Bill Watkins is CEO of Bridgelux, an LED manufacturer fueled by private-equity funds. That's not terribly unusual -- lots of companies are backed by venture capitalists these days. What makes Watkins unique is that he left his former life as CEO of Silicon Valley disc drive maker Seagate Technology to lead fledgling developer Bridgelux.
In a column posted Aug. 18 on www.forbes.com, Watkins compares traditional lighting technology to "the wet film industry when digital photography took hold." He also said in the Forbes article that, "The lighting market will increasingly look, feel and operate like the information technology industry. Light bulbs represent the world's last vacuum technology, so digital lighting is where the semiconductor, software and disk-drive industries were 40 years ago--on the edge of steep and continuous growth."
According to a fact sheet on its website, Bridgelux was founded in 2002 and got a $50 million cash infusion early this year to develop its LED technologies.