Polatis gets cash infusion

JUNE 2, 2009 -- The company raises $8M in VC funding; new chief executive officer Gerald Wesel and telecom industry veteran Niel Ransom join the board.

JUNE 2, 2009 -- Optical switch supplier Polatis Inc. (search Lightwave for Polatis) has raised $8 million in venture capital, funded by existing investors 3i Ventures, Alta-Berkeley Ventures, DFJ Esprit, Flagship Ventures, Gainesborough & Peponi Investments, JK&B Partners, and Massachusetts Technology Development Corp. With the financing, Polatis' new president and chief executive officer Gerald Wesel and senior advisor Niel Ransom have joined the board of birectors, further strengthening the executive management team following the appointments of sales veteran James Miller as vice president of dales and Martin Stephenson as chief financial officer last year.

"We very much appreciate our investors' strong support," says Gerald Wesel, who was named chief executive in January 2009. "There is increasing demand for all-optical products in the markets we serve. The investment enables us to create further demand for our existing products by expanding worldwide channel partners, and to accelerate the development of solutions that scale to the largest deployments while maintaining superior performance and reliability characteristics."

The shift from copper to fiber networks in many areas of enterprise and telecom access networks enables the deployment of all-optical switching technology. Polatis's all-optical products operate at the transport layer of fiber networks, providing the foundation for switching massive amounts of data traffic. The company develops and manufactures all-optical switches that scale to large networks in telecommunications, data center, government and defense, and test and measurement markets.

"One of the brightest spots and fastest growing areas of the telecom equipment market is and has been optical equipment," says Jennifer Pigg, vice president at market research firm Yankee Group (search Lightwave for Yankee Group). "Perhaps this market has been obscured by industry fixation on cloud -- but whatever the reason, service providers are realizing that the days of SONET/SDH are numbered and now is the time to start investigating and investing in next-generation infrastructure that will meet the needs of the converged quadruple-play networks, including the mobile network traffic that Yankee Group sees increasing at an astounding CAGR of 140% through 2012."

New board member Niel Ransom, a veteran of the telecom market, has served strategic technical and architectural roles at Bell Laboratories and Bell South, and most recently held the position of chief technology officer at Alcatel. He is an advisor to service providers and equipment providers and sits on the boards of several private technology companies.

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