From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kaiam Corporation was an American manufacturer of optronics equipment for computer networking. Founded in 2009, it was headquartered in Newark, California, and until December 2018 had a manufacturing facility in Silicon Glen in Scotland. After cash-flow problems and a patent infringement lawsuit, the company collapsed in early 2019. The founder and CEO was Bardia Pezeshki.


Kaiam manufactured 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s optical transceivers that used MEMS alignment to link servers.[1] Its key technological innovation was to use silicon micromachining technology to perform the high-precision alignment necessary for single-mode fiber optics, rather than manual or robotic processes.[2] In March 2016 it demonstrated the CWDM4, a 100 Gigabit-per-second coarse wavelength-division multiplexing (CWDM) silicon photonics transceiver using silicon modules and receivers.[3] It was also one of the first companies to push for a copackaged approach of optical modules combined with electronics to bring high bandwidth links directly to ICs. A demonstration with Corning at the Optical Fiber Conference showed a 1.6Tb/s engine was possible.[4]


The company was founded in 2009[5] by Pezeshki, an Iranian native[1] with a PhD from Stanford University who had previously founded Santur Corporation.[6] It initially produced TOSA/ROSAs (transmitter optical subassemblies and receiver optical subassemblies).[7]

From 2011, Kaiam manufactured optoelectronic modules in Shenzhen, China, using Sanmina as a contract manufacturer,[8] In April 2013 it acquired Gemfire Corp.,[9] and in 2014, with a grant from Scottish Enterprise, it moved production from China to Gemfire's wafer fabrication plant in Livingston, West Lothian,[10][11][12] which had been built in the late 1990s by Kymata, a company spun off from research at Glasgow University and Southampton University, to produce photonic integrated circuits.[1] Pezeshki relocated to Edinburgh in 2015 to explore moving the company's research and development program to Scotland.[1] At the plant Kaiam produced integrated optical components on a 200mm-diameter wafer silica-on-silicon line, and also 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s optical packaging products.[13] The workforce at the Scottish plant expanded from approximately 65 to more than 350 by the end of 2015.[1][10]

In April 2017, Kaiam bought a wafer fabrication facility in Newton Aycliffe in England from Compound Photonics Group;[13] it resold the plant to II-VI Inc. in August that year.[14][15] and re-invested in the Livingston facility. In May 2018, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with Broadex Technologies Co. for co-manufacturing of transceivers based on its LightScale2 platform for the Chinese market.[16]

The company was unable to secure enough orders to sustain full production at its facility in Scotland, and in December 2018 was seeking a financial partner.[17] Shortly before Christmas, 310 workers at the plant were laid off with no notice and before receiving their end of year pay.[12][18] Companies House had issued a striking-off order on November 27.[19][20] Pezeshki visited the plant immediately before workers were informed that the factory would be closed until January 3;[11][15][19] the company's subsidiaries Kaiam Europe Limited and Kaiam UK Limited were placed in administration.[15][21] The redundancies were then made permanent on Christmas Eve; 28 employees were retained to assist with selling the plant.[22][23] Crowdfunding and in-kind donations were organized to assist those laid off.[15][19][20][24][25] In March 2019, the plant was sold to Broadex.[26]

Kaiam was sued for patent infringement by Finisar, following which the company collapsed in early 2019.[27] In January, Kaiam made a general assignment for the benefit of its creditors; in May, an agreement was reached under which Finisar accepted an unsecured claim on Kaiam's estate as satisfaction of a $10 million judgment.[28]


  1. ^ a b c d e Simon Bain (December 6, 2015). "Kaiam founder targets Scottish research base". The Herald.
  2. ^ Karen Liu (April 17, 2015). "Integrated multi-wavelength transmitters for parallelism in single-mode, high-speed optics". SPIE Newsroom. doi:10.1117/2.1201504.005797.
  3. ^ Michael D. Wheeler (August 2016). "Integrated Photonics: A Tale of Two Materials". Photonics Media.
  4. ^ "Kaiam and Corning team to demo optics/switch chip co-packaging". Lightwave Online. March 22, 2017.
  5. ^ "Company Overview of Kaiam Corporation". Bloomberg. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  6. ^ "Management". Kaiam. Archived from the original on June 20, 2017.
  7. ^ "Kaiam Shows 40G TOSA/ROSA". Light Reading. March 4, 2011.
  8. ^ Joakim Johanssson (September 20, 2011). "Sanmina partners with Kaiam". Evertiq.
  9. ^ "Kaiam to acquire Gemfire assets". Lightwave. March 20, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Debbie Hall (December 11, 2014). "Twenty jobs axed at Kaiam Corporation in Livingston". Daily Record.
  11. ^ a b Jamie McKenzie (December 21, 2018). "Kaiam boss accused of 'unspeakable act of cowardice' as Livingston workers not paid Christmas wage". Edinburgh Evening News.
  12. ^ a b "Christmas wages not paid at West Lothian computer firm". BBC News. December 21, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Peter Clarke (April 4, 2017). "Kaiam buys UK wafer fab to make photonic ICs". EE News Analog.
  14. ^ "II-VI Inc buys Kaiam's 6" fab in UK for $80m". Semiconductor Today. August 7, 2017.
  15. ^ a b c d Sebastian Moss (January 4, 2019). "Kaiam's European operations go into administration, factory closed". Data Centre Dynamics.
  16. ^ "Kaiam partners with Broadex for manufacturing and supply of transceiver modules in China". Semiconductor Today. May 18, 2018.
  17. ^ Stephen Hardy (January 3, 2019). "Kaiam explores alternatives as UK operations go into administration". Lightwave.
  18. ^ "Kaiam factory in Livingston announce they 'unable to pay workers wages' days before Christmas". The Herald. December 21, 2018.
  19. ^ a b c Andy Shipley (December 23, 2018). "Kaiam boss dances at Xmas party before jetting off to US as firm fails". The Scotsman.
  20. ^ a b Andy Shipley (December 27, 2018). "Confusion reigns over 'phantom' Kaiam pay". Edinburgh Evening News.
  21. ^ "Administrators appointed at computer firm Kaiam". BBC News. December 22, 2018.
  22. ^ "Livingston computer factory lays off 310 workers". BBC News. 24 December 2018.
  23. ^ "Over 300 Kaiam staff lose their jobs on Christmas Eve". Edinburgh Evening News. December 24, 2018.
  24. ^ "Thousands raised for workers laid off from Kaiam factory". BBC News. December 25, 2018.
  25. ^ Rebecca Parker (December 25, 2018). "Kaiam crisis: Livingston FC donate food vouchers and match tickets to workers". The Scotsman.
  26. ^ "Kaiam Europe's Scotland plant acquired by Chinese transceiver maker Broadex". Semiconductor Today. March 19, 2019.
  27. ^ Peter Swindon (December 15, 2019). "Enterprise chiefs still chasing £850k one year on from tech firm Kaiam's collapse". The Sunday Post.
  28. ^ Brian Horne (May 13, 2019). "Kaiam Stipulates to $10 Million Judgment in Patent-Infringement Case". Knobbe Martens.

External links[edit]