A Kaiam Strategic Partner: Google?

September, 2014

Concerning the recent $35 million announcement by Kaiam of equity funding, our intelligence indicates that one of the two strategic partners is Google. We also think the other partner is Microsoft. In addition, we believe that the total valuation is two to three times revenue -- so over $70 million. While Kaiam has clever packaging, we are not convinced that it has the lowest cost in the market. Nevertheless, the supplier has benefited from getting out there early in the data center/datacom space. It is likely that it owns the 10x10 business in that sector. Unquestionably, signs of two giant enterprise firm funding Kaiam may be about ensuring direct access to unique 100G technology. Perhaps it is the vendor’s Hybrid Mixer PLC – and/or maybe something else that could possibly be on the drawing board that involves a coherent, serial 100G device. More practically speaking, there is a...

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InnoLight IPO: Google's Vertical Integration Without a Mess

June, 2015

We have been pondering the question of what happens when emerging optical component vendors, being financed by mega-data center operators to achieve the lowest cost possible, need more money, especially for new research and development purposes. The best answer, which is starting to become self-evident, is for the componentry company to go public, because with the undeniable cachet of a Google-backed firm (in the case of InnoLight Technology, Google Capital), the highest valuation can likely be achieved. The perceived worth of these newcomers in being purchased by a larger competitor in this presently unattractive business would apt to be much lower as there would probably be a considerably higher level of scrutiny given to matters like the potential to sell their devices to other than their “captive” buyers. For Google and other prominent enterprises, the IPO route for these firms...

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Inphi a Threat to InnoLight or Kaiam?

August, 2015

Once again, we have a natural affinity for the proposition of taking advantage of electronics, such as higher order modulation, to better enable optics by squeezing more data onto a single wavelength. However, by the time, Inphi is ready to ramp up production fully on its four-level pulse amplitude modulation devices, both InnoLight Technology and Kaiam will have sold a large quantity of their optical-centric componentry to both hyperscale Data Center (DC) operators as well as to OEM providers. Hopefully, within this time, Kaiam will have joined its direct competitor in filing for an IPO (assuming a certain amount of stabilization in the stock market) by stressing the former, sexier types of customers, “Google Plus,” forgive the pun. So, in effect, to whatever extent Inphi has success with PAM-4, for all intents and purposes, it will perhaps indefinitely, likely be more of a...

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Silicon Photonics’ Shift: Still Cost/Loss Issues

March, 2016

The lead article in the September 1969 issue of the Bell System Technical Journal was written by Stewart E. Miller, entitled “Integrated Optics: An Introduction,” which framed “a proposal for a miniature laser beam circuitry" along with the promise of “economy should ultimately result.” Close to a half of a century later, even with a severe bastardization of the original definition in recent times, as the electronics have been excluded from the chip (even Luxtera had to abandon its vision of “CMOS photonics” at 100-gig), challenges remain with expensive cost along with poor performance. While perhaps the best way to characterize Silicon Photonics (SP) today is the use of a continuous wave light source and a modulator in Si, as opposed to integrated optics (passive AWGs or PLCs), the concept of light going into a waveguide with SP, and pulling it out, results in an...

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