Industry-leading expertise and experience
Dr. Andrew Rickman, OBE
Dr Andrew Rickman OBE is the founder and chief executive officer of Rockley Photonics.
Andrew was previously the founder, CEO and chairman of Bookham Inc., now a part of Lumentum [NASDAQ: LITE] (after its 2018 acquisition of Oclaro Inc. [NASDAQ: OCLR], which was formed in 2009 after Bookham’s merger with Avanex Inc.), one of the world’s largest photonics and fiber optics telecom component producers, headquartered in Milpitas, CA, USA. Andrew founded Bookham in 1988 and grew the company from a start-up to a FTSE100 company as CEO and latterly chaired the business through the consolidation of the telecoms industry.
More recently he was chairman of Kotura Inc., a leader in the field of silicon photonics for fiber optic communications, high performance computing and sensing applications. He was instrumental in its development and sale to Mellanox Technologies, Ltd., for $82 million in 2013.
In 2000, Andrew was named UK’s Technology and Communications Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young. Andrew has held advisory board positions with the East Asia Institute of the University of Cambridge and Applied Science and Technology Research Institute of Hong Kong. In 2011, Andrew was awarded an Honorary Professorship at SIMIT, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was a Trustee of The Oxford Trust. He was previously a council member of the UK Government’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Andrew has a mechanical engineering degree from Imperial College, London; a PhD in silicon photonics from Surrey University, an MBA from Cranfield University and honorary doctorates from Surrey, Edinburgh Napier and Kingston Universities. He is a chartered engineer and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Physics.
He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Millennium Honors list for services to the telecommunications industry and is a winner of the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Silver medal for his outstanding contribution to British Engineering.
Amit Nagra is the chief operating officer for Rockley Photonics. He is responsible for establishing and managing the internal operations, as well as the external value chain, to bring leading-edge solutions to market.
He brings experience of developing technology and processes in early stage businesses and scaling up products and organizations to meet customer demand. His broad engineering expertise includes fundamental materials and process development, devices and circuit design, industrial engineering and production engineering. In addition, he has wide ranging business experience in finance, HR, operations, M&A integration, and strategic planning.
Prior to Rockley, Amit spent almost a decade at Source Photonics, a leading optical transceiver company, most recently as EVP of operations. At Source Photonics, he was responsible for the global operations and internal manufacturing from wafers to final finished goods.
Amit was an early employee and key technical contributor at Phasebridge Inc. (acquired by Emcore), a start up involved in high-speed optical communications, and a member of technical staff at Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation, working on design of 40Gbps circuits for optical communications. He has a Ph.D. and MSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an MBA from the Anderson School of Business at UCLA.
Mahesh Karanth is the chief financial officer. He is responsible for leading Rockley Photonics’ finance, legal and IT teams. Mahesh is a performance-driven financial executive with extensive experience in growth-oriented technology companies. He has a proven track record in raising financing, implementing IPOs and completing complex financial transactions.
Mahesh was most recently Chief Financial Officer for Enlightened Inc., an enterprise developing advanced lighting control systems. Prior to this, he was CFO for Invensense, a pioneer in MEMS sensor technology, where he led the company’s expansion of finance, administration and operations leading up to its IPO in 2010.
Prior to Invensense, Mahesh was the CFO for Telsima, which was successfully sold to Harris Stratex Networks. During the preceding nine-year period at Compaq, Mahesh held several senior roles including M&A, treasury and corporate development. He executed five large acquisitions over that period, set up multiple international operations and filed S1 to take Japan subsidiaries public on Nikkei stock exchange. After Compaq’s acquisition by HP, he led corporate development for the customer services group and several major services acquisitions of public listed companies in India and UK. He started his career at Ernst and Young, working in Singapore, Japan and India, progressing to partner.
Mahesh holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Commerce & Finance, certifications as a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Corporate Secretary, and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Ara Nazarian, Executive VP of Engineering, is responsible for leading IC Design, Systems & Software Engineering, and the Electronics/Photonics Design Automation CAD groups.
Prior to joining Rockley, Ara held executive engineering positions at Broadcom, Marvell Semiconductor, and Western Digital. He also co-founded two start-up companies, Versifi and Peripheral Technologies. Ara is an innovative leader who has been recognized for growing and leading top talent engineering teams, and successfully developing and delivering high volume production for mobile cellular Systems on Chips (SoCs), set-top box SoCs, modems, SSDs, HDDs, power management devices and software products.
Ara has authored a technical leadership book titled “Technical Minds,” and holds more than 20 U.S. patents. He holds BSEE and MSEE degrees from California State University, Los Angeles.
Hooman Abediasl is the VP of Product Engineering for Rockley Photonics.
Hooman brings years of experience in silicon photonics, optical sensors, and silicon photonics (SiP) sensing products. He leads a rapidly growing team responsible for all sensing product development.
Hooman has been an industry contributor for numerous years, authoring and co-authoring several articles, such as the 2015 highly cited world record demonstration and ground-breaking publication, “Monolithic optical phased-array transceiver in a standard SOI CMOS process.” He joined Rockley Photonics in 2014.
Hooman is the winner of the Nokia Bell Labs 1st prize in 2016 for his work on “Large-Scale Plasmonic Optical Phased Array – an architectural innovation for nanodevices.” He also received prestigious Annenberg Fellowship at the University of Southern California in 2010 and has been awarded numerous other honors, such as the best Ph.D. dissertation thesis of Viterbi School of Engineering in 2017.
Hooman holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California, as well as a Master of Science degree and Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Systems and Electrical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran.
Albert “Al” Benzoni is the VP of Silicon Photonics Engineering for Rockley Photonics.
Al currently leads the company’s growth in the areas of Silicon PIC and III-V Device Design & Integration, including Packaging, Test, and Reliability.
Al brings over 30 years of industry, technical, and leadership experience in silicon photonics and OE engineering.
Prior to joining Rockley, Al served as VP Engineering of Silicon Photonics Development at Mellanox Technologies (acquired by Nvidia). Al held key leadership roles at Hoya Xponent (acquired), including VP of Engineering, VP of Strategic Development, and VP of Business Development. Earlier in his career, he held the role of Senior Technical Manager for Lucent Technologies and was Director OE Module Engineering at Ortel (acquired by Lucent). Al began his career as Member of Technical Staff for AT&T Bell Labs.
Al holds over 20 US issued patents and corresponding international patents. He has published multiple industry papers, presented short courses, and has been an invited speaker at industry events.
Al holds a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University and Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Sanjiv Kapoor is the VP of Process Development for Rockley Photonics.
Sanjiv is responsible for the execution of the company’s Silicon Photonics process roadmap, including developing process flows, leading process development, and qualifying foundries for mass production.
Sanjiv brings over 25 years of technical and leadership experience in product development and supplier management at startups and large public companies in the area of semiconductors, clean tech, flexible electronics, and component development for defense applications.
Prior to joining Rockley, Sanjiv served as Senior Director of Foundry Operations for TDK InvenSense, where he was responsible for global foundry process development, new product launch, and mass manufacturing.
Before TDK InvenSense, Sanjiv held the role of Director of Technology Development at Lenovo MEMS systems lab, where he led Lenovo’s fingerprint sensor development group. Prior to that, Sanjiv held senior leadership positions of increasing responsibility with Bloom Energy, Fidelica Microsystems, Vitex, and WJ Communications.
Sanjiv holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University.
David Nelson is the VP of Integrated Circuit Design for Rockley Photonics.
Since first joining Rockley in 2015, David has been successfully leading the IC Design Team in the development of high-performance, very low-power transceiver circuits.
Prior to joining Rockley, David served as principal engineer at Intel, where he designed their next-generation products, including the high-speed transceiver chipset used in the Intel 100G silicon photonics transceiver. Prior to Intel, David designed the Light Peak product for Intel-Apple and the first 10G SFP+ transceiver chipset used by Google in high volumes. Early in his career, David was also the founder and CEO of Comlinear Corporation until it was acquired by National Semiconductor Corporation. Throughout the course of his 40-year technical career, David has held senior leadership positions with small and large companies including Cirrus Logic, Conexant Semiconductor, and PicoLight.
David holds over 20 U.S. patents, has numerous patents pending, and has been published in various technical journals.
David holds a M.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles and a B.Sc. degree in Physics from Brigham Young University.
Roozbeh Parsa is the VP of Sales and Marketing for Rockley Photonics.
As the head of commercial team, Roozbeh leads product strategy, management, sales, marketing, and business development for Rockley’s wellness and healthcare products. He is responsible for setting product roadmap, customer sourcing, closing, and management.
Roozbeh brings over 20 years of experience in breakthrough innovations in the fields of engineering and sensor technology platform with applications in medical, navigation, and geophysical domains.
Prior to joining Rockley in 2017, Roozbeh served as General Manager, Product Line Director at Texas Instruments where he managed and directed the engineering, new business development, and marketing teams and helped define end-to-end marketing strategies, including market validation, opportunity evaluation, engagement model, pricing strategies, and creative approaches to increase net revenue. Early in his career, Roozbeh held various technical roles at cutting edge semiconductor companies.
Roozbeh has authored and co-authored over 25 U.S. patents and has been published in various technical journals.
Roozbeh holds a Ph.D. and Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Casimir “Cas” Wierzynski is the VP of Sensing Cloud and AI Product for Rockley Photonics.
Cas leads the company’s cloud and AI product development and engineering with a focus on healthcare and wellness applications. He is responsible for defining product vision, strategy, and objectives, including driving execution cross-functionally within the broader organization.
With over 27 years of business, finance, and neuroscience experience, Cas leads highly complex technology and engineering teams to solve high-impact problems using AI. Prior to joining Rockley, Cas served as Senior Director of the AI Product Group at Intel Corporation where he led the effort to identify and incubate emerging technologies for next-generation AI systems. Prior to Intel, Cas held the role of Autonomy Lead and Neuromorphic Systems Lead at Qualcomm and was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs.
Cas holds multiple U.S. patents and patents pending in the fields of autonomous robotics, neuromorphic computing, and machine learning. Cas has also authored numerous industry articles and academic publications, including in Neuron, Optics Express, and Fortune and in leading computer science conferences.
Cas holds a Ph.D. in Computation & Neural Systems from the California Institute of Technology, a BA in Mathematics from Cambridge University, and a SB, SM, in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Cas has proficiency in multiple languages, including English, French, German and Spanish.
Aaron Zilkie is the VP of R&D for Rockley Photonics and a Co-Founder.
Aaron led the early core photonic platform development at Rockley Photonics and currently leads Rockley’s internal technology/R&D team developing novel integrated photonics technologies for high-growth product solutions. He is also responsible for the IP portfolio development.
Aaron brings over 22 years of experience and leadership in technology innovation, R&D, new product development, and IP portfolio development in a broad range of optics and photonics application areas including biosensing, healthcare monitoring, 3D imaging, LiDAR, data communications, high-performance computing, and fiber optic networks.
Prior to Rockley, Aaron served as Technical Program Manager at Kotura/Mellanox Technologies, where he led development of the silicon photonics hybrid laser technology. Prior to that, he was a Senior Optical Scientist at Oclaro, Inc., where he was lead engineer for new product introduction of a variety of optical modules and helped lead the development of new products from early phase through production ramp.
Aaron holds over 40 granted U.S. patents, has authored numerous journal publications and white papers, and has given numerous invited conference presentations on Rockley’s technology.
Aaron has a Ph.D. and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (Photonics) from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Manitoba.
Board of Directors
Caroline Brown is a member of the board of directors and chair of the audit committee. She has served as senior independent director and audit chair for several AIM businesses and currently holds several non-executive directorships. She has over 18 years of experience in driving strategic growth and leading high performing teams in the technology and professional services sectors, including roles with Merrill Lynch (New York), UBS, and HSBC.
Caroline is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and holds a first-class degree and PhD in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, and an MBA from the Cass Business School, University of London.
John Burgess brings extensive experience to the board regarding legal and organizational issues faced by growing technology companies, including raising capital, completing mergers and acquisitions and international operations.
John practised law at the global firm of WilmerHale for over 37 years. During that time, he represented clients in matters focusing on securities law, including public and private securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, licensing and strategic partnerships. He also advised on a range of international matters, including public and private placements for overseas issuers, inward and outward bound acquisition transactions, and distribution and licensing arrangements.
He handled more than 100 IPOs and follow-on offerings for both U.S. and foreign issuers. John was named one of the top five IPO lawyers in the United States in 2000 by the IPO Reporter, was regularly listed in “Best Lawyers in America” and in 2014 was named “Capital Markets Lawyer of the Year” in Boston. Throughout the period, he focused on representing high technology clients including hardware, software, design tool and communications companies.
After retiring, he joined the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University as Professor of Practice. A graduate of Yale University (B.A. in history, summa cum laude) and Harvard Law School (JD, cum laude), he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Fellow of Branford College at Yale University, and former President of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. He has lectured on international mergers and securities law at the University of Iowa and Peking University School of Transnational Law. He is a permanent lecturer at St. Gallen University in Switzerland.
Markku Hirvonen is a member of the board for Rockley Photonics. He brings significant high tech and industrial hands-on experience as a result of working in executive teams for multinational corporations, including Nokia. He also brings valuable experience from developing VTI Technologies into one of the most highly valued MEMS sensor companies. He is currently working intensively across the Finnish high-tech industry and with a number of start-ups.
He holds several other positions, including entrepreneur and chief executive of Hirvonenventures Oy since 2013; member of the board of Safera Oy; member of the advisory board for Gorilla Acceleration Fund and industrial advisor in EQT’s Industrial Network.
Markku was president and CEO of VTI Technologies Oy (now Murata Electronics Oy) from 2007-2013. During that time, he led the company renewal process, making the company profitable again and leading it to a successful exit. The company was sold in 2011 to Murata Manufacturing for an enterprise value of EUR 195 million.
Overall, he has more than 30 years’ experience working with international high-tech businesses, including executive positions with Nokia and Fujitsu Siemens Computers.
Markku graduated in 1986 with a B.Sc. in Telecommunications. He studied International Business in the Ashridge Management College, UK, during 1995 – 1996.
As a recognized leader is his field, Jianqiang has served as the general manager at Hengxin Semitech. Prior to Hengxin, he worked at the Hengtong Group for twelve years, where he held several senior leadership and engineering positions, including vice president or general manager for a number of different divisions.
Jianqiang holds a Bachelor’s degree in computer science from Nanjing University, a Master’s degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from the University of Science and Technology of China, and an Executive Master of Business (EMBA) degree from the Harbin Institute of Technology.
Andy Parker is the Science Partner at Ahren Innovation Capital and CERN Leader. Also, at Cambridge University, he is Head of the Cavendish Laboratory, Professor of High Energy Physics, and the Head of the Physics Department. He is an expert in high energy physics, extra space dimensions, quantum-sized black holes, and supersymmetry, with over 500 publications to his name.
He is a founder of the ATLAS experiment for the Large Hadron Collider and has commercially developed silicon detectors, fast electronics, large software systems, and pattern recognition, and he has pioneered computational radiotherapy and artificial photosynthesis. Andy’s awards include the Pilkington Prize for excellence.
Robert Rickman brings to the board experience building early stage businesses and, as a director of several established companies, he is pivotal in facilitating success. His knowledge spans a wide range of industries, countries, management, shareholder and capital structures.
He has been a director of the London listed Schroder UK Midcap Investment Trust since 2011. He is currently a director of a number of private companies, including a fund investing in Chinese technology businesses and a company providing investment management and third-party advisory services in China.
From 2012 to 2017 he was director and chairman of the remunerations committee of Carclo plc, a London listed diversified engineering company with operations worldwide. Robert was a director of London quoted Cambium Global Timberland Ltd from 2007 to 2014. He was a director of Highland Timber plc, also listed in London from 2001 to 2007. From 1994 to 2004 he was a director of Bookham Technology PLC, during which time the silicon photonics company went from start up to listed in the FTSE 100, and on Nasdaq, with operations Worldwide. From 1983 to 1999 he was a director of FIM Services Ltd a specialist fund management business. He is an associate of the Said Business School of Oxford University and has M.A. and M.Sc. degrees from Oxford.
Sunit Rikhi joined the board of Rockley Photonics in August, 2017. He also serves as an executive consultant to the company’s management. Sunit brings 35 years of semiconductor industry experience to help Rockley Photonics strengthen its organization, scale its silicon photonics process and build strategic relationships within the industry.
Until 2015, Sunit was Vice President and General Manager of Intel Custom Foundry, a business he pioneered in 2008 to serve fabless design companies with Intel’s leading-edge manufacturing technologies. In his 31-year Intel career, Sunit led several other transformational initiatives including designing the industry’s first hierarchical layout verification system, pioneering the fully automated 300mm silicon wafer manufacturing systems, and building computational lithography capability for sub-90nm Moore’s Law scaling.
After leaving Intel, Sunit co-founded yoR Labs Inc., a medical imaging solutions company. He serves as the company’s chief strategy officer and board member.
Sunit is a board member of the Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute (cc-TDI), a non-profit on a mission to make childhood cancer universally survivable, by translating scientific discovery into clinical trials.
In 2015, Sunit founded Reach for Infinity LLC, through which he channels his passion for management development and coaching.
Sunit is a graduate of University of Washington (MSEE) and Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BSEE).