We have been the earliest investor with dozens of
teams that have dared to pursue their vision


Many have created and led new markets
by redefining the possible


All have inspired us in some important way

Our Portfolio



In 1997, a brilliant engineer named Simon Cao had a unique insight. An expert at manipulating light, Simon conceived of a new way to cut the spacing between wavelengths in a dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) optical transmission system from the current state-of-the-art of 100 GHz to 50GHz. This doubled the information carrying capacity of the optical fibers around the globe at a time when the Internet backbone was struggling to meet burgeoning demand. With seed financing from Sequoia Capital, Simon founded Avanex to commercialize his “interleaving filter”. An aggressive revenue ramp powered by large scale deployments at MCI, AT&T, and Verizon powered Avanex to a successful public offering under the ticker symbol AVNX.

In late April 2009 the Bookham and Avanex Corporations announced that they had merged, creating what they hoped would be one of the largest suppliers of optical components, modules and subsystems for telecommunications. The newly combined company was named Oclaro.

  • Founded: 1997
  • Round Partnered: Seed
  • Year Partnered: 1998
  • Fund: Prior Art
  • Clear Partner(s): Chris Rust
  • Status: IPO
  • Date of IPO: 2000
  • Ticker Symbol: AVNX
  • Market Cap at IPO: $ 2,374,560,000
  • Peak Market Cap: $ 11,692,982,840
Chris is a superb resource for entrepreneurs and early-stage ventures. He has great strategic insight, a deep understanding of technology, and an abundance of startup experience to share. Chris actively supports his portfolio companies to hone their strategies, clarify their positioning & differentiation, and build out their leadership teams. Chris was a key contributor in the early days at Avanex, where he served as acting Director of Product Management and Board Observer, resulting in a highly successful IPO that returned over $1B to the initial investors.
David Parker, VP Product Management
I worked closely with Chris and the other Avanex (NASDAQ: AVNX) founders from the earliest stages of the company's life. Together we defined the key deliverables, go-to-market strategy, and product launch plans that resulted in an aggressive revenue ramp and a successful IPO. His leadership nurtured and motivated the team, and gained everyone's respect. Chris is a trustworthy, respectful, and entrepreneur-friendly investor. His strong technical background and practical operating insights helped us achieve our goals.
Shoa-Kai Liu, VP Technology


  • Spence Green


  • Samantha Reiss

    Head of Services

  • John DeNero

    Chief Scientist

  • Paula Shannon

    Chief Evangelist

  • Cassie McGruder

    Head of Finance

  • Omar Orqueda

    Head of Engineering

  • Ashwin Purohit

    Head of Technical Operations

  • Sylvia Borek

    Head of Revenue, AMER

  • Larry Gloss

    VP of Public Sector

  • Matt Mores

    Head of Revenue, EMEA

  • Alice Lulka

    Head of People


The 4 companies our team co-founded produced over $1.7 billion of market cap from 2 IPOs and 2 acquisitions

The 50+ early-stage companies we funded produced over $52 billion of market cap from 34 exits, with 8 going from seed/series A to IPO, 24 acquisitions

Some of our greatest learnings and closest personal partnerships have come from our losses

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