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Two optical net startups rake in funding

Tue, 09/11/2007 - 8:47am
Brian Santo

Two optical networking startups have attracted a total of $57 million in financing. Matisse Networks, which specializes in optical burst switching, nailed down $45 million in its series C round, while BroadLight, a supplier of semiconductors and software for GPON networks, pulled in $12 million in its Series E funding.

Matisse Networks plans to use the money it collected to expand the sales, marketing and development of its EtherBurst optical switch. 

The lead in the round was Merrill Lynch PCG, which invested $35M. Merrill Lynch was joined by all previous investors in Matisse: Menlo Ventures, Monitor Ventures, Walden International and Woodside Fund. To date, Matisse said it has raised a total of $80 million.

Matisse is developing its switch in anticipation of rising bandwidth demands from IPTV and increasing demand for Ethernet data services, which Matisse said are likely to overwhelm the worldwide installed base of over 400,000 synchronous optical network and synchronous digital hierarchy (SONET/SDH) optical rings.

For IP and Ethernet transport, SONET/SDH costs far more to deploy and maintain than newer Ethernet over wave division multiplexing (WDM) solutions like Matisse Networks’ EtherBurst optical switch, the company said.

Matisse Networks also announced having hired several executives: Doug Stewart, vice president of sales for North America Europe, Middle East; Shigeru Ota, vice president sales for Asia Pacific; and Gouri Shankar, head of the Matisse Networks design center in Hyderabad, India.

BroadLight, meanwhile, closed a $12 million series E financing round led by Benchmark Capital.

Other investors include Azure Capital Partners, Broadcom, Cipio Partners, Delta Ventures, Israel Seed Partners, Motorola Ventures, Star Ventures and Tellabs.

“We believe BroadLight has enormous opportunity in the growing GPON fiber market,” said Arad Naveh, general partner at Benchmark Capital Israel. “The company has clearly demonstrated its ability to execute with the development of the widely accepted first-generation GPON ONT SoC and 4-port OLT ASIC product lines. We anticipate the same time-to-market delivery and world-class silicon integration with its upcoming Residential Gateway product line.”

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