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US dosh will fund second Scots opto fab

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An injection of US money means that a Scottish startup is able to build a second wafer fabrication plant in Silicon Glen. Kymata, a private limited company based in Livingston, received funds this month of $72 million from US venture capitalists, with the lion's share coming from Kleiner Peck, said Barbara Fitzpatrick, marketing executive at the firm. She said that was in addition to startup money from 3i, ACT Venture Capital, and British Telecom. Kymata (Greek for waves), produces opto-electronic components and already has a 635m2 clean room at Livingston. The existing fab produces silicon wafers for its own products, as well as acting as a foundry for other Scottish companies, Fitzpatrick said. The building blocks Kymata creates will be used to make use of the dark fibre which is widespread in metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom, to deliver better Internet bandwidth to consumers, she said. "We're trying to bring the core of the networks to the kerb," she said. "We're producing optical components for bandwidth to be increased." Fitzpatrick said that all twelve Scottish universities have faculties specialising in opto-electronics, and that means a large pool of graduates with expertise, which no other country can better. "The fibre already exists," she said. "Opto electronic technology has improved in the last two to three years." While the scientific rudiments of the technology were evolved over 30 years ago, now high tech companies have realised the benefits of utilising those elements. Kymata has no plans to float on any stock exchange, she said, and will resist attempts at any takeover, despite the interest large firms such as Intel and Nortel are taking in opto-electronics. She said that the money received from Kleiner Peck was a breakthrough. The US firm does not normally invest in foreign countries. ® See Also Kymata's website is here.

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