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Optical components

Alphion Completes $12M Round

Slowly, life is coming back to the optical components market, the latest sign being a $12.1 million funding round closed late last week by Alphion Corp.

Most of the round was announced in April, when Alphion had $10.6 million in hand. Led by Tallwood Venture Capital, the round was topped up to $12 million and closed after including new investors Axiom Venture Partners and ICCP Venture Partners, as well as prior investors Goldman Sachs & Co. and Narra Venture Capital (see Alphion Raises $10.6M and Alphion Raises $12.1M).

Alphion has now raised $44.1 million in three rounds.

Investors are starting to put money into the components industry again after a few years of drought. But most recent funding has gone to companies willing to merge, bringing about some long awaited consolidation. Continuum Photonics Inc. and Polatis Ltd. struck such a deal, as did ASIP and T-Networks, which have renamed themselves Apogee Photonics Inc. (see Continuum, Polatis Join Forces and ASIP, T-Networks Reach Apogee).

Alphion's investors seem to think the company can go it alone. Founded in 2000, Alphion began shipping its first product this year -- an all-optical "2R" regenerator. The device does signal reamplification and reshaping (but not retiming, the third "R") and can also do wavelength conversion (see Alphion Launches Photonic Transponder).

Alphion is also applying the technology platform, called QLight, to a semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) and to 1x2 and 2x2 all-optical switches (see Alphion Amps Up Amps).

Like many components startups, including Apogee, Alphion's technology is based on the integration of indium phosphide (InP) devices, but Alphion doesn't own its own fab. CEO Bharat Dave says he wanted to build a fab back in 2000, but the downturn made plenty of advanced InP manufacturing capacity available from other companies.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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