Clark Boards BeamExpress
BeamExpress Inc. is breaking into the LX4 module market, and the company has hired new chief executive Peter Clark to front the effort.
Formerly president and CEO of Hitachi Semiconductor (America) Inc., Clark was CEO of optical MEMS startup Lightconnect Inc. from 2001 until early 2004. He then ditched the optical industry to become CEO of Sierra Monolithics Inc., a components firm in the wireless space.
Roughly 18 months later, Clark has joined BeamExpress. The Swiss company was originally developing transceiver modules based on 1550nm Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs) but has shifted into the more pragmatic market for LX4 transceivers, which split a 10-Gbit/s Ethernet feed into four 3.125-Gbit/s channels.
The LX4 standard is an option for transmitting 10-Gbit/s signals for short distances on older multimode fiber. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has driven much of that market with Emcore Corp. (Nasdaq: EMKR) as its main supplier; Emcore got into the game by purchasing the LX4 business of Molex Inc. (Nasdaq: MOLXE) (See Vendors Still Driving LX4 and Molex Out, Emcore In.)
BeamExpress is only sampling now, but it's no newcomer to LX4, having helped draft the relevant Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) standards, says Bor-long Twu, BeamExpress chief operating officer.
BeamExpress's previous CEO, Jean-Claude Charlier, remains with the company as general manager of the VCSEL operation in Lausanne, Switzerland. Clark, stationed in Silicon Valley, is taking the helm as part of an effort to mold BeamExpress into a U.S. venture.
"Since Day One, this company was incorporated in Delaware. We intended to be a U.S. company and prepare for our exit in the U.S., too," Twu says.
Clark was visiting Lausanne last week and couldn't be reached for comment.
BeamExpress started as a spinoff of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) research institute. Since 2001, the company has raised $26.2 million in three rounds, the most recent coming in April with Oak Investment Partners joining as an investor and Oak partner David Walrod joining BeamExpress's board. (See BeamExpress Raises $14.2M, Beam Express Scores $7.5M, and BeamExpress Gets $4.5M.)
As for Lightconnect, it's gone through some changes of its own. Clark was succeeded as CEO by Yves LeMaitre, who recently left to run the optical components division at Avanex Corp. (Nasdaq: AVNX). (See Avanex Names Optical Group Head.)
Lightconnect is now in the hands of CEO Sushil Shah, the former vice president of operations, who has been with the company since its early days.
Lightconnect's flagship product, a variable optical attenuator (VOA), recently got some modifications aimed at better performance. The new part, called Fast VOA 5000, is shipping in volume, says Lightconnect spokesman Santos Joseph. (See Lightconnect Launches VOA.)
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading