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Light Raises $9.7 Million for Photography Startup From Silicon Valley Veterans

It seems pretty clear that this is going to be a hardware company. Probably.

The former CEO of speech recognition startup Vlingo — which powered the original Siri and was acquired by Nuance — and the former CTO of Flarion Technologies — which developed LTE and was acquired by Qualcomm — are teaming up for a new photography startup.

They are Dave Grannan and Rajiv Laroia, and the company is Light.

Light already has $9.7 million in the bank from Bessemer Venture Partners and CRV, and Qualcomm Executive Chairman Paul E. Jacobs is also invested and on the board of directors.

Based on the backgrounds of the team, it seems pretty clear that this is going to be a hardware company, though Light isn’t saying much. Reinventing photography hardware has proven to be a hard path, as the innovative focus-changing camera startup Lytro has shown. But in the Kickstarter era, consumer hardware startups are extremely hot.

In an email interview, Grannan explained what Light will do without really explaining what Light will do. “The last major technological breakthrough in photography was the move from analog to digital, when traditional film was replaced by a digital sensor,” he said. “Creation and consumption of photography have innovated, incrementally, around this, but there hasn’t been a real ground-up change in the way we think about the photograph. We’re working on that.”

In response to a question about hardware, Grannan added, “While we don’t have anything to announce with respect to products today, it would be impossible to ignore the growing excitement around consumer hardware ventures. Companies like Nest have shown that there is a booming appetite for experientially conceived products. And those that can show real technological differentiation seem to be all the better off in this environment. We’re excited about that.”

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