Trailblazing Cork chip firm raises €9.6m


3 May 2006

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Cork-based semiconductor company Firecomms has closed a €9.6m investment deal with new and existing customers. The company develops high-speed light sources in visible range wavelengths.

Two new investors have joined the company: ACT Venture Capital of Dublin and Alps Electric North America, an important strategic investor and key customer for Firecomms. Atlantic Bridge Ventures, the company’s anchor investor since its foundation, also invested in this round and remains fully committed to Firecomms, the company said.

Firecomms’ technology provides its key customers with a competitive advantage in high-volume consumer electronics, including handheld devices, cell phones, personal computers and laptops. This same technology also is the foundation for critical solutions in the home networking and automotive markets.

Brian Long, CEO of Atlantic Bridge Ventures, commented: “We are delighted with the progress Firecomms continues to make with strategic customers, particularly in high-volume consumer and automotive markets. We believe the company’s unique optical technology combined with its experienced management team positions it for very significant growth in the next few years.”

The company’s photonics communications products are revolutionising the consumer electronics market by using visible light to enable high-speed optical data transmission and capture.

“Firecomms’ revolutionary semiconductor light sources open a wide spectrum of applications in which Alps has significant interest,” said Steve Runnion, CEO of Alps Electric North America.

With a market presence in Europe, Japan and the US, Firecomms leads the development of devices to drive Plastic Optical Fibre, a low-cost optical alternative to copper cabling in a wide range of applications.

The €9.6m investment will enable Firecomms to increase production of its proprietary semiconductor VCSEL devices, and of the company’s newly released fibre optic devices, which include high-speed fibre optic transceivers used in consumer devices and networks and an automotive-grade fibre optic transceiver for in-car infotainment systems.

The funding also will support the expansion of Firecomms’ product line, sales and marketing fulfilment and support activities throughout its markets.

“This additional funding and new investors will enable us to take advantage of many high-revenue opportunities in the giant consumer electronics and automotive markets,” said Firecomms CEO Declan O’Mahoney.

By John Kennedy