CALIENT Technologies raises $19.4 million for optical switching for enterprise, cloud computing markets

Oct. 25, 2011
CALIENT Technologies, Inc.’s plans to evolve into new markets beyond those its current FiberConnect 320X photonic switch can support has received a financial boost of $19.4 million in venture financing. The company plans to use the capital to fund final development and marketing of a new photonic switch offering aimed at enterprise, cloud computing, and data center markets, as well as a line of optical switching subsystems.

CALIENT Technologies, Inc.’s plans to evolve into new markets beyond those its current FiberConnect 320X photonic switch can support has received a financial boost of $19.4 million in venture financing. The company plans to use the capital to fund final development and marketing of a new photonic switch offering aimed at enterprise, cloud computing, and data center markets, as well as a line of optical switching subsystems.

The new funding came from both new and existing internal investors, according to CALIENT Chairman and CEO Atiq Raza. The new investors were led by Institutional Investment Partners; the internal funding included a contribution from Raza himself.

Raza says the company has its eye on the burgeoning requirement for large-scale, rapid, and data-rate and protocol agnostic switching. CALIENT plans to leverage its expertise in 3-D MEMS technology to develop a new photonic switch line that will include 320x320 capabilities. The new switches will provide an 80% reduction in cost versus comparable current IP switches as well as an order-of-magnitude reduction in power consumption, according to Raza. CALIENT will unveil the new switches sometime in the first half of 2012, he adds.

The platform family will feature a modular construction that takes advantage of CALIENT advances in the electronics, optics, and monitoring arenas. The company will offer subsystems based on the same technologies used in the new product family. The company began discussing such an expansion of its product line last year (see “Calient adds 3D MEMS module, ‘white box’ efforts to product offers”); the subsystems that will make their debut next year will be the first fruits of that strategy.

Raza expects the new line to triple revenues next year from this year’s expected $5.5 million. Should the new line take off as hoped, he said it is likely he would return to the capital markets for the working capital necessary to keep up with the demand.

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