Optical Funding Lives!

The numbers aren't huge, but money is still finding its way to optical component plays.

Laser vendor T-Networks Inc. this week announced it scored $5.75 million in a Series C round, bringing its funding total to $60 million. The round was led by TL Ventures and supplemented by Greylock Partners, Sequoia Capital, and U.S. Venture Partners (see T-Networks Scores $5.75M).

Separately, Redfern Integrated Optics (RIO) picked up a $4.2 million round in November that was never announced, CEO Radu Barson told Light Reading this week. Participants in the latest round were all prior investors: Advent International, Tallwood Venture Capital, Australian firm TMT Ventures.

Both companies had to shift their business models as the downturn hit. T-Networks was intended to be part of the 40-Gbit/s revolution -- you know, the one that still hasn't quite happened -- and survived by downshifting into 10-Gbit/s business. It's been a steady enough gig to convince investors to bring in more cash.

"This round of financing is based on the fact that, operationally and technologically, we've been executing," says David Huff, T-Networks vice president of marketing.

Likewise, RIO emerged in 2001 with hopes of creating monolithically integrated parts on silicon wafers. These would have targeted the ultra-long-haul market, but as that dried up, RIO set its sights on 40- and 80-km DWDM to create low-cost modules.

The company is shipping beta samples of its device, which combines a relatively cheap external-cavity laser with an even cheaper wavelength selector made of fiber Bragg gratings.

Other optical funding announcements from this young year include:

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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