ChatGPT craze drives Ayar Labs to add $25m in C1 round.
US optical interconnect startup Ayar Labs has raised $25m in a ‘C1’ round to accelerate the rollout of its technology for data centre chips to meet the demands of the latest AI.
The company started its C Series of funding in April 2022, which raised $130m. In total the company has raised $220m since 2015.
This new round was led by new investor Capital TEN and included VentureTech Alliance as well as previous investors Boardman Bay Capital Management, IAG Capital Partners, Nvidia, and Tyche Partners. Existing strategic and financial investors include Applied Ventures, GlobalFoundries, Hewlett Packard Pathfinder, Intel Capital and Lockheed Martin Ventures.
Ayar Labs’ patented optical I/O approach uses industry-standard, cost-effective silicon processing techniques to replace traditional electrical I/O with fast, high-density, low power optical I/O chiplets and multi-wavelength light sources. Moving data between chips using light instead of electricity breaks the performance, power, and distance limitations of copper interconnect, critical for latency-sensitive applications such as high performance computing, AI and machine learning. Optical I/O will also impact other areas that require rapid transfer of data, such as cloud and data centre, telecommunications, and aerospace and defence.
The company is benefitting from the interest in generative AI such as chatGPT and GPT4.0 which needs higher performance chip in the data centre.
“Nvidia is reimagining the data centre with integrated hardware, software and networking for accelerated computing,” said Craig Thompson, Vice President of Business Development, Networking Business Unit at Nvidia. “Generative AI models with trillions of parameters are accelerating demand for this platform, which is why we are increasing our investment in Ayar Labs.”
“We believe that future computing solutions will include large-scale use of silicon photonics for data communications, and have been following Ayar Labs for some time now,” said Pin-Nan Tseng, General Partner at Capital TEN. “Given our deep expertise in the semiconductor industry and the Taiwan semiconductor ecosystem, we believe Ayar Labs has the technology solution, people, capital, and broad support to lead in the transition from copper to optical interconnects for scale-out computing and memory applications.”
“We’re extremely pleased with the ongoing interest and financing we’ve received from leaders in the semiconductor industry,” said Charles Wuischpard, CEO of Ayar Labs. “This C1 adds sophisticated investor partners that will allow us to accelerate our strategic roadmap, and is further validation of our technology and plan to bring silicon photonics-based interconnect solutions to market at scale.”
Ayar Labs will use the funds to accelerate the implementation and commercialization of its optical I/O solutions to address the power consumption, latency, reach and system bandwidth bottlenecks that threaten future advances in generative AI, while also expanding the company’s product offerings and development efforts.