ClariPhy’s latest funding round includes Nokia Siemens Networks

Communications IC developer ClariPhy Communications has closed what CEO Paul Voois told Lightwave is hopefully its last round of funding. The new round, worth $14 million, included investment from existing venture supporters as well as a new strategic partner, Nokia Siemens Networks.

Communications IC developer ClariPhy Communications has closed what CEO Paul Voois told Lightwave is hopefully its last round of funding. The new round, worth $14 million, included investment from all existing venture supporters as well as a new strategic partner, Nokia Siemens Networks. While ClariPhy Communications initially made its mark in 10-Gbps devices that leverage Maximum Likelihood Sequence Estimation electronic dispersion compensation, it’s the company’s more recent work in integrated CMOS devices for coherent receiver applications that caught Nokia Siemens Networks’ attention.

This is the second consecutive round in which ClariPhy found a strategic partner interested in funding work towards coherent receiver ICs. In its last round, ClariPhy attracted funding from Oclaro, with an eye towards coherent-enabled 100-Gbps designs (see “Oclaro allies with ClariPhy for 100G coherent”). ClariPhy was already working on 40-Gbps coherent silicon for Mintera, which Oclaro purchased last year (see “Oclaro acquires Mintera with 40, 100 Gbps in mind”).

Voois told Lightwave in an interview last week that the investment from Nokia Siemens Networks would not affect his company’s relationship with Oclaro. The 40-Gbps IC that was the subject of ClariPhy’s relationship with Mintera is now sampling; Voois declined to say whether anyone besides Oclaro had received the devices.

Nor would Voois describe exactly what Nokia Siemens Networks would get for its investment, saying that the European systems house is “investing in our product roadmap.” However, Voois acknowledged that Nokia Siemens Networks had been using 40-Gbps coherent technology from CoreOptics prior to that company’s purchase by Cisco, a deal that observers had suspected would lead companies such as Nokia Siemens Networks to seek new suppliers.

In addition to the existing 40-Gbps capabilities, sources at Nokia Siemens Networks told Lightwave at OFC/NFOEC this past March that they expected the company to have 100-Gbps capabilities on its transport platforms in customer trials this summer. So unless ClariPhy has 100-Gbps devices already developed, the fruits of the new partnership likely will not be seen until future iterations of Nokia Siemens Networks' 100-Gbps offerings.

“The rapid processing of digital signals is crucial in high-capacity optical networks,” Vesa Tykkyläinen, head of the optical networks business line at Nokia Siemens Networks, was quoted as saying in a release the company issued this morning. “We are investing in a company that is innovative and a forerunner of the coherent chip technology with 40-nm CMOS for 40G. ClariPhy will also be among the firsts to use 28-nm CMOS for 100G, high-gain and low-latency soft-decision forward error correction, and many other innovations. Together with our leading R&D, ClariPhy will enable us to be at the forefront of high performance and low power consumption next-generation optical platforms capable of 400G and beyond along with reducing equipment footprint”.

Voois says that most of the new money will go to technology development, although the company has new devices nearing the production stage. This funding round should be the last necessary before the company becomes self-sustaining, he added.

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