The founders of Algety Telecom were a team of engineers in France Telecom's R&D Center (CNET) who had been working for nearly 10 years to develop soliton technology. Solitons are concentrations of multiple light pulses that capitalize on the fact that when such pulses are in precise phase with each other they combine into a single, high-energy pulse that is more resistant to degradation as it travels through fiber than any of the original pulses would be. This technology breakthrough allows telecom operators to realize significant cost advantages by eliminating the need for electrical regeneration on long haul networks, halving costs in some instances, at the same time as boosting capacity, efficiency and reliability of their telecom networks.
Newbury partner Ossama Hassanein had been working with CNET to identify promising new technologies, and to organize new ventures with teams from the research center to pursue commercial applications. His work distinguished him as one of the first institutional financiers to make private equity investments in French technology companies, applying a focused bi-national strategy that had been successful for Newbury in making investments in Israel, the UK, and with other French entrepreneurs.
Launched in 1998 with headquarters in Lannion in north-west France, Algety eventually raised $31 million in two financing rounds, both led by Newbury. The infusion of capital supported Algety's ongoing development of wave division multiplexing (WDM) systems that utilized a new generation of solitons. The Algety team ended up pioneering commercial soliton optical transmission systems and was credited with being the first company to transmit 1 Tbps over 1000 km using soliton technology - the equivalent of transmitting the entire contents of the Library of Congress in less than 30 seconds down a single fiber.
Growth at Algety was very rapid in all areas, particularly in sales and customer support teams, strategic technology and business partnerships, and continued research and development. Close support and guidance by Ossama and the Newbury partnership during this period was critical for a new venture team building such a company in France.
In March 2000, Corvis Corporation (now Broadwing, Nasdaq: BWNG) acquired Algety for over $900 million with Ossama playing key roles in product and business strategy and acquisition proceedings. As a result of the Corvis transaction (and in a short fifteen month investment period), Newbury investors realized a sizeable return despite the challenges being presented by the beginning downturn in the telecom industry.