Lehman Brothers and 3i Co-Lead Series B Investment in AOptix Technologies

March 11, 2002
Press Release

Campbell, Calif. - March 11, 2002 - AOptix Technologies, a leading provider of Free Space Optics (FSO) communications systems, today announced the closing of an $18 million Series B round of financing, co-led by Lehman Brothers and 3i. The round also included participation from existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Clearstone Venture Partners. As part of the financing, Brian Paul of Lehman Brothers and David Aslin of 3i have joined AOptix's Board of Directors.

AOptix Technologies designs and builds carrier-class FSO systems used by telecommunications service providers to deliver high-speed communications to business customers. FSO systems transmit optical signals over a laser beam sent through the air (or "free space") at a fraction of the cost and time needed to trench and install fiber optic cables.

AOptix's FSO systems are built upon an entirely new and radically different core technology called Adaptive Optics (AO). By combining patent-pending wavefront sensors, deformable mirrors, extremely narrow light beams and precision beam tracking, AO dynamically corrects signal distortions caused by turbulent air and office windows. In addition, AO makes it possible to create an all-optical FSO system that takes laser light from the customer's telecom equipment, sends it through the air and puts the light back into another fiber at the receiving end without optical-to-electrical conversions.

"Our product's capabilities are very different than anything available in the market today and will set new standards for distance, bandwidth, operation through windows and easy installation. We are confident our breakthrough technology will move FSO from niche-applications to wide-spread carrier deployment in metro markets," explained Tony Shakib, CEO of AOptix. "We are extremely pleased to be backed by four top-tier investors." Shakib, previously General Manager and Vice President of Nortel Networks Broadband Access Group, together with his seasoned management team, have decades of experience successfully developing and selling access products to the carrier market worldwide.

According to David Aslin, Director with 3i, the team did its homework. "Over the course of the last several years, we looked at many FSO technologies. AOptix clearly stands out as a dramatically better solution, allowing network operators to add new customers and bandwidth with capital expenditure that fits today's significantly reduced budgets." He further added "the company's leaders have a high level of knowledge and experience, a network of contacts with key industry players, and the vision necessary to grow a successful business."
"FSO provides a compelling value proposition to service providers in that it enables them to roll-out high bandwidth services to areas that cannot be cost-effectively addressed by fiber," said Brian Paul, Senior Vice President with Lehman Brothers' Venture Capital Group. "With the Company's proprietary Adaptive Optics technology, AOptix is the only FSO vendor to provide a solution that meets service providers' distance, reliability and throughput requirements."

About AOptix

AOptix Technologies designs and builds carrier-class, Free Space Optics (FSO) systems that allow service providers to extend the reach of their fiber networks to more business customers. FSO systems from AOptix send optical signals through the air (free space) at a fraction of the cost and time to trench and install fiber optic links. AOptix is the only FSO company with unique patent pending technologies that address the primary issue facing the FSO industry - the disruptive effects of the atmosphere on the propagation of light through free space. AOptix is headquartered in Campbell, California.

About 3i

3i is a leading international venture capital company with U.S. offices in Menlo Park, CA and Waltham, MA. Operating since 1945, 3i has invested worldwide over $20 billion, including co-investment funds, through its 16-country, 3-continent network of 36 offices. 3i leverages this worldwide presence to add value to its portfolio companies and investment partners. Outside the USA, 3i invests broadly in private equity and venture capital. In the United States, 3i concentrates on technology investments in companies with the potential to be leaders in their markets. Visit 3i and its portfolio at www.3ius.com.

About Lehman Brothers

Lehman Brothers, an innovator in global finance, focuses on serving the financial needs of corporations, governments and municipalities, institutional clients, and high-net-worth individuals worldwide. Founded in 1850, Lehman Brothers maintains leadership positions in equity and fixed income sales, trading and research, investment banking, private equity, and private client services. The Venture Capital division was established in 1995 and has nearly $500 million under management with investments in approximately 50 portfolio companies. The Firm is headquartered in New York, London, and Tokyo, and operates through a network of offices around the world. For further information about Lehman Brothers' services, products, and recruitment opportunities, visit their Web site at www.lehman.com.

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