HiLight Semiconductor lands $20 million in Series C funding

HiLight Semiconductor says it has closed a Series C funding round with more than $20 million subscribed. Shenzhen QianHai DB Investment Management Partnership joined existing financial supporters venture capital firm Atlantic Bridge and HiLight Executive Chairman Gary Steele in the round. The company added that “a substantial number of staff” also opened their wallets. The CMOS communications semiconductor company closed Series A and B rounds in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

HiLight Semiconductor says it has closed a Series C funding round with more than $20 million subscribed. Shenzhen QianHai DB Investment Management Partnership joined existing financial supporters venture capital firm Atlantic Bridge and HiLight Executive Chairman Gary Steele in the round. The company added that “a substantial number of staff” also opened their wallets. The CMOS communications semiconductor company closed Series A and B rounds in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

HiLight plans to use the cash to enhance the PAM4 CMOS capabilities of its labs in Southampton and Bristol Laboratories as well as improve customer applications support. “HiLight have built a really strong engineering and commercial team and recently released a first batch of world-leading 10- and 25-Gbps products manufactured in advanced CMOS technology,” noted Brian Long, managing partner and co-founder of Atlantic Bridge. “We are confident this additional funding will allow the company to further scale up and become the recognized world leader in these technologies.”

The new products to which Long refers include the HLR25G0 25G CMOS transimpedance amplifier (TIA) for SFP28 and QSFP28 PIN photodiode applications. HiLight says the sibling HLR25G1 TIA for 25G APD applications will begin sampling soon. The HLR25G0 will be on display at OFC 2019 in San Diego next week, alongside reference designs for 10G applications featuring the HLC12L0 and HLC12V0. The HLC12L0 is a “combo” device for LR applications that integrates a 10G limiting amplifier receiver, 10G DML transmitter, PWM APD bias controller, an 8051 microcontroller, and on-chip non-volatile memory, as well as embedded firmware for digital diagnostic monitoring. The HLC12V0 is designed for SR needs and provides an integrated 10G limiting amplifier receiver, 10G VCSEL transmitter, an 8051 microcontroller, and non-volatile memory, also with digital diagnostic monitoring embedded firmware.

While these products target the data center, HiLight’s newest investor has its eyes on other opportunities as well. “As an investor with a strong optical communications background we are well placed to understand the challenge of CMOS IC design, but also the upside potential in any optical market with meaningful volumes – markets like 5G, Ethernet/data center, and PON infrastructure,” commented Fred Cai, partner at Shenzhen QianHai DB Investment Management Partnership. Along this last line, HiLight has received a U.S. patent for technology that automatically controls laser transmitters in fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) applications. HiLight asserts that the technology can significantly reduce the manufacturing and deployment costs of optical network units (ONUs) while improving reliability. HiLight now has five UK patents (with four more pending), three U.S. patents (with five pending), and other patents pending in both China and Japan.

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