InPhase Technologies is a technology company developing holographic storage devices and media, based in Longmont, Colorado. InPhase was spun out from Bell Labs in 2000 after recruiting two storage industry veterans, Steve Kitrosser (Digital Equipment Corporation, Maxtor, Maxoptics, Quinta, and Seagate) joined as Chairman, and Nelson Diaz (Digital Equipment Corporation, Seagate, StorageTek), with very strong operating experience, in particular high volume magnetic disk drive and tape drive manufacturing with very high quality. Their technology promised multiple terabyte storage.
In May 2008 the company first reader, tapestry 300r, offered customers a storage capacity of 300 GB, with transfer rates of 20 MB/s in read write mode. However, with leadership that was incapable of realizing that InPhase did not have a working disk drive that could be reliably manufactured with adequate yield (which led the company to spend tens of millions on components for disk drives that had no chance to properly working, questioning the operating skills of the management team) the company failed at least four times to release the reader on-schedule after previously setting release dates of late 2005, late 2006, and then February 2007.
InPhase received over $58M in funding from New Venture Partners which controlled the Board from 2003 until 2010; InPhase received in aggregate over $100M in funding from strategic partners (Maxell, Hitachi LG Data Systems, Sanyo, Bayer Material Sciences, Imation) and other venture capital funds (Madison Dearborn, Signal Lake, Newton); Nelson Diaz as President and Steve Kitrosser as Chairman committed a major strategic blunder, driving InPhase to manufacture disk drives in high volume, when the target market was archival storage which required libraries with robots that shuttled large amounts of storage media between a relatively small number (e.g., two to four) of drives. An independent analysis in 2009 suggested that InPhase could reach positive cash flow with the sale of roughly one hundred libraries each containing four drives and two thousand pieces of storage media. This was the second time these two committed a strategic blunder, the first time being in 2005 when InPhase was on track to design, develop and manufacture a rack mounted drive, and instead of this design, Diaz and Kitrosser pushed for a 5 1/4 inch form factor drive that was physically impossible to achieve because the optics required more space than the form factor permitted, plus the drive required light to follow a three dimensional path while the rack mounted drive could handle all light transmission in a two dimensional plane making it far easier to manufacture and trouble shoot. InPhase was forced to cut a number of its workforce; currently there is no release date for the drive and storage media visible.
InPhase Technologies currently holds the record for "highest commercial data storage" by achieving 515 Gbit per square inch of media. Most recently the company broke the 1 terabyte benchmark.
On March 16, 2010, Signal Lake Venture Capital acquired a majority equity stake in the remains of InPhase. In 2010, InPhase acquired digital holographic storage media manufacturing equipment from Hitachi Maxell in Tokyo, Japan. In 2011, Signal Lake, on behalf of InPhase, acquired the assets of DSM AG in Westerstede, Germany so InPhase has rights for designing, developing, manufacturing, and supporting digital libraries (autoloaders that can hold one disk drive and fifteen disks with a robot that moves media between slots and disk drives, or libraries that can hold four disk drives and up to two thousand one hundred forty disks) and a robot picker that moves media between slots and disk drives, to be bundled with sales of drives and media.
On 17 October 2011, InPhase Technologies filed for protection to reorganize under Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code. Much of the blame for InPhase's bankruptcy was placed on then CEO Nelson Diaz, who ignored the engineers warning that the product was not ready for market, as well as, allegedly, taking on full pay while all other employees worked for minimum wage. Diaz is now working as a full time ski instructor in Colorado.
All of the InPhase assets were sold at auction in March 2012. Akonia Holographics acquired the majority of InPhase assets, including the critical equipment and knowhow, and all of the intellectual property. Akonia Holographics, LLC was officially launched on August 10, 2012 after closing on a $10.8 million investment round. Akonia Holographics has continued to advance Holographic Data Storage Technology and currently holds the world record bit density of 2.2Terabytes/in2. Cost projections of this technology show that it is possible to use Holographic Data Storage to achieve less than $1/Terabyte in the early 2020's.
InPhase Technologies Group, Inc.
- Holografischer Speicher vor der Markteinführung (German language). Retrieved on 2008-04-20.
- Austin Modine (2008-06-05). "Holographic storage kingpin turns staff and product into an illusion".
- Holographic advance aids storage
- US patent 7336409, Bradley J. Sissom, "Miniature flexure based scanners for angle multiplexing", published 2007-09-06, issued 2008-02-26, assigned to InPhase Technologies and Nintendo
- "Signal Lake buys majority of InPhase". Boulder County Business Report. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
- "How I watched a holographic storage company implode". The Register. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
- "New Company Believes in Holographic Data Storage, Yes it Exists!". StorageNewsletter. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- www.inphase-technologies.com — InPhase Web site