Lumexis scores new funding as it readies to fill major order

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Lumexis has secured a fresh round of funding and revealed that its undisclosed customer will install the firm's fiber-to-the-screen (FTTS) in-flight entertainment system across a fleet of Boeing 737 family aircraft.

The company says it has received a $15 million investment led by Washington DC-based private equity fund management company Perseus. Existing investors PAR Capital Management and Zone Ventures participated in the financing round.

The investment agreement includes the option for an additional investment of up to $7.5 million.

"We made this investment because of the clear benefits of the Lumexis FTTS system relative to the competition. Airline customers are looking for an in-flight entertainment system that is affordable, reduces fuel burn through lower weight, and is easy to maintain, operate, and upgrade," says Perseus senior managing director Dave Davis.

PAR Capital Management vice-president Ed Shapiro adds: "We are pleased to have Perseus join us in this investment. I have known Dave Davis for several years and kept him apprised of the progress Lumexis has been making since we made our original investment in 2007. This investment, together with Lumexis' new 737 customer, are important validations of the opportunity we see in Lumexis."

Following a trial of the fiber optics-based FTTS seat-back IFE system on board a US Airways Airbus A320, Lumexis in September revealed it had won a full-fleet customer. At that time, the firm said installations would begin in 2010.

In a statement today Lumexis divulged that the undisclosed carrier will equip its "fleet of 737 family aircraft" with the FTTS system, and that it will use the system "not only to provide passenger entertainment including movies on demand, games, and music, but also to support in-seat purchases by travelers of an array of products and services".

The Lumexis system is based on open software and hardware architectures. Data is transmitted from standard central servers via fiber optic cables that run directly to and from passenger screens.

"The significant cost, weight, and reliability advantages of the Lumexis system were key determinants in securing both the order and the new investment capital," says Lumexis, which claims its system "is approximately half the weight of older, legacy systems from other suppliers".