Huber's OCG on Ice
Spirtos will stay on the board of OCG. But his departure leaves many questions about the VC outfit that focused on optical components technology -- the kind of startups that got hit hardest in the telecom downturn.
OCG did not respond to a request for comment on this story. But, according to Andy Backman, Corvis's VP of investor and public relations, OCG "is still functioning but is not making any new investments." The firm still maintains a few fulltime employees, who serve on startup boards and work to keep OCG's portfolio companies flush with cash.
It is not a shock that OCG is dormant; the firm has been quiet for a few months. The most recent transactions announced by OCG happened early in 2003. It contributed to RBN Inc.'s $11 million Series C funding, announced in January 2003, and it helped two of its portfolio companies -- Codeon and Quantum Photonics -- combine to form Covega Corp.
When it started in March 2000, OCG focused on funding optical networking startups, several of which shared the distinction of being part-owned by David Huber and being suppliers to Corvis (see A Survey of the Corvis Food Chain and Corvis Keeps Gratings in the Family). Later, the firm backed some systems companies that weren't directly in the Corvis/Huber fun factory, including RBN and Hyperchip Inc.
Spirtos is a longtime member of Huber's inner circle. He managed another Huber concern -- HRLD Venture Partners -- from October 1998 to May 2000.
Huber has made a habit of surrounding himself with folks he knows well. Corvis's chief financial officer, Lynn Anderson, used to serve as OCG's CFO. Corvis senior VP, Kim Larsen, is Huber's brother-in-law. And Corvis president, Jim Bannantine, is the former CEO of Dorsal Networks, a company Corvis bought for more than $90 million. Dorsal's two largest shareholders when it was acquired were David Huber and OCG (see Corvis Dorsal Deal: A Huber Spin-In?).
Cozy little family, eh?
These days, the Huber empire is focused on a different game (see The David Huber Game). It now operates an optical network -- Corvis subsidiary Broadwing Communications LLC -- rather than building gear for service providers. With a market capitalization of more than $1 billion, more than $300 million in cash and investments, and an M&A guy onboard, the are some good indications that the company will be looking at some acquisitions.
Corvis will announce its fourth quarter and year-end 2003 earnings on Feb. 12.
— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading