AES Semigas


12 September 2023

Astrape Networks secures €1.6m in pre-seed funding

Astrape Networks — a startup founded in 2022 at the High Tech Campus, Eindhoven, The Netherlands that uses integrated photonics to build optical networks — has secured a pre-seed funding round of €1.6m from a consortium of investors and loan providers, including Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij (BOM), Rabobank, Brabant Startup Fonds, TTT Smart Industries, Shift Invest and PhotonDelta.

Astrape says that it can hence begin to develop the technology needed to drive the data centers and optical networks of the future, specifically using photonic integrated circuits (PICs) to build faster, cooler and more energy-efficient data centers.

Since existing data networks convert electronic signals into optical signals and back again multiple times, switching between electrical and optical signals consumes large amounts of energy in data centers, especially as there are estimated to be more than 5 billion Internet users in 2023. Astrape therefore aims to eliminate multiple electrical-optical conversions by only converting to optical at the network edge. At current network speeds, that would generate an estimated energy savings of 20%. Based on anticipated future speeds, that could rise to around 60%.

“With the first investment, we will be able to demonstrate the technology in a relevant environment, taking it from laboratory scale to engineering scale,” says CEO Francesco Pessolano. “This will show that the technology is viable and keeps its performance and power saving promises in an industrial setting,” he adds. “The investment is key for building a strong core engineering team in networking and photonics that will enable us to develop further towards our first product.”

The result of years of R&D at the Eindhoven University of Technology (yielding technology that was demonstrated there in 2021), Astrape was launched through a venture building program by European deep-tech venture builder HighTechXL and Netherlands-based photonic chip industry growth accelerator PhotonDelta, with support from The Gate – a launch-pad for tech startups in Brainport Eindhoven.

“This investment is an important endorsement for the photonics venture building program set up by HighTechXL and PhotonDelta,” comments PhotonDelta’s chief financial officer Laurens Weers. “The joint program enables startups working with integrated photonics — such as Astrape Networks — to get off the ground, create new use-cases for the technology and strengthen the Netherlands’ position as a world leader in integrated photonics.”

See related items:

PhotonDelta gains €1.1bn funding, including €470m from Netherlands’ National Growth Fund

Tags: PIC