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Motorola Leads BroadLight Funding

Posted by iTech - 2005-11-20

PON-chip vendor BroadLight Inc. may be expanding its prospects in U.S. fiber buildouts, as the company has snared Motorola Inc. as an investor.

Motorola Ventures led BroadLight's Series D funding of $10 million, announced yesterday. The company joins PON vendors Siemens AG  -- through its venture capital arm -- and Tellabs Inc. as investors in BroadLight, alongside Azure Capital Partners, Broadcom Corp. , Delta Ventures Ltd., Israel Seed Partners, and Star Ventures.

All of BroadLight's prior investors participated in the D round, says Andrew Vought, Broadlight CEO.

BroadLight's hope is that this deal paves the way for supplying GPON chips to Motorola. That would give BroadLight another customer that's among the favorites in a GPON request for proposal (RFP) jointly issued by BellSouth Corp., SBC Communications Inc. , and Verizon Communications Inc. earlier this week.

"We have no supplier relationship with Motorola today. Clearly one of the reasons this was attractive to us was that opportunity," Vought says.

It's certainly possible. BroadLight already supplies Tellabs with chips for BPON. Tellabs, in turn, supplies BPON to Verizon -- and Motorola was recently named as a second supplier in that deal.

Motorola hasn't yet settled on a GPON supplier and will be considering BroadLight, says Matthew Growney, managing director of Motorola Ventures.

"We are going to be working on a commercial relationship once BroadLight's chip tapes out," he says, adding that the chip has looked good so far in FPGA implementations.

Among privately held PON chip vendors, BroadLight's rivals are Teknovus Inc. -- which focuses on EPON for Asia and is eschewing GPON for now -- and Passave Inc., which recently filed for an IPO.

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