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LIFX moves into Australian stores, looks to global expansion

After being met with 'incredible interest' at I/O, LIFX has plans to grow its retail presence to thousands of stores worldwide.


After debuting on Kickstarter in September 2012 and reaching more than $1.3 million in funding in just six days, the Wi-Fi enabled LIFX light bulb has pushed into the mainstream on its home turf with a new deal that has brought the LED bulbs into Australian retail stores.

Designed for the connected home, the LIFX is an energy-efficient LED bulb that can be controlled via an iPhone or Android device. Users can dim the bulb, change the colour of lighting, and even program the LIFX to switch on and off at particular times, even slowly turning off at the end of the night, all from their smartphone.

According to head of global marketing Simon Walker, the LIFX made its debut in bricks and mortar stores in the UK -- coming into John Lewis stores before Christmas 2013 -- and is now "well represented throughout Europe". But the international success has now been matched by home-grown support with the move into one of Australia's biggest retailers -- Harvey Norman.

"We launched in late May in Harvey Norman stores across the country," Walker told CNET. "We are thrilled to be in their stores.

"Given Australia is our home market, we are wrapped and very excited to be supported by retail stores throughout the country -- something that is only going to increase as we continue to grow. LIFX has been incredibly well supported by the press, retailers and consumers in Australia. We couldn't be happier with the support we are receiving."

It's not just Australian stores feeling the love. According to Walker, the LIFX retail footprint is "expanding quickly", spreading out into US stores and growing its profile in Europe and Asia -- in total the company expects to be in over 4,000 retail stores around the world before the end of the year.

Alongside this retail expansion, 2014 has certainly been a busy year for LIFX. In June, the company received $12 million in Series A funding from venture capitalist firm Sequoia Capital; in that same month, LIFX was off to the Google I/O developer conference.

At I/O, home automation company Nest name-dropped LIFX during its keynote, showing how Nest's smart smoke alarm could be linked in with LIFX bulbs to set off red flashing lights in case of a fire.

According to Walker, the connection with Nest and the appearance at I/O have helped boost the LIFX name.

"The Nest developer program and being featured at Google I/O has really lifted our profile," he said. "It seems the broader public now understands how significant the LIFX smart bulb is in the market and the enormous future it has.

"A couple of our team members were present at I/O who gave out hundred of bulbs to one point we were swamped by over 200 people all trying to get their hands on the bulbs. Google staff actually asked us at one point to leave due to the crowds that were following us while we were walking around! Needless to say, the interest was incredible."