24 May 2023
Ayar Labs adds $25m in expansion of $130m Series C funding round
Silicon photonics-based chip-to-chip optical connectivity firm Ayar Labs of Santa Clara, CA, USA has raised an additional $25m in Series C1 funding, bringing its total Series C raise to $155m. The oversubscribed up-round was led by new investor Capital TEN. VentureTech Alliance also entered the Series C expansion that included participation by previous investors Boardman Bay Capital Management, IAG Capital Partners, NVIDIA, and Tyche Partners. Past strategic and financial investors include Applied Ventures, GlobalFoundries, Hewlett Packard Pathfinder, Intel Capital and Lockheed Martin Ventures.
“Future computing solutions will include large-scale use of silicon photonics for data communications, and have been following Ayar Labs for some time now,” comments 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.”
Picture: Ayar Labs’ TeraPHY optical I/O chiplet wafer. Photo courtesy of Ayar Labs.
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, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Optical I/O will also impact other areas that require rapid transfer of data, such as cloud and data center, telecommunications, and aerospace and defense.
“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,” says Ayar Labs’ CEO Charles Wuischpard.
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 firm’s product offerings and development efforts.
NVIDIA, which participated in Ayar Labs’ earlier Series C raise in April 2022, increased its investment in the company. “NVIDIA is reimagining the data center with integrated hardware, software and networking for accelerated computing,” says Craig Thompson, VP of business development for NVIDIA’s Networking business unit. “Generative AI models with trillions of parameters are accelerating demand for this platform, which is why we are increasing our investment in Ayar Labs.”
Recently named one of America’s Best Startup Employers by Forbes, the funds will also help the firm to increase its hiring plans by up to 50% this year. Also in recent months, Ayar was recognized as an honoree in Fast Company’s most recent ‘Next Big Things in Tech’ awards. In addition, co-founder, chief technology officer & senior VP of engineering Mark Wade was recently appointed to Global Semiconductor Alliance’s CTO Council. Wade was also recently named to Electro Optics’ inaugural ‘The Photonics 100 2023’ list.
Ayar Labs raises $130m in Series C funding round