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Optical components

Is Xponent Xpiring?

Optical startup Xponent Photonics Inc. is giving up as an independent company and is actively searching for a buyer, Light Reading has learned.

The situation is startling, considering Xponent, which specializes in FTTx devices, announced a sizeable funding round in March. (See Xponent raises $23M.)

But that money -- some of which actually arrived in 2006 -- evaporated as Xponent underwent an aggressive Xpansion.

The results were less than Xcellent.

"What happened was a combination of us working on a big ramp, on the one hand, and very aggressive industry pricing on the other hand," says Jay Abbe, an external director and former JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) president who is currently serving as Xponent's CEO.

Founding CEO Jeffrey Rittichier remains chairman of the company.

Xponent's Website was active as of Friday but now reads, "This account has been suspended."

While Xponent has slimmed down, it's still got more than 20 employees (compared with about 50 four years ago). The remaining team includes technology experts as well as sales and marketing. "We want to be able to join forces with another company as a business, not just a technology," Abbe says.

But given that Xponent's technology is still maturing, the situation after its ramp-up "led us to conclude that more resources than were available from our investment group were called for," Abbe says.

Investors include American River Ventures (Xponent's newest investor, as of March), El Dorado Ventures , Hoya Corp. , U.S. Venture Partners , and Walden International Investment Group , all of which hold seats on the company's board. Arcturus Capital and Samsung Venture Investment Corp. were also investors.

Xponent sells FTTx devices, including diplexers and triplexers. But the company's forte was its manufacturing processes.

Founded in 2000 by some ex-Ortel cohorts, Xponent was one of many companies trying to streamline optics manufacturing by avoiding active alignment, a time-consuming manual step that's needed for building transceivers and other devices. Instead, Xponent developed a more automated alternative that could use passive alignment. (See Xposing Xponent Photonics, Xponent Cuts Packaging Xpenses, and Xponent Wraps Up $18M.)

Xponent's methods also allow components to be built in packages that aren't hermetically sealed, Abbe says, and that would be another way of potentially saving costs.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading


Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Optical Expo 2007, a conference and exhibition that will explore critical issues facing the optical networking industry. To be staged in Dallas, October 2 & 3, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.


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