Optical components

Bandwidth9 Sells Assets

The long saga of laser startup Bandwidth9 may finally be ending, as the company has sold its intellectual property to NeoPhotonics Corp., the company that loaned it some cash just two months ago.

Bandwidth9's next step will be to auction off its physical assets. Even though there won't be much left after that, whether Bandwidth9 will officially go to that Boardroom in the Sky is "unknown at this stage," says CFO Tom Williams.

Bandwidth9 is "down to very few" employees, Williams says -- "just enough to get the auction done."

NeoPhotonics and Bandwidth9 share some investors and board members, including Bandel Carano of Oak Investment Partners and T. Peter Thomas, currently with ATA Ventures. Those ties led to NeoPhotonics loaning less than $1 million to Bandwidth9 recently, as the latter company tried to get its financial footing back (see Bandwidth9 Gets a Hand).

At the time, NeoPhotonics CEO Tim Jenks said the investment did not necessarily point to a joint project between the companies. That may still be the case, as a NeoPhotonics spokesman notes the company has no immediate plans to incorporate the Bandwidth9 technology into its products. Jenks was not available for comment by press time.

Bandwidth9 raised $110 million during the past few years to create 1550nm tunable Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs) -- but that was during the bubble, when the long-haul market seemed like a good place for startups. As the downturn wore on, Bandwidth9 turned its sights to the more down-to-earth 1310nm VCSEL market, and the company reportedly was close to producing a product there (see Bandwidth9 Claims Laser Breakthrough, Bandwidth9 Thinks Shorter, and Bandwidth9 Goes Chapter 11).

NeoPhotonics has been through this drill before, having acquired Lightwave Microsystems in early 2003. NeoPhotonics has since turned Lightwave's integrated photonics technology toward the fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) market (see NeoPhotonics Buys Lightwave Micro and NeoPhotonics Chases Access).

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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