The CompanyBinOptics Corporation is a privately held high tech start up company located in Cornell’s Business and Technology Park in Ithaca, NY. Bin Optics, the company, was based on key technological inventions made at Cornell University. CEO and co-founder, Alex Behfar, worked on the proprietary technology under Professor Valentine during his student tenure at Cornell, while earning his PhD in Electrical Engineering. In November 2000 CEO, Alex Behfar and President, Darius Forghani founded Bin Optics. Bin Optics received its first round of venture capital funding in January 2001 for an undisclosed amount. Currently, Bin Optics houses over twenty employees and they hope to grow to forty by the end of the fiscal year.
Bin Optics is now in its fourth year of operation and will amassed $2 million in annual revenue. So what does Bin Optics produce? Bin Optics designs, develops, and manufactures monolithic ally integrated optoelectronic components based on the proprietary technology developed at Cornell University. It also produces integrated photonic components, which include its lasers. These components can be integrated into indium phosphide and other semiconductor materials, which give Bin Optics a competitive advantage. This unique platform allows the company to meet commercial requirements with higher reproducibility, more elasticity for product innovation, considerably lower costs, and higher performance than alternative processes. Bin Optics’ products address high growth data com applications, parallel optical interconnects, PON and CWDM (Coarse Wave Division Multiplexing), as well as advanced non-telecom applications.
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Its products are sold to technology companies in the tell-communications and data-communications industry. Bin Optics does not disclose its customer list but two of its customers are Agilent Technologies and Cisco Systems. What does this mean? In the simplest way, Bin Optics produces lasers. These tiny lasers, some the size of a grain of salt, transfer enormous amounts of information to another source immediately. The integrated laser chips are the key part of optical transceivers and transponders. Bin Optics’ edge-emitting laser consists of a two-inch wafer that has 20, 000 lasers on it.
Strategic InvestorsBinOptics success can be measured by the strength of its strategic investors. These investors facilitate Bin Optics path to success and its ability to raise equity. After receiving its initial first round of funding in January 2001 Bin Optics was able to receive additional venture capital funding in May 2002, March 2003, and February 2005. The strategic investors include: Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Cayuga Venture Fund II, FA Technology Ventures, and Arrow Path Venture Capital and Stanford University. Draper Fisher Jurvetson is a leading venture capital firm out of Silicon Valley, CA.
It has a global network of affiliated funds with $3 billion in capital commitments. Cayuga Venture Fund (CVF) II is located in Ithaca, NY. CVF has many connections with Cornell University and prides itself on its management team. FA Technology Ventures is a venture capital firm located in Albany, NY and Boston, MA.
Arrow Path Venture Capital is a venture capital firm located in Redwood Shores, CA. All four of these investors participated in Bin Optics most recent round of funding. This $10 million Series B round of financing took place in February 2005. Alan Morrow Our group had the pleasure of speaking with Alan Morrow from Bin Optics. Alan joined Bin Optics in early 2003 and is the Vice President of Technology Development. He was very helpful in informing us about Bin Optics and explaining the complex technology.
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Alan is a very qualified individual who will bring added value to Bin Optics. He has over 25 years of experience in the research, development, and manufacturing of products for optical communications applications. Alan was formerly the Director of Corning Incorporated’s Photonic Technologies Division. Alan earned his M. S. and B.
S. degrees in Material Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Currently, Alan has been awarded nine US patents. His responsibilities at Bin Optics include government contracts, packaging, reliability assessment, and quality systems. Products The company’s initial products are integrated laser chips. These laser chips are marketed and sold to transceiver and transponder manufacturers.
Bin Optics core competency is that it can produce these lasers with exceptional price-performance advantages. Bin Optics also provides custom integrated micro photonic solutions for optical systems and subsystems. These solutions deliver substantial cost and power reductions by replacing several discrete components with one integrated solution. The company’s proprietary technology and manufacturing processes enable a high level of functional integration, high device performance, and low device cost. Its unique proprietary technology platform allows for quick development and cost-effective manufacturing for both low- and high-volume products. Bin Optics product line includes: directly modulated fairy-perot lasers, laser arrays, integrated chips for passive optical networks (PON), ring lasers, and custom integrated chips.
ConclusionBinOptics realized that they were in the wrong market and strategically switched markets. Bin Optics seeks government contracts and customers that will tell them what they need. This will allow Bin Optics to purchase better tools and integrate into more complicated products. The Overall capabilities of the company will improve and grow alongside of it. Bin Optics management realized that they had to keep playing around with the technology until they found the right product. Alan stated, “It is really hard to stop and change directions once you ” ve invested money and time into it.” You need to have what people need today, that is expensive, and produce it cheap ” You have to change based on market realities.”.
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