Holographic Storage Firm InPhase Technologies Shuts Down

LONGMONT, COLO.:InPhase Technologies, a pioneer in holographic storage, has gone out of business and had assets seized by the Colorado Department of Revenue for back taxes, local media outlets report. The company was said to owe the state more than $10,000. A public auction of the assets is pending. The company’s 60 employees received final paychecks Friday, after nearly a year of working at reduced wages while lead investor Bart Stuck sought additional funding. The Longmont Times-Call said one engineer from InPhase was being paid $11 an hour.

InPhase, spun out of Bell Labs around 10 years ago, had raised and run on around $100 million in venture capital, including $20 million in January, 2009. Within five years, it was demonstrating holographic storage, whereby data is stored within the physical body of a disc rather than merely on the surface. A holographic disc was said to store 30 times more data than a DVD. TV Technology gave InPhase a Star Award at the NAB Show in 2006. Network Computing named it one of the Top 10 Startups to watch in 2007, when it was expected to bring a product to market. The prototype was featured in Popular Sciencemagazine as a “Best of What’s New ’07,” with a projected $18,000 price tag. Turner Broadcasting conducted the first TV trail with the technology, switching in an ad for the National Basketball Association from a holographic disc. (eWeek has details.)

Despite the attention, InPhase was unable to bring a product to market, even though it lists several resellers and OEM partners, including Hitachi, also an investor. Others include Investors include Stuck’s Signal Lake, New Venture Partners, Bayer MaterialScience AG, Newton Technology Partners, ALPS Electric Co., Yasuda Enterprise Development, Japan Asia Investment Co., Nanotech Partners and B.J. Cassin.

General Electric has also been working on holographic storage and was said last April to be talking to potential partners about bringing the technology to market, according to Enterprise Storage. -- Deborah D. McAdams