Ayar Labs raises $130m for silicon photonics optical I/O

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Credit: Ayar Labs

Ayar Labs has secured $130 million to drive the commercialisation of its optical I/O solution for new computing architectures.

The investment round was led by Boardman Bay Capital Management, with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Nvidia joining existing strategic investors Applied Ventures LLC, GlobalFoundries, Intel Capital, and Lockheed Martin Ventures.

Bill Dally, chief scientist and senior vice president of research at Nvidia, commented: ‘Optical connectivity will be important to scale accelerated computing clusters to meet the fast-growing demands of AI and HPC workloads. Ayar Labs has unique optical I/O technology that meets the needs of scaling next-generation silicon photonics-based architectures for artificial intelligence (AI).’

Ayar Labs’ optical I/O solution eliminates the bottlenecks associated with system bandwidth, power consumption, latency, and reach, improving existing system architectures and enabling new, previously unrealisable solutions for AI, high performance computing, cloud, telecommunications, aerospace, and remote sensing applications. 

With this new investment, Ayar Labs is ramping production and securing supply chain partners, as signalled by previously announced multi-year strategic collaborations with Lumentum and Macom, both leaders in optical and photonic products, as well as GlobalFoundries on its new GF Fotonix platform.

Paul Glaser, vice president and head of Hewlett Packard Pathfinder, HPE’s venture arm, said: ‘Ayar Labs’ highly differentiated technology is crucial to supporting the high-performance computing architectures of the future. Ayar Labs represents a strategic investment opportunity for HPE to help our customers more efficiently derive greater insights and value from their data.’

Charles Wuischpard, CEO of Ayar Labs, added: ‘The overall financing is much larger than we originally targeted, underscoring the market opportunity for optical I/O and Ayar Labs’ leadership position in silicon photonics-based interconnect solutions. This financing allows us to fully qualify our solution against industry standards for quality and reliability and scale production starting this year.’

Ayar Labs also announced that it made its first volume of commercial shipments under contract and expects to ship thousands of units of its in-package optical interconnect by the end of the year.

Other new strategic and financial investors participating in the round include Agave SPV, Atreides Capital, Berkeley Frontier Fund, IAG Capital Partners, Infinitum Capital, Nautilus Venture Partners, and Tyche Partners. They join existing investors such as BlueSky Capital, Founders Fund, Playground Global, and TechU Venture Partners.