3rd European IEEE-LEOS Workshop on

Photonic Start-ups in the 
Post-Bubble Era

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Conference Center, “Rimini Fiera”, Rimini


Chair: Tiziana Tambosso, IEEE-LEOS Italian Chapter


organised by the Italian IEEE-LEOS Chapter

in conjunction with ECOC-IOOC 2003


Technical Committee

Tiziana Tambosso, Telecom Italia Lab, IEEE-LEOS Italian Chapter Chair

Roel Baets, Ghent University - IMEC, IEEE-LEOS Benelux Chapter

Erik Pennings, ThreeFive Photonics B.V., IEEE-LEOS Benelux Chapter

Martin Dawson, University of Strathclyde, IEEE-LEOS Scottish Chapter Chair

Silvano Donati, University of Pavia, IEEE-LEOS Region 8 Vice-President

Djan Khoe, University of Eindhoven, IEEE-LEOS President




Objective of this workshop is to discuss opportunities and strategies for start-ups in this problematic period of photonics industry. The program will consists of a number of invited speeches and a panel covering the following topics related to photonics industry: market potential in the post bubble era, strategy of survival and Company positioning for success when the market rebounds, advantages and disadvantages of start-ups when the market is in the down cycle, opportunities in the optical communication space.

The workshop is targeted at all photonics engineers and scientists with an entrepreneurial interest. There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion.


                                               SLIDES ARE DOWNLOADABLE

Workshop Programme

14.00-14.10     Tiziana Tambosso (Telecom Italia Lab, Italy)

                        Welcome and Introduction



Session I

Chair: Tiziana Tambosso (Telecom Italia Lab, Italy)


14.10-14.30     Richard Caro (RHK, USA)

Opportunities and Challenges for Communications Startups


14.30-14.50     Daniel Trepanier (Quake Technologies, Canada)

Entrepreneurial Leadership in Changing Economic Cycles


14.50-15.10     Moti Margalit (Lambda Crossing, Israel)

Tunability in Optical Networks


15.10-15.30     Mario Tamburrini (TelCon Srl, Italy)

Flexibility and Innovation in Small Enterprises


    Coffee Break


Session II

Chair: Roel Baets (Ghent University, Belgium)


15.50-16.10     Orna Berry (Gemini Israel Funds Ltd, Israel)

Key Issues in Evaluating Optical Component Technologies for the Purpose of VC Investments


16.10-16.30     Giuliano Piccinno (Bright Solutions, Italy)

Starting a Laser Company in a Difficult Market: an Italian Example


16.30-16.50     John Marsh (Intense Photonics Ltd, UK)

Intense-Spreading the Net


16.50-17.10     Alessandro Nocivelli (Luceat, Italy)

Niche Markets and Survival Strategies




Panel Discussion

Moderator: Phil Anthony (Storm Venture, USA)


Introduction: Phil Anthony

                        "Success in Photonics Requires Learning from the Past


Orna Berry (Gemini Israel Funds Ltd, Israel)

Richard Caro (RHK, USA)

Moti Margalit (Lambda Crossing, Israel)

John Marsh (Intense Photonics Ltd, UK)

Alessandro Nocivelli (Luceat, Italy)

Giuliano Piccinno (Bright Solutions, Italy)

Mario Tamburrini (TelCon Srl, Italy)

Daniel Trepanier (Quake Technologies, Canada)



Opportunities and Challenges for Communications Startups

Richard Caro



While the communications industry is still recovering from a massive speculative investment bubble, the basic driver of growth, data traffic, continues to increase at high double digit rates. The challenge facing the industry is to innovate in ways that make possible this rapid increase in carried traffic, in the face of far more modest revenue growth. This talk will outline a framework for thinking about different opportunities for startups, and will highlight some of the obstacles they face, and identify some areas of opportunity.




Richard G. Caro is the Managing Director of the Communications Components consulting practice at RHK, and leads its Innovations Competency center.

Prior to joining RHK, he held positions as President of Sirraya, a consultancy to the telecommunications and healthcare industries; CEO (founder) of Vital Insite, a venture-backed start-up company; V.P. Technology Development (CTO) of Summit Technology, a pioneer in the laser refractive surgery business; and Engineering Program Manager at Coherent. Dr. Caro has a D.Phil. from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Entrepreneurial Leadership in Changing Economic Cycles

Daniel Trepanier

(Quake Technologies, Canada)


Start-up companies can thrive in boom periods. They can even thrive in bust periods. However, a sudden change from one to the other will often kill companies. Entrepreneurs must constantly adjust their strategies and spending based on market conditions. This presentation will examine how Entrepreneurial Leadership can provide a key to success in these difficult times and examine market expansion strategies in both good and bad parts of the cycle.



Daniel Trepanier is President & CEO of Quake Technologies, Inc. in Ottawa, Canada.  He earned a BScE (Electrical) from Queen's University in Canada and an MBA from New York University.  He worked in small companies in Canada and the United States from 1990 to 1994 before joining ANADIGICS in Warren, NJ where he was last Director of Marketing for Fiber Optic ICs.  Mr. Trepanier was a founder of Quake Technologies in April 2000 and has been CEO since the company's inception.

Tunable Optical Networks:

Evolution rather than revolution

Moti Margalit

(Lambda Crossing, Israel)


The focus of optical networks has shifted away from next generation enablers such as 40G, and transparent optical networks to cost reduction and integration. Tunability, as other elements of transparent networks, has been pushed back in deployment timelines.  However tunability remains at the forefront of optical network innovation, because it addresses the critical issues facing optical networks. Tunability provides current solutions for inventory and network management while providing an evolutionary path to bandwidth provisioning, and optical-electronic back plane integration.  The talk will describe the repositioning in the industry of tunable optical components to address both short and long term system needs and applications.



Moti Margalit is a founder of Lambda Crossing, and is responsible for the company’s product and technology strategy as well as business development.

Prior to founding Lambda Crossing, Dr. Margalit was General Manager of a VC fund set up in Israel by Tomen, a leading Japanese trading company. Prior to that he was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he conducted research in optical communications devices, short pulse lasers and quantum optics. He received his PhD from the Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology.



Flexibility and innovation in small enterprises

Mario Tamburrini

(TelCon Srl, Italy)


The days of generic enthusiasm on any new proposal in the field of optical communications are over. Nowadays we are back to a more rational market where every new component and subsystem is now more carefully evaluated in terms of cost and benefits. Yet innovation is even more important for reaching the cheapest and most effective solutions. This makes the competition among small enterprises harder: on one hand sale prices -hence revenues -are down, on the other hand research and development is more demanding. A small consulting company can help those enterprises that cannot afford to hire more engineers or need qualified help for a limited time. Anyway, for such consulting company being profitable and long-lasting it is essential to have a diversified portfolio of customers. This diversification will increase the visibility and the contacts needed for ensuring new contracts, and will help ensuring a more stable revenue level.



Mario Tamburrini is vice president of TelCon srl in Italy. He received his laurea degree in electronic engineering from the University of Rome La Sapienza in 1982. He spent 18 years at Fondazione Ugo Bordoni (Rome, Italy) researching on semiconductor lasers, coherent optical transmission and nonlinear communication devices and systems. In November 2000 he left FUB to launch QPlus Networks Italia, a subsidiary of a California based start-up. In February 2002 he co-founded TelCon, a consulting company based in Rome.

Key Issues in Evaluating Optical Component Technologies for the Purpose of VC Investments

Orna Berry

(Gemini Israel Funds Ltd.)


Key issues in the wide deployment and manufacturing of optical components

Ø      High quality (low loss) light transfer and processing

Ø      Small foot print

Ø      High integration and semiconductor-like multilayered/light processing components

Ø      Standardization and reduction in variations will enable this industry to come to targets of cost and volume

Ø      Integration and manufacturing automation are key to cost reduction.

Trends in Components

•Bandwidth Still Growing

•DWDM Driving Components Growth

•Shift to All-Optical Networks

•Higher Channel Counts

•Greater Integration

•Higher Transmission Speeds

•Lower Power Consumption

•Smaller Foot-Print

•Lower Cost


Þ Demand for Smaller components with greater integration, performance, and lower cost


Packaging still accounts for 60% of Component Costs!

What do we need to improve, i.e., what merits an investment

Ø      Manufacturability: stabilize materials and methods for high functionality, steady and reproducible properties, small footprint and low cost components

Ø      Rich optical networking properties: combinatorial DWDM requirements – tunability for reconfiguration rather than inventory, high level of optical integration - low loss and high processing (e.g., OADMs, switching fabrics).

In this talk we shall project the future of optical networking and the missing elements, which will make them cost effective and widely deployed. This discussion will emphasize the promising products and technologies, which call for new and continuing investments these days.



Dr. Orna Berry is currently active in industrial and entrepreneurial activities in the Israeli Science and Technology based industries. Dr. Berry is a Venture Partner in Gemini Israel Funds Ltd. In addition she serves as the Chairperson in several Gemini portfolio companies.

Dr. Berry is a former Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Government of Israel. In this capacity she was responsible for implementing government policy regarding support and encouragement of industrial research and development.

Her background includes co-founding ORNET Data Communication Technologies Ltd., an early Gemini portfolio company; raising the venture capital, building the world-wide infrastructure and managing the sale to Siemens for $30M, Gemini's first exit. Dr. Berry has made significant technological contributions to the local area network (LAN) industry, has served as the Chief Scientist of Fibronics and as a senior research engineer in companies such as IBM and UNISYS.

Dr. Berry received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California and M.A. and B.A. degrees in Statistics and Mathematics from Tel Aviv and Haifa Universities. She is a frequent lecturer on "High-Tech" worldwide.



Starting a laser company in a difficult market: an Italian example.

Giuliano Piccinno

(Bright Solutions, Italy)


High power semiconductor lasers and diode pumped solid state lasers play the role of key photonic components in many applications in a diverse market ranging from manufacturing industry to aero-space, bio-medicine, or scientific research. Producing innovation in this field and facing a complex market with strong diversification can be the way for a high tech photonic company to attain a relatively stable growth rate, in spite of deep oscillations in the single market areas. Nevertheless addressing such a market made of a plurality of niches, populated by small to medium companies, imposes several difficulties, from the strong competition and flexibility demand to the lack of investors. This talk will discuss history and competing strategies of Bright Solutions, a young Italian firm operating in the field of solid state lasers and their applications.



Giuliano Piccinno is the Managing Director at Bright Solutions, Italy. He received his degree in electronic engineering from the University of Pavia in 1993. He collaborated with the Laser Source Laboratory at the same University, being the coordinator of numerous research programs involving the Laser Source Laboratory and some small companies interested in the development of solid state lasers and industrial laser applications. In 1998 he co-founded Bright Solutions an engineering company focussed on research and development of solid state lasers and systems.


Intense – Spreading the Net

John H. Marsh

(Intense Photonics Ltd, Scotland, UK)


Intense is developing high-performance low-cost active optoelectronic components, incorporating progressively higher degrees of chip integration. The long-term need for highly integrated ‘optical systems on a chip’ will lie in the communications component market, a sector that is currently stalled. Intense’s integration technology can also be used to make unique and novel components for the many markets that have not experienced the telecom ‘bubble’. Such markets include printing/graphic arts, defence, sensing, biotechnology and medicine. The presentation will describe Intense’s strategy for competing in the world market by addressing a broad spectrum of the total optoelectronics market.



John Marsh is the Chief Strategy Officer of Intense Photonics Ltd, a company he co-founded in 2000. He also holds the post of Professor of Optoelectronic Systems in the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering at the University of Glasgow.

Prof Marsh is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge, Liverpool and Sheffield. He moved to the University of Glasgow in 1986 where he established a major research group addressing linear and nonlinear integrated optoelectronic systems. He has developed new integration technologies for photonic integrated circuits based on quantum well devices and quantum well intermixing, and built up an extensive programme of work on III-V based photonic integrated circuits for high-speed digital optical communications. Much of this work is now being exploited through Intense.

He is a Fellow of the IEE (UK), the IEEE, the Royal Society of Arts, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He is an elected member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE/Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (LEOS) for the period 2001 -2003. He is also currently LEOS Vice President - Finance and Administration. He is a member of the College of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and of the Council of the Scottish Optoelectronics Association.


Niche markets and survival strategies

Alessandro Nocivelli

(LUCEAT, Italy)


In a continuing period of declining investments and fading markets, even the most innovative start-ups struggle to promote their technologies. Companies who aimed at mass applications in their business plans had to face collapsing markets, stiff competition and decreased spending aptitude.

These are the times to review commercial strategies, to look for alternative markets and even create new ones. In this quest, focusing on niche applications can be a viable option – if not mandatory for survival.

The talk will explore the advantages of targeting niche markets during economic downturns.


Alessandro Nocivelli is the founder and CEO of Luceat S.p.A. in Italy. In 1998 he graduated in optoelectronics at the Politecnico di Milano (Italy) and in microelectronics at Supélec (France); he received an MBA degree from the Ecole des Ingénieurs (France) in 2000.

In 1995 he founded Noptronics Ltd. in UK, for which he worked before moving back to Italy in November 2000.

"Success in Photonics Requires Learning from the Past"

Phil Anthony

(Storm Ventures, USA)


The economic bubble in photonics for telecommunications fostered business practices that are inappropriate for the current environment but that are difficult to discard. Crafting a viable business model for a photonics company to create sustainable value is the key challenge.



Philip J. Anthony is with the venture capital firm Storm Ventures and serves on the board of directors of NanoOpto and the technical advisory boards of Veeco Photonics, LuxTera, Novera, and Picarro. He was with JDS Uniphase until July 2002 where he was President, Amplification Products Group. That followed by two years the $18B acquisition of E-TEK Dynamics, where he was Vice President of Engineering since 1998. Prior to that, Dr. Anthony had worked for 20 years on various photonic technologies at Bell Labs. He received a Ph. D. in physics from the University of Illinois in 1978. He serves as the senior past president of the IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society.