27 April 2022
Ayar Labs raises $130m in Series C funding round
Ayar Labs of Santa Clara, CA, USA has secured $130m in additional financing led by Boardman Bay Capital Management to drive the commercialization of its integrated optical I/O solution, which is targeted at artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, high-performance computing (HPC), 5G, and light detection & ranging (LIDAR) applications.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and NVIDIA entered this investment round, joining existing strategic investors Applied Ventures LLC, GlobalFoundries, Intel Capital, and Lockheed Martin Ventures. Other new strategic and financial investors 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.
“As a successful technology-focused crossover fund operating for over a decade, Ayar Labs represents our largest private investment to date,” says Will Graves, chief investment officer at Boardman Bay Capital Management. “We believe that silicon photonics-based optical interconnects in the data-center and telecommunications markets represent a massive new opportunity and that Ayar Labs is the leader in this emerging space with proven technology, a fantastic team, and the right ecosystem partners and strategy,” he comments.
“Optical connectivity will be important to scale accelerated computing clusters to meet the fast-growing demands of AI and HPC workloads,” notes Bill Dally, chief scientist & senior VP of research at NVIDIA. “Ayar Labs has unique optical I/O technology that meets the needs of scaling next-generation silicon photonics-based architectures for AI.”
Ayar Labs says that its optical I/O solution eliminates the bottlenecks associated with system bandwidth, power consumption, latency and reach, dramatically improving existing system architectures and enabling new, previously unrealizable solutions for AI, HPC, cloud, telecommunications, aerospace and remote sensing applications. With the new investment, Ayar Labs is ramping production and securing supply chain partners, as signaled by previously announced multi-year strategic collaborations with optical and photonic product makers Lumentum and MACOM as well as GlobalFoundries on its new GF Fotonix platform.
“Ayar Labs’ highly differentiated technology is crucial to supporting the high-performance computing architectures of the future,” believes Paul Glaser, VP & head of Hewlett Packard Pathfinder, HPE’s venture arm. “Ayar Labs represents a strategic investment opportunity for HPE to help our customers more efficiently derive greater insights and value from their data,” he adds.
“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,” says Ayar Labs’ CEO Charles Wuischpard. “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 commercial shipments under contract and expects to ship thousands of units of its in-package optical interconnect by the end of this year.