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Gemfire Burning?Gemfire Burning?

Apparently, $37M wasn't enough

Craig Matsumoto

November 6, 2008

2 Min Read
Gemfire Burning?

7:20 PM -- We're hearing from multiple sources that Gemfire Corp. is in trouble. The optical components hopeful definitely appears to have shut down its Livingston, Scotland, facility, according to the Daily News and this BBC report.

Some tipsters have suggested Gemfire is dead for good, but one source has heard it's a temporary shutdown, with operations halted for two weeks while Gemfire wraps up negotiations with potential buyers.

CEO Rick Tompane didn't immediately return a call requesting comment.

What makes this surprising is that Gemfire raised some substantial funding last year. (See Gemfire Lights Up $37M.) But with at least 250 employees -- that was the count in Livingston, the reports say -- its burn rate isn't exactly skimpy.

If the closure theory is correct, it could be a byproduct of the economy. It's possible that even with customers and orders in hand -- the Livingston factory was apparently well booked up -- the investors simply decided to call it quits and take back the remaining cash. That's idle speculation, of course, at which your humble correspondent excels.

Livingston, meanwhile, seems none to happy about the way things were handled. Member of Parliament Jim Devine is giving out quotes like this one, from the BBC report: "I spoke to the chief executive and he happily told me that UK laws were a lot looser than in America and their advice from their QC was tell the staff they have to go."

The Daily News adds a personal touch from a supervisor: "It is heartbreaking. People were gobsmacked and a lot of the girls were breaking down and crying."

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Craig Matsumoto

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Yes, THAT Craig Matsumoto – who used to be at Light Reading from 2002 until 2013 and then went away and did other stuff and now HE'S BACK! As Editor-in-Chief. Go Craig!!

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