Lights Out at InLight

The optical add/drop multiplexer subsystem maker shuts its doors after it couldn't find customers

December 21, 2001

1 Min Read
Lights Out at InLight

InLight Communications, a Fremont, California-based optical subsystems maker, ceased operations during the last week of November when it couldn't raise another funding round, Light Reading has learned.

The company was originally focused on building optical crossconnect switches that use MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems), the tiny tilting mirror technology that's being used in most all-optical switches. Later, it changed course and started using the same technology to build a configurable optical add/drop multiplexer (OADM) for metro networks.

In January, the company announced that it had closed an $11.5 million Series A funding round. During its several years in business, InLight raised more than $14 million from investors WorldView Technology Partners, Jerusalem Venture Partners, and Shalon Ventures.

InLight's trouble may have been that it was one of several companies making subsystems for the OADM market, not the least of which are JDS Uniphase Inc. (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU), Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW), and Agere Systems (NYSE: AGR). Even if InLight's technology had been the best in class it would have had to get systems vendors on board by proving that it could deliver -- not just new features, but significant cost reductions in metro-area applications.

When it closed its doors, InLight put about 30 people out of work. At the company's peak, it had employed about 45.

The company's managers included president and CEO Steve Tobak; Ray Cotter, its cofounder and VP of microsystems technology; Keith Love, VP of operations; and Mary Rorabaugh, its VP of finance.

Tobak, Cotter, JVP's Erel Margalit, Worldview's Ajit Shah, and Teddy Shalon, of Shalon Ventures, sat on InLight's board.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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