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'New components lead the way'

17 Jun 2002

Venture capitalist tells delegates at Photonics West which technologies will turn around the telecoms slump.

George Ugras of the US-based venture capitalist Adams Management Capital told delegates at Photonics West today how he thinks the telecoms industry will survive the current market conditions.

"New components have led the way in the past and they will in the future," he said.

In particular, he mentioned tunable lasers, VCSELs, photonic crystals and all-optical switching. Integrated photonics, including both discrete component integration and monolithic integration, will also be key, says Ugras.

"The latest lasers could take edge-emitters out of business, which would be good," he said. "However, photonic crystals still need low insertion losses and lower costs for commercialization."

Ugras warns however that start-ups that are targeting the telecoms market face even tougher times than last year. Investment in these start-ups has dropped from an all-time high of USD 6 billion in quarter three of last year to current levels of only USD 1 to 2 billion.

"Between two and three thousand companies need to get financing in the next couple of years but many will not," he said.

But despite today's economic adversity, Ugras is optimisitc about the future of optics start-ups looking to target the telecoms market. "There is no good or bad time to start a company," he said. "Entrepreneurship will continue to thrive."

He believes that if optics start-ups can provide customers with non-disruptive technologies and build a company on less than USD 30 million, then they will beat the economy blues.

Rebecca Pool is news editor on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe.

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