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VC-backed MetroLight loses U.S. leader to competitor
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LUXIM's Randy Reid

Updated 7:34 p.m.: Reid said that while it's true the firms compete on general lighting, a key category, they don't compete head-to-head on most other categories and he hopes the two firms will find ways to cooperate. Our story as originally reported follows.-Editor

Randy Reid, the Franklin-based executive who opened the U.S. market for MetroLight Inc. (America) seven years ago, has left the company for a competitor.

Reid, 48, began work Aug. 17 as vice president for marketing for LUXIM Corp., a solid-state plasma lighting provider based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Reid told VNC he will continue to operate from Nashville, where LUXIM is also considering creating a product-demonstration venue.

Reid explained that after he and his wife scouted Sunnyvale for housing and amenities, he initially turned-down the LUXIM job, until the company agreed he could remain based in Nashville, visiting Sunnyvale only a week each month. He said operating from Nashville also puts him closer to the majority of LUXIM's most important manufacturing customers.

MetroLight, a provider of energy-efficient lighting high-intensity discharge (HID) ballast technology, has not yet responded to a VNC query placed earlier today via the company's remaining U.S. staff. MetroLight CEO Ziv Segal is based in Israel.

At around 140 lumens per watt, LUXIM's plasma bulbs (center, at left) are almost ten times more efficient than today's traditional lightbulbs. Despite their efficiency and power, today costs dictate usage mainly in commercial and industrial applications.

In a LUXIM release issued today, the company noted that it recently closed a $12 million Series C venture capital round. LUXIM Chairman Michael Moritz is also general manager of Menlo Park-based Sequoia Capital, which was an early investor in Google, among other portfolio companies.

Reid told VNC he will report to LUXIM CEO Tony McGettigan, and will present his marketing strategy to McGettigan and Moritz, in a few weeks.

MetroLight has also been venture-backed, with investors including British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Fuels, and Israeli VCs CleanTech Ventures and Gemini Israel Funds. In 2008, MetroLight was named Company of the Year by the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce.

Reid, a Kentucky native, is a former president of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), and it was via that organization that he and MetroLight initially connected. In 2002, Reid, opened MetroLight's first U.S. office, based in Middle Tennessee.

He began his career in lighting in 1983 with GE. He earned a bachelor's in real estate at the University of Alabama; an MBA with marketing emphasis from the University of Tennessee; and, he served 23 years in the U.S. Army Reserve, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

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Tags: energy conservation, HID, LED, lighting, LUXIM Corp., MetroLight Inc. (America), Michael Moritz, plasma, Randy Reid, Sequoia Capital, venture capital, Virgin Fuels, Ziv Segal

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