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Melbourne-based startup LIFX raises $12 million Featured

Melbourne-based Wi-Fi enabled lightbulb startup LIFX has raised $12 million in Series A funding, in a deal with Silicon Valley VC firm Sequoia.

LIFX initially took to Kickstarter for fundraising for its $99 WiFi-enabled lightbulbs, in what turned into a big success story for Australian startups and crowdfunding in general. 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, announced today, brings the startup's total funding to $16.6 million.

The company also announced that its smart bulbs are now available worldwide from today with free shipping at store.lifx.co.

The partnership will help LIFX, which is on the forefront of the Internet of Things (IoT), make homes smarter, as part of a range of apps and devices that are set to enter our everyday lives.

Angel investors Guy King and Bevan Clark also participated in the round. Sequoia partner Omar Hamoui has joined the company's board of directors.

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).

CEO Phil Bosua says LIFX is continuing to add to new features to the app, like preset moods and music activated settings, with a major overhaul to be launched soon

"Today marks an exciting new chapter for LIFX with the announcement of our partnership with Sequoia Capital," Bosua said in a blog post.

"They understand and believe in our vision which will help accelerate the growth of LIFX whilst producing world class IoT products.

"We would not be where we are today without the support of our early Kickstarter backers in September 2012 who believed in us and what we were wanting to achieve. In the short time since the then, we’ve shipped the LIFX light bulb, worked to further develop our hardware, built a beautiful app and increase manufacturing to meet demand."

“LIFX is one of the fastest growing and most promising smart home companies,” says Omar Hamoui, partner at Sequoia Capital in a press release.

“Phil and team have truly revolutionized 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.”

LIFX plans to use the capital to fund the next phase of its business. The company is also now hiring engineering, sales and marketing teams in Los Altos, CA and Melbourne, Australia and will continue to grow both operations.

For more information see the LIFX blog post here.

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