Plextek sells smart lighting subsidiary Telensa

Plextek sells smart lighting subsidiary Telensa

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Cambridge design house Plextek has completed the sale of its Telensa smart lighting subsidiary to Signify, the LED lighting spinout of Philips. The value of the deal was not disclosed but the company had raised $8m in funding since 2005.

Founded and spun out of Plextek Limited, Telensa has been led by Tim Jackson and Will Gibson, originally using the wireless telemetry skills developed by Plextek. The company pioneered the system that meters, manages and controls streetlights, a process now labelled Smart Street Lighting. At its core it utilises the Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) wireless protocol to achieve outstanding coverage owing to its long radio range and corresponding low requirements for cells and associated base station hardware.

The Telensa system is typically bought by local councils and utilities, creating a return on investment in just three years based on savings from lower electricity consumption and reduced maintenance costs.  Smart street lighting is also a key component of smarter urban environments.

ETF Partners invested in Telensa in 2015 to enable the global scale-up that has led to the company’s present market-leading position of more than two million connected streetlights in 400 cities globally, based on nearly 100 networks. In the UK, 29 percent of UK streetlights are smart and overall they consume 28 percent less electricity today than they did in 2010, a key factor wih rising electricity costs.

The sale to Signify complements its existing activities in street lighting by adding new technology and customers.

“We are delighted to see Telensa leave the nest and find its new home with Signify – formerly Philips Lighting. Completing its journey with us marks the start of a new adventure with Signify and the next stage in global scale-up. It has also been a delight working with Patrick Sheehan’s group at ETF Partners who have always been helpful and constructive during the inevitable ups and the downs of growing a tech company,” said Dr Colin Smithers, chairman of the Plextek Group.

This sale to Signify represents the second outright sale of one of the Plextek Group companies and is part of a strategy the company says was started in 2002.

Some of the subsidiaries were demerged from Plextek in 2015 forming a group of sister companies around Plextek Services, the original technical product design house. These other subsidiaries include Blighter Surveillance Systems that supplies e-scan radars for border security, counter-drone, perimeter security, wide area surveillance & coastline security, including to Heathrow and Gatwick Airports and civil and defence customers in over 35 countries and Redtail Telematics, a full stack providers of black box telematics to insurers, OEMs and fleets.

Plextek RFI, now PRFI, was sold to CML in February 2020, and Plextek Campus Ltd is evolving the Plextek site into a science park.

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