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Lindsay Austin: profile of a VC investor

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[caption id="attachment_101654" align="alignright" width="240"] Lindsay Austin[/caption]

ROHNERT PARK -- SoCo Nexus chairman Lindsay Austin was former vice president of sales and marketing at Uniphase, which merged with JDS to become JDSU. The company has a large Santa Rosa operation with some 400 employees, acquired in 2000 when it was Optical Coating Laboratory Inc. and a major JDS supplier.

JDSU, which plans to split into two separate companies by fall 2015, makes products for fiber optics communications networks, communications test and measurement equipment, lasers, and optics for authentication and decorative applications. The Santa Rosa plant makes technology used in currencies worldwide to discourage counterfeiting.

After he retired from JDSU, Mr. Austin redirected his energy into golf, winemaking and startups. “My golf game sucked,” he said, chuckling. “I hated being the worst of a foursome.”

He served on the United Way of the Wine Country and Sonoma County Museum boards. Then “I started realizing there was a chance to give back,” he said.

As part of his work for United Way, he analyzed nonprofits to determine which ones had the best outcomes for dollars contributed. “I don’t know much about soup kitchens and feeding the poor,” Mr. Austin said. “The one thing I did know was how to generate income” in startup companies that create green-collar and white-collar jobs in the North Bay.Mr. Austin's current engagements and backgroundChairman, membership and mentoring committee, North Bay AngelsChairman, SoCo NexusOwner, winemaker, Kings Hill CellarsChairman, Pavilion Integration Corp, designs photonic modules for diagnostic applications in bio-instrumentation.Former CEO, SpectraswitchFormer vice president, general manager, JDS Uniphase, telecommunicationsFormer manager, Coherent, electrical and electronic manufacturing

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