Cottonwood invests in Dutch fiber-optic time distribution technology

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OPNT closes on over €500k investment from Cottonwood Euro Technology Fund

OPNT, a systems provider for highly accurate time distribution through fiber-optic telecommunication networks, announced today that Cottonwood Euro Technology Funds (CETF) has closed on seed capital to expand its operations in Amsterdam. With the investment by CETF, an affiliate of the top performing seed stage investor in science based technology start-ups in the US, OPNT will launch a competitive and secure alternative to GPS receivers for synchronization of 4G mobile Internet infrastructure. A spin-off to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, it is the mission of OPNT to take the latest in state-of-the-art timing technology from the laboratory to the market. With OPNT standing for Optical Positioning, Navigation and Timing, the company makes no secret of the future power of its fiber-optic timing technology, which may be used as a basis for terrestrial positioning systems with improved performance compared to GPS.

Cottonwood is one of the only funds in the US to excel in seed/early stage science based investing outside The Valley and Boston. They focus on regions rich in ideas, but emerging in the areas of experienced management and capital. “We chose the Dutch region of Twente as the epicenter of our European hub because of the existence of its world class entrepreneurial environment and a leading entrepreneurial university there. However, similar opportunities exist in other regions of The Netherlands, as illustrated by the current capital injection into Amsterdam-based OPNT – our third after earlier investments in two start-ups founded at University of Twente,” says Europe’s lead General Partner Ray Quintana.

Jeroen Koelemeij, VU-scientist and co-founder of OPNT: “We already provide timing solutions for academic fiber-telecom infrastructure, which shares many similarities with the networks of commercial telecom operators.” Marco Gorter, co-founder and CEO of OPNT adds: “We foresee a bright future for fiber-optic-based timing and positioning systems now that the three essential ingredients have been brought together: licensed access to know-how from VU Amsterdam, the company’s assets, and smart capital by Cottonwood.” Steven Tan, deputy director of Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA) adds: “we congratulate OPNT and Cottonwood with this investment. It is another showcase of IXA’s successful spin-off strategy”.

The investment also illustrates the successful policy of Dutch public technology foundation STW, who have funded a substantial part of the scientific research now being commercialized by OPNT.

About OPNT
OPNT is the first worldwide provider of short and long haul timing solutions based on so-called White Rabbit Ethernet, whose development was initiated by CERN and which greatly improves on the accuracy of the existing IEEE 1588v2 and Synchronous Ethernet standards. OPNT’s implementation is highly flexible, allowing retrofit solutions in existing networks with no need for replacement of legacy equipment or sacrificing valuable telecom capacity. With OPNT, network owners now have the unique opportunity to distribute and control GPS-quality timing everywhere in their own infrastructure, doing away with the inevitable third-party dependence of GPS receivers, as well as their risk of jamming and high operational expenditure.

About Cottonwood Euro Technology Fund
Cottonwood primarily invests in companies active in photonics, advanced materials, healthcare and clean energy. Cottonwood Europe is headquartered at Kennispark, the innovation campus in Twente, The Netherlands, which has proven to be a perfect strategic location to serve The Netherlands, but also Germany, France and Belgium. Preqin, a recognized leader in tracking private equity fund performance, lists Cottonwood as a top performing early stage VC fund in the US. The investment strategy that Cottonwood follows is to focus on international growth from the beginning and recruiting all resources needed for success to partner with the company in its region of origin.

About Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA)
IXA is the technology transfer office of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, VU Medical Center Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam and the Amsterdam University of Applied Science.

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