CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder
Dr. Kewitsch has 20 years of high tech startup experience developing fiber optic switching products through conception, product development and qualification, marketing and sales. Previously, he co-founded Arroyo Optics Inc., a VC funded developer of wavelength selective switches and add/drop multiplexers for dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM).
He served as a Member of the Board and as Vice President of Research and Development from 1995 to 2005. He is currently a Member of the Board of Directors of Telaris Inc., a high power laser company he previously co-founded. He received a B.S. in electrical engineering with distinction from Stanford University in 1991 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1993 and 1995. He was an Eastman Kodak Scholar and an ONR, NSF, Tau Beta Pi and Caltech Special Institute Fellow. Dr. Kewitsch holds approximately 50 patents and is the author of over 25 research papers.
Amnon Yariv is an Israeli-American professor of applied physics and electrical engineering at Caltech, known for innovations in optoelectronics. In 2010, Yariv was selected as a winner of the National Medal of Science for "scientific and engineering contributions to photonics and quantum electronics that have profoundly impacted lightwave communications and the field of optics as a whole.” He has also been selected to receive the IEEE Photonics Award for 2011. Yariv is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. In 1985 he was awarded the Harold Pender Award by the University of Pennsylvania. In 1992 he was awarded the Harvey Prize by the Technion in Haifa, Israel, for "Pioneering contributions to opto- electronics, wave propagation in crystals and nonlinear and phase conjugate optics, and his demonstration of semiconductor-based integrated optics technology leading to the development of high- speed and stable solid state lasers.” Yariv has authored several texts on optical electronics and photonics.
The highlight of his group's work was the invention of the semiconductor distributed feedback laser, a device widely used in the Internet's fiber-optic communications. Prof. Yariv co-founded Ortel Corp. (formerly Nasdaq: ORTL), which was subsequently acquired by Lucent for ~$3B.
Kip Hagopian is chairman emeritus of Maxim Integrated Products, a leader in the analog and mixed-signal semiconductor industry. He has had a 30 year career in high-technology, venture capital investment. He co-founded Brentwood Associates, a high-technology venture capital and private equities firm, and for many years headed its high technology investment group.
While Kip was a full time partner of Brentwood, he was responsible for several of the firm’s most successful investments, including Apple Computer, Maxim Integrated Products, and Teradata Corporation, all of which are public companies. During his venture-capital career, Hagopian served in several industry leadership positions, including president and chairman of the National Venture Capital Association.
Kip has many non-profit affiliations and has authored or co-authored five public policy articles and four op-eds that have been published in prominent journals or newspapers. Topics include: income inequality; health care reform; the progressive income tax; the corporate income tax; and the accounting treatment of employee stock options. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial Design, and an MBA, both from the University of California, Los Angeles. After graduate school, he served as an artillery officer in the U.S. Army.
Russ Johnson is currently a partner with KPLJ Ventures works with early stage companies developing promising new technologies, particularly those technologies in complex electronic, optical, and semiconductor products. Since entering the investment community, Russ has been involved in the management and financing of startup companies in a wide variety of technologies and markets. Through board level assignment he has been instrumental in helping companies develop products leading to successful exits either through IPOs or acquisitions. He has served on numerous private and public company boards.
From May 1998 through September 2000 Russ served as the Senior Vice-President of Global Sales and Marketing for JDS Uniphase. During that period he was responsible for the formation of a worldwide sales organization and an integrated marketing program as well as playing an active roll in companies M&A activities. Prior to joining JDS Uniphase Russ spent over twenty years with the Hewlett Packard Company (now Agilent Technologies) in a variety of marketing, operational, and international business roles. Russ has a BSEE from New Mexico State University and an MBA from Purdue University. He also serves on the boards of several non-profits like the Pacific Research Institute.
Gary Spiegel was previously the Senior Vice President of Business Development for Newport Corporation a global Photonics technology company listed on NASDAQ. He has been associated with the Laser and Photonics industry for more than 40 years. Mr. Spiegel is a marketing graduate of Baruch College in New York City. He has completed continuing education programs in Laser technology at NYU and executive education programs at UCLA Anderson School of Business. Prior to joining Newport Corporation in 1991, Gary held senior management positions with Klinger Scientific a subsidiary of Micro-Controle France. At Newport, Gary has held a variety of executive positions including Vice President of global Sales, Service, and Marketing. Since 2010 he has lead Newport’s strategic business development / Mergers and Acquisitions agenda. Gary is a member of the OSA where he was one of the founding organizers of the OSA’s Executive Forum on Optical Fiber Communications. He is a Senior Member of the SPIE and serves as the Secretary and Treasurer for the SPIE and is a member of the IEEE.
Philip M. Neches is a venture partner at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator in New York City. He is also an independent consultant working with early-stage companies in the information technology and communications service industries on their technical, market, and business strategies as an advisor, board member, and investor. A world- renowned authority on databases, he was the founder and chief scientist of Teradata Corporation. He began his career at Transaction Technology Inc., a subsidiary of Citigroup.where he led analysis of consumer banking networks, including the first large-scale deployment of automated teller machines (ATMs) in the United States. Later at Teradata, he pioneered the application of parallel processing to commercial applications. As senior vice president and chief scientist for NCR Corporation, he led both the repositioning of NCR’s computer product family and the product plan for a merger with AT&T. Dr. Neches served as vice president and chief technical officer of Multimedia Products and Services Group at AT&T Corporation. He has served on the board of directors of ExpandBeyond, Inc., and on the advisory boards of EarthLink, Tacoda Systems, Luxtera, and the Technology Group of Merrill Lynch. Other prior directorships include MCC, Semitech, Dayton Public Radio, DemoGraFx, MediaMap, PeopleLink, and VendQuest. He serves on the Caltech board of trustees and sits on its technology transfer committee and chairs the student experience committee. Dr. Neches holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from Caltech.