Fundraising virtuoso Chiaro Networks, an Israeli optics startup, raised $40 million form its shareholders, TheMarker has learned. The successful funding round attracted new investors, and the company is now hoping to raise another $30 million to $40 million from external investors.
Chiaro, which in September 2000 raised $100 million, the most money ever in a single financing round by an Israeli company, began a fourth round from its own shareholders in November 2001. According to Dolev & Abramovich hi-tech information company the round was held according to a pre-money company value of $125 million, as opposed to the $400 million valuation in the previous round.
The round was led by Israeli fund Pitango Venture Capital and by Koor Corporate Venture Capital, which invested a similar sum. Other investors include Charter Venture Capital, Mustang Ventures and Robertson Stephens.
Existing shareholders that invested in the company included CenterPoint Ventures, Crown Advisors, Intel Capital, Row Management and Star Ventures. Chiaro's seed investor, Jerusalem based Israel Seed Partners, did not take part in the round.
This round makes the total raised by the company in four financing rounds since it was founded to more than $200 million.
Founded in March 1997 by Dr. Eyal Shekel, Chiaro develops optical switch systems, designed to alleviate bottlenecks in optical networks. The bottlenecks are formed at the fiber optics intersections, where data is rerouted. Since today's switching is done electronically, data transferred via optic fibers is translated to electronic formation, transferred and re-transferred into light waves. Chiaro's systems are more efficient, as the entire switching process will be done on light waves.
Chiaro's solutions make it possible for telephony companies to build highly reliable data transfer networks with high capacities and great future expandability.
The current CEO of Chiaro is Ken Lewis, who formerly worked in the American division of French communications provider Alcatel (NYSE:ALA).
Chiaro has so far never reduced its workforce of 270 workers in its Jerusalem R&D centers and in its Dallas, Texas headquarters.