Photonics company raises US$4.5m


11 Feb 2003

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Eblana Photonics has secured a US$4.5m investment in a ‘Series B’ fundraising led by London firm TLCom Partners.

The fundraising brings to US$7.75m the total funds raised by the firm since its establishment in 2000. Existing investors ACT Venture Capital and Enterprise Ireland also participated in the latest fundraising.

Eblana develops advanced laser products for broadband access communications. The company was set up to commercialise technology developed in a photonics research programme involving Trinity College Dublin, the National Microelectronics Research Centre and Enterprise Ireland.

Lasers are being increasingly used in optical communications systems to deliver data transmissions at higher bandwidth over longer distances than traditional copper-based communications systems. Optical communications over fibre cabling are considered vital in delivering broadband communications to businesses and consumers.

The investment in Eblana is the first Irish investment by TLCom Partners. TLCom’s general manager, Colin Watts, says: “TLCom sees the technology and products being developed by Eblana as key enablers to the emerging optical broadband markets, which will drive the next generation of residential telecommunications services.” TLCom has offices in Europe and Silicon Valley, has a strategic co-investment agreement with Morgan Stanley and operates a fund worth €185m.

Eblana Photonics’ CEO, James O’Gorman, explains: “Eblana’s technology uniquely allows outsourced production of high performance laser components to contract manufacturers, thereby meeting that market’s growing demand for components delivered in high volume, at affordable prices and at the high-quality levels demanded by the industry. Our technologies allow a laser company to exploit for the first time, established microelectronics manufacturing models to better deliver value and superior products to its customers.”

Photonics, as with biotech and nanotechnology, was one of the key opportunity sectors identified by Enterprise Ireland in its end-of-year report earlier this year.

By John Kennedy