Ekinops Raises Funds
The financing round was led by Odyssee Venture and included OTC Asset Management, both new investors. Also included in the round were existing investors Auriga Partners, Equitis, Siparex, Societe Generale Asset Management, and Ventech.
Ekinops CEO Didier Bredy says Ekinops needs the funds due to takeup of the Ekinops 360 platform, which the company unveiled at NXTcomm in June. The 360 platform, which the company says was designed for metro, regional, and long-haul WDM networks, can be used to aggregate or transport Ethernet, Fibre Channel, or Sonet from 100 Mbit/s to 10 Gbit/s. (See Ekinops Unveils 360.)
Bredy says the 360 platform currently operates at 10 Gbit/s, but because it is software-programmable, it will be able to operate at higher bit rates and support different protocols in the future. According to Bredy, the company is "already planning to do 40-Gig and 100-Gig in the future."
Bredy says that capability proved attractive to carriers and investors who saw that "they could use the platform for 10-Gig today, it will allow them to carry other protocols and higher bandwidth requirements later."
Julien Andrieux, investment manager at Odyssee Venture, says the technology was one of the main attractions to making an investment in Ekinops. Citing feedback from Ekinops customers, he says the programmable architecture proved a major selling point "not just for today, but for the future."
Bredy says the plan for the money "is mainly to strengthen the structure of the company and to continue to invest in sales and marketing in the U.S. and Europe as well and continue to invest in our ability to support existing customers."
The company's push into the U.S. market is especially important, Bredy says. This is highlighted by the opening of a new service center in Dallas announced in March and the news of a contract win at the University of Nebraska that Ekinops announced last week. (See Ekinops Opens in Dallas and U of Nebraska Chooses Ekinops.)
While the market for optical startups has lagged for some time, venture capital firms are beginning to put more money behind private companies in the sector. The investment in Ekinops caps off a string of similar announcements this week, in which optical companies like Tejas Networks India Ltd. and Mintera Corp. also received funds. (See Tejas Pockets $24M Fifth Round and Mintera Adds Cash, Partner.)
Andrieux says it might be a good time to be an optical startup, because "more and more operators are looking for flexibility and innovation that comes from startups."
— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading