OptiMight Be Shutting Down

Sources say the long-haul optical startup is shutting its doors after failing to reach an agreement on financing

February 4, 2002

2 Min Read
OptiMight Be Shutting Down

Long-haul DWDM equipment maker OptiMight Communications Inc. is shutting its doors and is likely going to liquidate its assets, say sources close to the company.

The company had come very close to running out of money, as noted in a Jan. 11 Light Reading report (see OptiMight: Check's in the Mail and OptiMight Reaches for New Funding). It had raised $37.5 million to date, but its balance sheet, dated November 2001, shows that the company took on a $20 million bridge loan, hinting that its money troubles have been going on for a few months. The balance sheet listed only $1,012,000 in cash and $1,950,000 in restricted cash.

But in a last-ditch effort to secure new funding, OptiMight was meeting with creditors and trying to clean up its balance sheet, while at the same time reassuring a major carrier that it was going to continue to be a financially viable equipment supplier.

OptiMight had succeeded in technical tests with WorldCom Inc. (Nasdaq: WCOM), but operations executives at the carrier were never sold on the product, says a former OptiMight employee (see Raman Risks Emerge ).

OptiMight owes creditors $10 million, and its secured debt -- debt that's been guaranteed by the pledge of assets and other collateral -- is $5.3 million, leaving a $4.7 million funding gap, say sources close to OptiMight's creditors.

These include Arrow Electronics, Lightwave Microsystems Corp., Multiplex Inc., NEL America Inc., New Focus Inc. (Nasdaq: NUFO), PR@vantage, and several individuals.

At this point, it appears OptiMight hasn't relayed the news of any closing to its creditors. Several creditors contacted by Light Reading had not heard whether OptiMight had finally shut its doors, so they had not yet finalized plans on how to collect remaining debts.

"I'm not aware of any steps that are going to be taken [against OptiMight] other than just normal collections activity," says Rich Sawcheck, director of investor relations at Multilink Technology Corp. (Nasdaq: MLTC).

A former manager with the company says that investor Heller Financial has a lien on OptiMight's intellectual property. Heller Financial did not return calls seeking comment.

OptiMight's other investors included WorldView Technology Partners, Hook Partners, Lucent Venture Partners Inc., Meritech Capital Partners, Thomas Weisel Partners, Venrock Associates, and Vertex Management Inc.

OptiMight's last reported headcount, as of Sept. 2001, was more than 130 employees.

The company's managers -- including CEO Wu-Fu Chen and product marketing director Karl Ma -- did not respond to several requests for comment made over the past few days.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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