Optical burst switch developer Intune Networks in receivership

Irish optical transport and switching technology developer Intune Networks last month entered receivership, Ireland’s version of bankruptcy proceedings, according to local reports (such as this from Finfacts Ireland and this one from the Irish Times). Investors in the company, whose Verisma iVX8000 combination optical burst switch/optical transport system at one time seemed to be making headway with a pair of Tier 1 carriers, appear to have hopes of selling it. However, the firm currently doesn’t have the money to pay severance to workers it laid off last fall, the reports state.

Irish optical transport and switching technology developer Intune Networks last month entered receivership, Ireland’s version of bankruptcy proceedings, according to local reports (such as this from Finfacts Ireland and this one from the Irish Times). Investors in the company, whose Verisma iVX8000 combination optical burst switch/optical transport system at one time seemed to be making headway with a pair of Tier 1 carriers, appear to have hopes of selling it. However, the firm currently doesn’t have the money to pay severance to workers it laid off last fall, the media reports state.

Intune Networks was formed in Dublin in 1999 by John Dunne, currently CTO, and Tom Farrell, currently senior vice president, product development. Early in its history the company focused on laser technology development (see “Intune expands its AltoWave range of laser products” and “Intune launches 'first' electronically tunable swept source,” for example). Upon developing a technology for rapidly switching lasers, the company moved into packet transport based on optical burst switching. The Verisma iVX8000 was designed to support distributed optical burst switching and optical transport simultaneously. Dunne described the system and its underlying technology to Lightwave in 2011 (see “Intune Networks readies carrier-class optical packet switching and transport”). At the time, Dunne said that in addition to supplying the system for the Irish Government’s Exemplar program, the company also had a Tier 1 customer in Europe and another in North America.

Apparently those opportunities didn’t pan out (although the company did get name checked by Bono), no doubt much to the chagrin of the company’s investors. These include Balderton Capital, Spark Capital, Amadeus Capital, Kernel Capital, International Investment and Underwriting, Novusmodus LLP, Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, Dartbridge Holdings, and angel investors Chris McHugh and Leonard Donnelly. Intune Networks enjoyed several funding rounds, including €17.5 million ($23.9 million) in late 2011 that the company says brought its total funding over a five-year period to more than €60 million ($82.1 million; see, for example, “Intune Networks receives $17.75 million in funding” from 2007). Finfacts Ireland reports that the company is currently running at a deficit of €10 million ($13.7 million).

What happens next will depend in large part on Brian McEnery, an insolvency partner from BDO's Dublin office who will administer the receivership. Finfacts Ireland states McEnery is looking for bridge funding from the existing investors to keep the company’s pulse going while he seeks a buyer.

For more information on high-speed transmission systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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