Laser Light Engines, a Salem, New Hampshire-based manufacturer of laser lights for cinema screens, has secured $13 million in a Series B round of fund-raising. Funds came from two returning venture capital firms, Braemar Energy and Harris & Harris Group, and the rest came from Imax Corp, with whom Laser Lights has a strategic partnership. Laser Lights intends to use the funds to develop a custom version of its laser engine for use in Imax screens.
Laser Light Engines (LLE), a developer and manufacturer of ultrahigh brightness, laser-driven light sources, has closed a $13-million Series B financing round from returning investors Braemar Energy Ventures and Harris & Harris Group Inc., and from current strategic partner Imax Corp. LLE will use the Series B funds to accelerate expansion of its product development, engineering and marketing organizations. The company will also develop a custom version of its laser engine for use in IMAX digital projection systems, making IMAX the exclusive large format cinema user for up to three years. LLE will also provide outsourced research and development for IMAX, per the agreement previously announced in July, 2010.
The LLE light engine will provide two to five times the brightness level of a traditional Xenon bulb, making the superior light source ideal for 3D presentation which needs more light – all current 3D systems, other than IMAX, cut brightness up to 80% to split the picture into two separate images, one for each eye. Initially targeted for Digital Cinema projector use, LLE’s light source will be available for other entertainment industry applications such as theme park attractions, Rental/Staging and digital signage.
“The explosion of 3D and Digital Cinema worldwide has projector manufacturers and, ultimately, exhibitors looking at our high-brightness light source to replace traditional Xenon arc lamps and solve the brightness issues associated with 3D presentation,” said Doug Darrow, CEO, Laser Light Engines. “We will continue growing our business with the current round of financing now closed and look to add to our list of strategic and equity partners that include industry leaders such as Braemar, Harris & Harris and IMAX.” The patented LLE system produces red, green and blue primaries from the same laser. The unique technology offered by LLE eliminates the speckle artifact from all three laser primary colors. LLE has demonstrated fully despeckled 2K and 4K DCinema Standard Evaluation Material (StEM) and other cinema and non-cinema content with all five major brands of Digital Cinema and Large Venue projectors.
“Part of the IMAX ExperienceAtrademark is to ensure the best picture quality possible on our largest screens,” said Brian Bonnick, executive vice president of technology, IMAX. “Laser Light Engines’ technology will not only enable the highest brightness large format digital 3D presentation in the world, but also drive additional image quality advances.”
Laser Light Engines will use the proceeds of this round of financing to commercialize its RGB (Red/Green/Blue) laser technology, dramatically reducing operating costs for movie theater owners for a potential per screen savings of $10,000 a year by eliminating the need to replace expensive Xenon arc lamps (projector bulbs) and reducing electricity use as much as 50%. LLE’s solid-state RGB laser solution can deliver higher brightness than lamps because all of the laser light comes from narrow beams; virtually all of the laser power gets to the projector chips. In contrast, less than 7% of the output of a Xenon lamp reaches the screen. The LLE system provides full brightness over the lifetime of the projector unlike Xenon lamps that decline in output over time.
About Laser Light Engines
Laser Light Engines, Inc., designs, develops and manufactures OEM laser-driven light engines that enable broad new product categories. The company’s unique solid-state illumination “engines” combine advanced laser technology with high volume manufacturing processes to provide high brightness, long lifetime, energy efficient and color controllable light for demanding illumination applications worldwide.In 2009 Laser Light Engines was named to the AlwaysOn OnHollywood Top 100 Private companies list, which honors the best up and coming companies in digital media and entertainment.
About Braemar Energy Ventures
Braemar Energy Ventures is a venture capital fund making early- to mid-stage investments in the energy technology sector. The firm’s principals have invested in more than 50 companies in the sector and have significant technical, operational and financial experience in energy and energy-related industries. Through offices in New York and Boston, the firm targets a wide range of energy technologies that impact stationary power, transportation and portable energy applications. Additional information is available at www.braemarenergy.com.
About Harris & Harris Group Inc.
Harris & Harris Group is a publicly traded venture capital company that invests in nanotechnology and microsystems. Detailed information about Harris & Harris Group and its holdings can be found on its website at www.HHVC.com.