VCs Cling On to Fibers –

Although the fiber optic sector?s popularity has recently been surpassed by increased interest in biometrics, security and biotechnology, investment in fiber optics has not waned completely.

Indeed, as companies in the sector fail to move into the IPO market to fuel their expensive business plans, their venture backers are coughing up dollars to keep those companies in the black.

According to our VentureXpert database, nine companies in the sector have succeeded in raising $135.05 million of venture funding since Sept. 11. This includes companies dealing in fiber optic cables, couplers and connectors and other fiber optic communications components.

The largest deal was a $35 million Series B round for San Jose, Ca.-based Polaris Networks, which closed in the days following the attacks. The company?s architecture includes terabit services switching simplified dynamic provisioning of multi-protocol services, and economic scalability from SONET/SDH to wavelength switching. Backers include Redpoint Ventures, Storm Ventures and Venrock Associates. The company closed on an undisclosed amount of Series A funding last June.

Also recently succeeding in raising venture capital in the fiber optic sector was Coriolis Networks Inc., a developer of metro optical products that speed the transmission of data and targets network service providers based in Boxborough, Mass. It raised $32 million from Bessemer Venture Partners, Boston University Community Technology Fund, Columbia Capital LLC, EnerTech Capital, New Enterprise Associates and TL Ventures in mid-October.

The list of fiber optic companies that closed on venture funding, mostly Series B or later-stage deals, also includes NEC Eluminant Technologies Inc., Proximion AB, Wave7 Optics, Gigabit Optics Corp., Galazar Networks Inc., SpectraSwitch Inc. and YAFO Networks Inc.

Year to date, 84 companies in the fiber optic have closed on $2.72 billion of venture funding. Last year, 87 fiber optic companies raised $3.01 billion in the venture capital marketplace.

Contact Carolina Braunschweig at