5 March 2012

Luxtera raises $21.7m; board gains ex-Broadcom executive

Fabless silicon CMOS photonics firm Luxtera of Carlsbad, CA, USA has closed a $21.7m C-round of growth capital financing to support design-win opportunities and market adoption of silicon CMOS photonics. Participants include existing investors NEA (New Enterprise Associates), August Capital, Sevin Rosen Funds, and Lux Capital, as well as new investor Tokyo Electron, plus personal investment from someone described as “an industry titan”.

Joining Luxtera’s board of directors is Martin Colombatto, who was most recently CEO & president of San Diego-based ultra-wide-band (UWB)/wireless USB firm Staccato Communications. But previously Colombatto was VP & general manager of Broadcom’s Networking business unit, where he established and managed a business that generated more than $400m in revenue over a four year period, and led the acquisition of five firms that were integrated into the business. Colombatto is also currently involved with several semiconductor start-ups.

Luxtera adds three former Broadcom executives

In early February, to advance its focus on high-volume optical applications Luxtera added three new former Broadcom executives to its management team: VP of engineering Joseph Balardeta; VP of sales Ron Horan; and VP of marketing Chris Bergey.

Most recently a founder of Uplay LLC (acquired by Callaway Golf), Balardeta has previously held engineering management roles at Broadcom. He was also VP of engineering at Applied Micro Circuits Corp (AMCC).

Bergey also joins from Broadcom, where he was most recently VP of the Mobile and Wireless Group and, during nine years with the firm, gained experience with starting and managing product lines and marketing organizations. Previously, he worked for Multilink Technology Corp and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

Horan was most recently senior director and global account manager for Broadcom. Previously, he managed the platform engineering team at AMD. Prior to that, he was a senior design engineer with Compaq Computer’s workstation team, where he was awarded 16 patents.

“We are now rapidly approaching the inflection point where silicon photonics will often be the only viable solution to support the cost, size, density and reliability required by leading manufacturers of switches and servers,” comments Bergey.

“I have personally worked with Joseph, Chris and Ron and I am confident they will make significant contributions towards the opportunity we see ahead in the optical applications market,” says president & CEO Greg Young.

Luxtera ships millionth silicon CMOS photonics-enabled 10Gbit channel

In late February, Luxtera announced that it has shipped its 1 millionth 10Gbit channel, validating the growing demand for silicon photonics in mission-critical data-centers and computer clusters, as well as reinforcing the firm’s ability to meet high-performance computing (HPC) needs on a larger scale. Luxtera says that it further signifies the emergence of silicon photonics as the next generation of interconnects, with 10 Petabits of transceiver bandwidth shipped.

Founded in 2001, Luxtera claims to be the only provider of silicon photonics shipping in significant commercial volume. The firm says that the technology continues to be a driving force that supports growing bandwidth demands of equipment in HPC, next-generation data-centers and cloud computing, offering a reliable, low cost yet high performance solution compared with existing technologies such as vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs). Also, adds Luxtera, silicon photonics continues to be the focus of many research labs and universities, most notably IBM and Intel, and has recently provided the enabling building block in the race to build computers on an exascale (1018 byte) level.

“Silicon CMOS photonics can no longer be characterized as the technology of the future, it appears it is ready to be front and center as the technology of today,” says Brad Smith, VP & industry analyst at LightCounting.com, which specializes in high-speed interconnect market research. “This milestone was achieved in a market that is cost sensitive, and the competing solution was often a VCSEL-based cable,” he adds.

“Shipping 10 Petabits of silicon CMOS photonics links is the culmination of a vision that the founders and investors of Luxtera dreamed of almost 11 years ago,” says Bergey. “This milestone is only the tipping point of what we see ahead in the opportunities for silicon photonics,” he adds. “We plan to leverage our significant silicon photonics IP portfolio and expertise into a much larger scale going forward.”

“Silicon CMOS photonics has transitioned from the exotic research labs of Intel and IBM to become a mainstream technology,” says Young. “With over 1 million 10Gb channels shipped and numerous opportunities to ship tens of millions of units, we have established ourselves as the leader in this important field,” he adds.

Tags: Luxtera Silicon photonics

Visit: www.luxtera.com

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