Optical components

Xponent Wraps Up $18M

Components startup Xponent Photonics Inc. has raised $18 million in a Series C funding round from its existing investors, the company said today (see Xponent Raises $18M).

Xponent was founded in 2000 to develop ring-resonant modulators, which would extract wavelengths from a WDM stream. As the Internet bubble collapsed, the company changed its focus.

Now it concentrates on adding surface-mount photonic chipsets to other vendors' lasers and detectors. To wit, the company has developed a two-chip manufacturing process that removes the painstaking, manual laser alignment that is normally required in producing photonic components (see Xponent Cuts Packaging Xpenses).

[Ed. note: Man, this is some seriously dry stuff. Can't we just have more funny links or something?"

The 50-person startup is shipping samples of its chips right now. A couple of potential customers are running the chips through qualifications that could be completed by year's end, the company says -- a fact that was likely enticing to investors.

This most recent investment round included only existing investors: El Dorado Ventures, Morgenthaler, U.S. Venture Partners, and Walden International Investment Group.

The venture capital firms didn't prod Xponent to bring a new investor into the game, which is unusual these days, given the abundance of wash-out rounds and other indicators of plummeting valuations. Their decision stemmed from the structure of the company's $16 million Round B, which closed in September 2001 with both Walden and Morgenthaler joining in. Walden was the lead investor then, but Morgenthaler and Walden both wanted a bigger slice of the company than they nabbed early on. "Everybody left the 'B' round a little bit hungry," says Jeff Rittichier, Xponent CEO.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading
BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 11:19:49 PM
re: Xponent Wraps Up $18M t would be almost impossible to survive as as an independent business entity. The collapse of the company is eminentas surface-mount photonic chipsets business is very limited.

It is not hard to explain why VCs would waste investors money on this company.
whyiswhy 12/4/2012 | 11:19:44 PM
re: Xponent Wraps Up $18M Oooh wow, a vee-groove? Who would have thought of such a novel concept?

Agree with LR...this is a BIG yawn.

Commodity products made in the USofA?

Metoo, with negative profit.

VCs is stuuuuupid!

Go Xponent!

Dr.Q 12/4/2012 | 11:19:42 PM
re: Xponent Wraps Up $18M BobbyMax, and anyone else familiar with the Xponent technology,

I visited the Xponent booth at OFC and read their rah-rah white papers on the web, so have heard the Xponent story about why the technology is good -- which basically boils down to, 'We can do it a WHOLE LOT cheaper than conventional components for the same performance.'

What is your assessment of their technology, its ability perform, and their ability to manufacture it?

- Dr. Q
ny2wn 12/4/2012 | 11:19:39 PM
re: Xponent Wraps Up $18M
Disclaimer: I know no one at Xponent and have
no affiliation with them, but I have taken a
close look on the material they have posted
on their web site.
Their hybrid integration scheme may rely on
something called "adiabatic tapered couplers".
Some patent applications filed by some folks
associated with Xponent refer to this
technology. Basically, with adiabatic couplers,
light can be efficiently coupled from a
waveguide on one chip to a waveguide on another
chip with very large alignment tolerances.
Some apparent issues are:
1) Can both excellent electrical and optical
contact be made between the flipped chips and
the substrate chip at high yield?
2) What is the required waveguide profile for
the adiabatic coupler and what is the yield
of that fabrication process?
3) Their white papers show passive waveguides
being regrown and butt-coupled to etched
facet lasers. This sort of thing is still
considered by many to be a research project;
what real progress have they made on it?

Perhaps they convinced their VC's they have
solved these and other challenges.

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