Cottonwood Technology Fund and Sun Mountain Capital, which manages New Mexico State Investment Council funding for local startups, each contributed $250,000 to the first installment.
“This bridge round will give us time to finish all the remaining legal documents and due diligence in anticipation of a larger (installment) at the end of the year,” said Cottonwood Managing Partner David Blivin.
Trilumina, which presented at the Technology Venture Corp. Deal Stream Summit in Albuquerque last April, has created a plug-in chip it says can ramp up wireless speeds to 500 times faster than average home wireless data transfer rates. It uses a new type of engineering architecture to pack thousands of tiny lasers together on a wafer, providing much more power and speed compared with traditional optics chips.
The first funding installment will help Trilumina meet customer requests to incorporate its technology into wireless satellite communications, and into data transfer for home entertainment applications, Blivin said.
At the TVC summit, company executives said they were forging partnerships with PrimeSense, the maker of Microsoft’s “Kinect,” and with electronic systems manufacturer L3 Communications.
“Over the next 18 months, we’ll work on building good relations with key customers and on getting our technology designs into their products,” said Trilumina President and CEO Gary Oppedahl.
Cottonwood and Sun Mountain expect to provide another $3.5 million to the company. They may seek a third investor for another $1 million, or they may increase their own commitment by that amount next year, Blivin said.
Until now, the company had raised about $650,000 in cash from individual investors, and $200,000 through in-kind services.
“They have a great management team with very experienced people,” said Sun Mountain Partner Lee Rand. “They’ve moved the company forward in product development and in establishing a customer base, and now venture professionals are stepping in to help.”
Trilumina’s managers are all veterans of the semiconductor laser industry. They worked together at Micro Optical Devices, and then at Emcore Corp., which acquired Micro Optical Devices in 1997.
The company is housed at a 4,000-square-foot incubator space at the University of New Mexico’s Science and Technology Park.
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal