Dutch C2V wants to keep customers
from concept to volume production

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Aug. 5, 2002 — When Alcatel Optronics announced the management buyout of its Dutch division in July, the new company decided on a name that describes what it does: C2V.

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The name stands for “Concept to Volume,” which means the company helps customers create microsystems from the initial concept to pilot production and eventually to high volume production.

For this purpose, the company uses a process it calls Seamless Microsystem Engineering, which incorporates design for manufacturing, packaging and assembly. The company has access to a clean room for low volume production and works with foundries and assembly subcontractors such as Onstream MST, Micromontage and Eurasem for larger volumes.

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“With the current ongoing projects and business the company has a solid base for further growth. Especially, the merger of the three business units led to a synergy that offers many opportunities for future products and services,” said Vincent Spiering, vice president of marketing and sales.

Odin, a MEMS mask layout editor, is one of the recent software products that has resulted from this synergy. It simplifies the layout and design process of MEMS devices considerably by offering an extensive library of elements for dedicated MEMS applications.

The company’s revenue comes from a variety of places. “On average, 25 percent of the revenue results from business in Asia and Israel, 25 percent from the U.S. and 50 percent from Europe, mainly from outside the Netherlands,” Spiering said.

So, if the company’s customers are elsewhere, was the Netherlands the right place to start the business?

“Yes, as former Ph.D. students of the University of Twente, which has established a reputation in the Netherlands as ‘the entrepreneurial university,’ we have always been encouraged by our professors to start a high tech company in MEMS,” Spiering explained. “The first two years, we were located at the university and received much support from them. Eventually, we had to move from the university to get rid of the ‘academic image’ and establish a more commercial approach. The time at the university allowed us to start without large investments and venture capital.”

This approach is supported by Mark Wilson of Greenfield Capital Partners, a Dutch private equity firm that invested in the management buyout. “There is an increasing interest from the European private equity community for innovative intellectually based university spinoffs,” he said.

Kees Eijkel, technical commercial director of the MESA+ institute, a large MEMS research facility related to the University of Twente, also observes a change in mentality at the Dutch universities. “Commercialization of research results through spinoffs has gained much more attention and interest in recent years.”

Spiering, together with Job Elders and Gert-Jan Burger, two other former Ph.D. students from MESA+, founded Twente MicroProducts (TMP) in 1995. The company merged with an integrated optics software and design company — BBV Software & Design — as part of Kymata in 2000 and later in 2001 as part of Alcatel Optronics.

Currently, C2V has three main business units: integrated optics software, integrated optics design and MEMS design. The integrated optics design unit will work exclusively for Alcatel Optronics for 18 months. The MEMS unit offers design of prototypes as well as small-, medium- and large-scale production.


Company file: C2V
(last updated Aug. 5, 2002)


P.O. Box 318
7500 AH Enschede
The Netherlands

C2V is the result of a 2002 management buyout of Alcatel’s Dutch division (Alcatel Optronics Netherlands BV, later renamed C2V). However, it has its origins in Twente MicroProducts. TMP was founded in 1995 and later merged with BBV Software & Design as part of Kymata’s purchase of both companies in 2000. Kymata itself was purchased by Alcatel in 2002.


  • MEMS design, prototyping and low-volume production
  • Optical design software
  • Small tech-related products and services
    C2V targets telecom and non-telecom OEMs with product and service offerings that integrate MEMS microengineering capabilities with the use of planar optics design software — Seamless Microsystem Engineering. Customers are guided through the development process from initial design through prototyping, optimization, manufacturing and packaging.

    Job Elders: chief executive officer
    Martin Amersfoort: vice president, product management
    Vincent Spiering: vice president, marketing and sales


    Investment history
    C2V is funded by Netherlands-based Greenfield Capital Partners, a participant (along with Spiering, Amersfoort and Elders) in the Alcatel management buyout.

    Selected strategic partners and customers

  • As part of the buyout agreement, C2V will work with Alcatel Optronics for 18 months, focusing on planar design R&D.
  • The firm is closely tied with the MESA+ Research Institute of the University of Twente.
  • C2V collaborates with large-scale production fabs SensoNor, Colibrys and OnStream.
  • The integrated optics software unit mainly targets telecom suppliers. Examples of software customers are JDS Uniphase, Nortel Networks and Samsung, according to Vincent Spiering, vice president of marketing and sales.
  • The MEMS unit also serves nontelecom markets. Its customers are mainly instrumentation and microfluidics system suppliers such as Brooks Instrument, Spiering said.

    University-based MEMS research programs are potential C2V competitors, along with other small spinoffs and foundries themselves, many of which also offer component design, prototyping and packaging.

    Barriers to market
    C2V is juggling twin issues of high costs associated with the concept-to-product process and risks associated with forays into new technologies and markets.

    The management team is currently working on a business plan to expand activities within two years. “However, as we are opportunity hunters, if something comes up earlier, we will not hesitate,” Spiering said.

    Why they’re in small tech
    “We believe the micromachine industry has very large opportunities, if you’re able to select the realistic products with the right market potential,” Spiering said.

    What keeps them up at night
    “Finding the best solutions for our customers in order to keep them satisfied, and to bring real products to the market,” Spiering said.

    URL: www.c2v.nl
    Phone: 31 53 4 889 889
    Fax: 31 53 4 889 890
    Email: [email protected]

    Selected relevant patents
    Passband flattening of a phasar

    Recent news
    Alcatel Optronics sells Dutch arm

    — Research by Gretchen McNeely


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