsThingsquareLIFXInternet of Things (IoT)

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