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Case Study
Kymata Limited

  • Kymata was one of Scotland's highest achieving modern technology companies; not unsurprisingly it was borne out of an entrepreneurial spirit and endeavour of a pioneering few. Derek Douglas, Brendan Hyland and Richard Laming each committed their individual expertise and seed funding to launch the project in 1998.
  • In 1998, ASL was introduced to a promising MBA student, Brendan Hyland. Impressed by his drive and business acumen, Derek Douglas put Brendan forward for a directorship of a technology start-up and, in the process, introduced him to a number of venture capitalists. However, during these meetings another opportunity emerged.
  • Brendan was put in touch with a research team at Southampton University who were working on gratings technology. Richard Laming was a key member of this team. When Richard and Brendan founded Kymata they asked Derek to become chairman.
  • The company was focused on the silica-on-silicon FHD (Flame Hydrolysis deposition) for integrating optical devices. The patent for the core FHD process developed by Corning in the 1970s has expired, thus allowing similar processes to be developed.
  • The team sought the support of the opto-electronics department at Glasgow University and enlisted BT to the overall vision. Having secured IP licenses from Southampton University, Glasgow University and BT, funding to develop the technology further and to deliver it quickly on to an international stage became critical.
  • Just as low cost memory and processing power was a key factor in the growth of the PC industry, the lowering of the cost of bandwidth by the integrated optical device industry would drive the growth of the new generation of communications products. Kymata's aim was to build Europe's first independent integrated silica-on-silicon FHD design and fabrication facility for the integrated optical device market. That target market is major international and medium sized telecommunications equipment manufacturers.
  • With Adam Smith Limited's knowledge and expertise behind them, a business plan proving the concept was then taken to venture capitalists. In August 1998, £1 million was committed from a venture capitalist in an initial round of funding.
  • With a new management team in place processing the broader business expertise to take the company forward, Derek Douglas stood down as chairman.
  • Kymata was acquired in July 2001 by Alcatel and was later sold to Avanex Corporation in July 2003. In February 2004, Avanex announced the sale of the opto-electronics business to US-based Gemfire.

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