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Optical components

Former Ciena Exec Founds Startup

Victor Mizrahi, the former chief scientist at Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), has turned up at the helm of Semrock Inc., a new startup which today plans to open a 22,000 square-foot facility in Rochester, N.Y.

Semrock will make “high quality building block components,” according to Mizrahi, who joined forces with Dr. Turan Erdogan, a former professor at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics, to found Semrock. Mizrahi is CEO and Erdogan, CTO.

Mizrahi and Erdogan used to work together at Bell Labs. Mizrahi holds 43 patents on optical technologies and helped Ciena establish a lead in DWDM (dense wavelength-division multiplexing) by developing Ciena’s own fiber Bragg grating components. Erdogan is a whiz on fiber, waveguide devices, and materials and has more than 10 patents or patents pending.

Semrock's $15 million first round of funding comes from Bluestream Ventures, one of the VCs behind Metro-Optix Inc.. So far, Semrock has only got eight staff, but it’s ramping up recruitment efforts, according to Mizrahi.

Mizrahi declines to give any specifics about Semrock’s planned products. “There are lots more people to hire, development work to complete, and manufacturing to ramp," before going public with product plans, he says in an email message to Light Reading. “It will probably be at least a year before we can offer products for sale.”

Mizrahi takes the view that the current financial climate may play to Semrock’s advantage. “Let the big players reduce the supply, rather than flood the market, giving us time to catch up on the product development side of things,” he writes. “And let the money get tight. There has been way too much excess as it is. I believe that the professional venture capitalists still have to put their money somewhere, and that they will gravitate towards people who have a solid business plan backed up with a track record of executing.”

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com
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