Prysm funded for large, low-power displays

Startup Prysm raises $100 million to mass-produce flexible displays, which use lasers to reduce power consumption, and develop a consumer product.

Prysm

Startup Prysm is showing that there's still room for new display technologies.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company today announced it has raised $100 million in funding to begin mass production of its low-power, large-format display aimed at commercial customers.

The funding will also be used to develop a consumer product that will be ready within a few years, said co-founder and CEO Amit Jain.

Although the display industry is dominated by giant multinationals, Prysm is seeking to carve out a niche in commercial displays with its Laser Phosphor Display (LPD) technology, which allows for different shapes and lower operating costs, Jain said.

The power consumption is about 75 percent lower than existing display technologies, which means that commercial customers pay less in ongoing energy and cooling costs. Installation is easier, too, since dedicated power supplies aren't required.

The company is focusing on very large displays made by lining up several screens to create a single large image in retail or other public spaces, such as sports stadiums. In broadcasting, they are used at CNBC's "Mad Money with Jim Cramer" show.

A large 225-inch display of multiple screens with LPD technology consumes about 1,500 watts, compared with between 7,000 and 8,000 watts for plasma displays or between 6,000 and 7,000 watts for LCDs, he said.

Traditional displays operate using a constant light source, which is adjusted to get different colors. The LPD technology uses lasers to shoot an array of light beams to activate phosphors that create different colors on the screen. The laser beams are constantly monitored to display only the light that's needed for the image, which also saves power.

The image quality is high and constant across multiple displays, and screens can be viewed from wide angles, Jain added. The company offers a range of display shapes, including very wide screens or a vertically oriented "digital mannequin" for life-size displays.

Investors in this round are follow-on investors Partech International, Artiman Ventures, and two other undisclosed global companies. The company has raised $135 million so far.

Updated at 6:48 AM with correction to size of display used for comparisons.

 

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