Siemens Spinoff Osram Just Bought This U.S. Industrial Light Startup

Aug 24, 2017

Osram, the digital lighting unit spun out of industrial giant Siemens, is buying Boston-based Digital Lumens.

Terms of the deal, announced late Wednesday, were not disclosed. Reuters reported the price was the "mid-double digit millions."

Nine-year-old Digital Lumens started out making fixtures and hardware for use in "smart" lighting systems for commercial and industrial use. It has more recently positioned itself as a provider of software to run such systems. Smart lighting, in which the actual lights are connected to each other and to a controlling hub via the Internet, is a subset of the growing Internet of Things phenomenon.

Digital Lumens claims 2,500 installations, mostly in industrial settings. It had taken in just over $55 million in venture funding from backers including Nokia Growth Partners and Flybridge Partners.

As former Fortune senior writer Stacey Higginbotham put it a while back: "Lighting, like everything else, has gone digital. Instead of creating light with wires and gas inside a hot enclosure, we now use semiconductors known as light-emitting diodes, or LEDs." They are more energy-efficient and durable than their forebears.

But the market has been a battleground with industrial giants Siemens (siegy), Philips (phg), and General Electric (ge) duking it out. It seemed inevitable that smaller players like Digital Lumens would be acquired or gone.

Related: Philips, GE, Osram in Digital Lighting War

While Digital Lumens focused on industrial customers, smart lighting has also gotten some traction in the home, where consumers can use Amazon Alexa or Google Home to control their lighting systems.

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