BrightLink Brings Home the Bacon
BrightLink Networks Inc. says it has closed a $35.8 million financing round, its fourth so far. The new funds from BrightLink's investor group -- which includes Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Goldman Sachs & Co., Menlo Ventures, and the Sprout Group -- brings its total funding to date to $113.8 million (see BrightLink Scores $35.8 Million).
The new funds will help BrightLink continue product trials with carriers and will take it through its first revenue shipments, which will come sometime next year, says Gary Law, BrightLink's marketing VP.
BrightLink is building a large-scale STS1 grooming switch. The box sits at the edge of optical backbones, packing and unpacking wavelengths with relatively small 51.8-Mbit/s channels, at the same time as it sets up and tears down wavelengths to other nodes (see BrightLink's Prospects Brighten ). Its new funding round is crucial as the company is aiming to (someday) sell a box that gives Ciena Corp.'s (Nasdaq: CIEN) CoreDirector switch a run for its money.
The company's gone through its share of setbacks since the $52 million funding round that it closed in April 2000. In April 2001, it cut nearly a third of its staff (see BrightLink Slims Down). A month later it replaced CEO Harry Quackenboss with Paul Schaller, who has since agreed to be BrightLink's permanent chief executive (Quackenboss Quits ). Through it all, though, BrightLink has managed to get its product into trials with a couple of interexchange carriers.
Despite the slowdown in spending on core optical networks, BrightLink believes the market for its switches hasn't faded. "I think this is one area where [carriers] will be spending," says Law. "For the past five years they've been spending on capacity; now they need to spend money on managing that capacity."
BrightLink's headcount is now at about 130, Law says, and it's looking to spend some of its funding on a few more engineers.
- Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading