Bridgelux appoints Watkins CEO and takes in new financing

Jan. 14, 2010
Date Announced: 14 Jan 2010 Bridgelux, Inc., a leading developer and manufacturer of technologies and solutions that will transform the lighting industry, today announced the appointment of William D. Watkins as chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors, effective immediately. Mark Swoboda, who has served as CEO of Bridgelux since June 2007, will remain with the company and become president, leading product development, R&D initiatives and sales and marketing efforts.The company also announced that it has successfully raised an additional $50 million Series D financing, led by VantagePoint Venture Partners. DCM and all other existing investors also participated. The round, which is oversubscribed, also included new investors. The company intends to use the capital to aggressively develop its manufacturing technologies and expand its global manufacturing infrastructure to meet increasing market demand while continuing to drive its technology research and development activities.Watkins joins Bridgelux after a distinguished 13-year career at Seagate Technology, the world’s largest hard disc drive and storage solutions company, where he most recently served as chief executive officer. During his time at Seagate, Watkins, 57, led growth strategies and improvements across all areas of the business, increasing revenue from $6.5 billion to over $13 billion in his five years as CEO. From 2000 to 2004, Watkins served as Seagate’s president and chief operating officer, where he was responsible for the company’s hard disc drive operations and transformed its manufacturing processes to yield significant increases in capacity and efficiency.“We view solid-state lighting as an advanced technology capable of rapidly transforming the $100 billion lighting industry by offering a more cost-effective, efficient and environmentally sensitive lighting solution, and Bridgelux is uniquely positioned to drive its adoption,” said Alan E. Salzman, CEO of VantagePoint Venture Partners, the company’s largest investor. “Bringing on a leader of Bill’s caliber and adding to the company’s financial resources mark the beginning of what we believe will be a remarkable growth phase as the company continues driving down the cost of its solutions, which in turn opens successive new markets for them.”“Having seen the benefits of Bill’s extensive operational experience running technology manufacturing businesses on a global scale while serving together on the board of another private company, we are thrilled to have Bill leading the Bridgelux team at this important and exciting juncture in the company’s history,” said Peter Moran, Bridgelux board member and general partner at DCM. “We are also pleased to have secured additional financing that will enable Bridgelux to continue advancing our manufacturing technology and dramatically expand manufacturing capacity. We will also use the new capital to support our ongoing core technology development and market penetration efforts, as we look to grow substantially in the years ahead.”Watkins joined Seagate in 1996 as part of the company’s merger with Conner Peripherals, where he established the Conner Disk Division and held the positions of SVP, Worldwide Operations and President, Disk Operations. His more than 30-year career in technology manufacturing also includes leadership positions with Domain Technology, where he led the team that developed the MINT (Magnetic Information Technology) disc media manufacturing process. Earlier in his career, he was three times part of the management team that took companies public. He currently serves on the board of directors of Maxim Integrated Products, Flextronics and Vertical Circuits Incorporated, as well as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Watkins holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the University of Texas. “Bridgelux experienced substantial growth over the past two years and has achieved scale and a perfect market position given the opportunity we have in the near term,” said Bill Watkins. “We intend to seize this opportunity and dramatically grow the company. I look forward to working with the team to build upon the strong foundation they have established. In the coming weeks we will be announcing several initiatives that will further underpin our growth strategy as we pursue this huge market opportunity.”About BridgeluxBridgelux is a leading developer and manufacturer of technologies and solutions that will transform the $100 billion lighting industry. Based in Silicon Valley, Bridgelux is a pioneer in solid state lighting (SSL) and is greatly expanding the market for light-emitting diode (LED) technologies by driving down costs of LED lighting systems. Bridgelux’s patented proprietary light source technology replaces traditional technologies (such as incandescent, halogen and fluorescent lighting) with integrated, solid-state lighting solutions that enable lamp and luminaire manufacturers to provide high performance and energy-efficient white light for the rapidly growing interior and exterior markets, including street lights, commercial lighting and consumer applications. With more than 225 patents worldwide, Bridgelux is the only vertically integrated LED manufacturer and developer of solid-state light sources that designs its solutions specifically for the lighting industry, focusing its technologies and solutions on the rapid transformation of the lighting industry.


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