Chicago’s FLEx Lighting Completes $9M Raise For What It Calls LCD 2.0

December 10, 2020 by Dave Haynes

A Chicago company that specializes in thin, flexible lighting arrays has completed a fundraising initiative that will help get it into the business of small, reflective displays for applications like retail digital signage.

FLEx Lighting announced $9 million in funding, led by venture capital firm Anzu Partners,  to grow and commercialize its new, tablet-sized reflective displays.

FLEx calls its products LCD 2.0 display technology – ultra-thin light transmission units that have the same sorts of energy miser properties as e-paper displays. The company says its paper-thin light arrays use fewer LEDs and enable 10 times the battery power savings.

They also offer “best in class reflective color with video rate capability, while simultaneously providing superb readability in bright sunlight conditions without glare, all of which remain challenges for traditional LCD display technology and high-end emissive technology like OLED.”

Says PR:

With the new financing, FLEx will further expand its display portfolio to include consumer and educational tablets, as well as portable devices across industrial, medical, and IoT applications ranging from a 1” to 21” diagonal.

FLEx is also increasing its global footprint by opening an office in Changzhou, China to provide local support to its partners and growing customer base in the region.

One of the products touted is called InvisiSign:

This battery-powered, clear plastic sign can be placed in front of products without obstructing the view. The InvisiSign uses our LED light guide film technology to bring your display to life. It is easy to install, lasts 2-3 months on battery, and is designed for use in multiple retail applications including cooler doors, shelves, end caps, display cases, or can be freestanding.

The film component uses only a single LED, which allows the display to run on batteries for an extended period. A set of AA or D batteries will provide 25,000-300,000 activations. The content can also be triggered by a motion sensor.

The company says the units can be integrated with cloud-based inventory management systems and location-based marketing systems, so these can be like super-sized electronic shelf labels.

This is interesting stuff, though like like other specialized displays, limited in their applications for marketing and messaging. To be fair, the company suggests signage as an application but also talks about  consumer and educational tablets, as well as portable devices across industrial, medical, and IoT applications.

“As we all increase our screen time, there has been a concerted effort by the display industry to deliver an eye-safe alternative to emissive displays that will still provide the full color video experience we’re accustomed to. Many have tried and failed to produce high-performance reflective displays, but FLEx has finally cracked the code with its transformational light guide technology that unlocks new abilities from tried-and-true LCD displays,” says John Ho, Partner at Anzu Partners. 

“We are committed to establishing LCD 2.0 as the next generation in displays, not only for our existing customers, but for the growing spectrum of electronic devices that require high resolution, full color, sunlight readability, and ultra-low power consumption,” says Mike Casper, CEO of FLEx Lighting. “The additional capital will allow us to increase our lineup of offerings and expand our global sales and manufacturing network.” 

Leave a comment