Onetta Raises $56M for "Intelligent" Amp

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
2/26/2001



Raising money in this market is certainly not easy, but some startups are managing to get some cash.

Onetta Inc., which develops high-end amplifiers it's calling "Intelligent Optical Engines" for dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) systems, announced today it has secured $56 million in its second round of funding, bringing the total raised to $68 million.

Harbour Vest Partners LLC led the round, with Sumitomo Corp., J.P. Morgan & Co. (Nasdaq: JPM), Chase H&Q, and J&W Seligman & Co. also contributing. Series A investors, Sequoia Capital and Matrix Partners, also came on board for another round.

What does it take to get venture backing in a bear market such as the one we’re in now? Two things: promising technology and an experienced management team.

The company claims it's developing a new type of optical module that can be tightly integrated with long-haul optical systems -- allowing the equipment to provision bandwidth far more quickly and efficiently. The company also says that it already has customers and revenues.

The management team has clearly been a selling point for the VCs. As reported first by Light Reading, Dennis Barsema, chairman and CEO of Onetta, was formerly the CEO at Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK), where he led the company to a successful IPO (see Redback's Barsema to Lead Startup). Barsema recently hired Tim Waters as vice president of marketing; he had been vice president of business development for Nortel Networks Corp.'s (NYSE/Toronto: NT) Broadband Access Business. Barsema and Waters previously worked together at AT&T Paradyne.

On the technical side, Onetta has an impressive list of credentials. Robert MacDonald, one of the founders and VP of product management, came from New Focus Inc. (Nasdaq: NUFO), where he worked on WDM components and tunable lasers. Yan Sun, VP of engineering and the other founder, came from Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), where he developed WDM systems and modules. Other ex-Lucent execs followed Sun's lead, including Atul Srivastava, chief scientist, who specializes in semiconductor opto-electronics; and Paul Wysocki, chief engineer, who specializes in the development of erbium doped fiber lasers and high power fiber amplifiers. Orlando Reyes, the VP of operations, came from Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ).

More detailed information about Onetta’s products, technology, and customers will be available in the next couple of weeks, say company executives.

-- Marguerite Reardon, senior editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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