Following its green philosophy, Ikea funds manufacturer that specializes in flexible tiles with LEDs embedded in the tiles that can enable unique luminaire forms.
Global home-furnishings retailer Ikea has announced that its European-focused Ikea GreenTech venture-capital unit invested in Design LED Products Ltd. The investment is intended to help the company deliver on its sustainability program called People & Planet Positive that is expected to help its customers adopt sustainable practices in their homes and save energy. This particular investment should result in unique LED luminaires that will be added to the Ikea portfolio.
Ikea has long championed sustainability and had said back in 2012 that it would transition all of its lighting products to LED sources by 2016. More recently, the company moved the goal forward to 2015, and the latest acquisition is surely intended to help the company deliver innovative luminaire products.
Design LED Products is a Scottish manufacturer of lighting tiles that are manufactured with optical resins and films and that have white LEDs integrated within the tiles. The tiles can be applied as sheet-like light engines in applications such as under-cabinet planar fixtures. The company also offers bendable tiles than could be used to enable unique form factors for solid-state lighting (SSL) products.
The concept of a flexible film or panel with integrated LEDs is not unique to Design LED Products. For example, startup Cooledge has presented their bendable panels at the Strategies in Light conferences and also won a LightFair Innovation Award in 2013. Thus far, however, the flexible panels have garnered much interest but the industry is waiting on innovative product to emerge based on the technology.
Ikea clearly sees potential in the light tile technology. "This technology opens up fantastic possibilities for innovative designs using energy-efficient LEDs," said Christian Ehrenborg, managing director for Ikea GreenTech AB. "The partnership is a clear strategic fit for Ikea and our goal to make living sustainably affordable and attractive for millions of people."
For startup Design LED product, the cash infusion will help the company move toward volume production and grow its portfolio. The company said that in addition to Ikea, it received funds in its latest venture round from Scottish Enterprise, Strathtay Ventures, Tricap Ventures, and Highland Ventures.
Still, the Ikea participation lends great credence to the startup's mission. "This strategic investment allows Design LED to significantly accelerate plans to deliver highly differentiated products to an international market desperate to conserve energy, and hungry for exciting new form factors in LED lighting," said Stuart Bain, CEO of Design LED Products Ltd.