Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2008

Sensors Unlimited: Bringing InGaAs Technology to the Market

by Willy C. Shih

Abstract

Sensors Unlimited was a small start-up in short-wavelength infrared imaging. Its learning base came out of Bell Labs, RCA's Sarnoff Lab, and the Rockwell Science Center, and as it built its capabilities and ventured into new application areas, it discovered a “killer app” for optical communications which led to its acquisition at the height of the telecom bubble. After the subsequent telecom meltdown, the founders reacquired many of the assets of the company and focused it on industrial and military applications. The case focus presents a question of whether the company should sell out again, this time to a military aerospace firm.

Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Business Startups; Applied Optics; Growth and Development Strategy; Science-Based Business; Commercialization; Aerospace Industry; Technology Industry;

Citation:

Shih, Willy C. "Sensors Unlimited: Bringing InGaAs Technology to the Market." Harvard Business School Case 608-138, May 2008.