AES Semigas


2 April 2024

Celestial AI closes $175m Series C funding round

After raising $100m in a Series B funding round at the end of June 2023, Celestial AI of Santa Clara, CA, USA has raised $175m in a Series C funding round led by Thomas Tull’s US Innovative Technology Fund (USIT), joined by new and existing investors including AMD Ventures, Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), Temasek, Temasek’s subsidiary Xora Innovation, IAG Capital Partners, Samsung Catalyst, Smart Global Holdings (SGH), Porsche Automobil Holding SE, Engine Ventures, M-Ventures and Tyche Partners.

Celestial AI’s Photonic Fabric optical interconnect technology platform aims to provide foundational technology for optically scalable, disaggregated data-center compute and memory to unleash advances in AI with sustainable and profitable business models.

“This highly oversubscribed financing round is another testament to Celestial AI’s position to disrupt the market, and reflects the magnitude of business opportunity before us,” reckons founder & CEO Dave Lazovsky. “Today’s advanced AI models require exponentially more I/O bandwidth and memory capacity but are currently constrained by low bandwidth and high latency,” he adds. “Our Photonic Fabric technology is rapidly becoming the de facto standard for accelerated computing optical interconnectivity, driven by unparalleled performance and efficiency.”

Amid the explosive growth in demand for generative AI applications and next-generation data centers, hyperscalers are increasingly constrained by utility power availability, memory capacity and high cost of operation. Celestial AI says that its Photonic Fabric optical interconnect technology addresses these critical challenges by revolutionizing memory and compute fabrics, providing the foundational technology for users to continue making advances in AI while maintaining scalable, sustainable and profitable business models. This latest round of funding will enable Celestial AI to execute multiple large-scale customer collaborations focused on commercializing its Photonic Fabric technology platform.

“As AI continues to rapidly evolve, it’s imperative that the US remains a global leader in AI innovation,” says USIT’s chairman Thomas Tull. “The sophisticated work Celestial AI is doing on interconnectivity is critical to addressing key concerns across performance and energy efficiency to ensure the industry has the necessary infrastructure to continue to innovate and scale,” he believes.

Celestial AI’s Photonic Fabric is claimed to be the industry’s only optical connectivity solution that enables the disaggregation of compute and memory, which allows each component to be leveraged and scaled most effectively. The technology delivers over 25x greater bandwidth and memory capacity while reducing latency and power consumption by up to 10x compared with existing optical interconnect alternatives and copper.

“The exponential growth of AI models coupled with successful validation of Celestial AI's Photonic Fabric technology in silicon has led to tremendous demand for this technology by hyperscalers,” says Chase Koch, founder of KDT & executive VP at Koch Industries. “The potential of this technology to dramatically reduce the power consumption for processing extensive AI workloads enables a new era of sustainable and scalable compute capacity.”

Photonic Fabric adopted by lead hyperscaler customers

After successful validation of the Photonic Fabric silicon that implements a complete link (electrical–optical–electrical) during summer 2023, hyperscaler customers and semiconductor customers are now designing in the Photonic Fabric optical chiplets as an initial phase of technology adoption. This integration requires no software change and is directly compatible with customer logical protocols and existing multi-chip packaging flows. The roadmap to deeper integration of Photonic Fabric technology in customers’ system architectures offers as much as a 25x increase in off-package bandwidth compared with other available state-of-the-art technologies, it is reckoned.

“The surge in demand for our Photonic Fabric is the product of having the right technology, the right team and the right customer engagement model,” says co-founder & CEO Dave Lazovsky. “We are experiencing broad customer adoption resulting from our full-stack technology offerings, providing electrical-optical-electrical links that deliver data at the bandwidth, latency, bit-error rate (BER) and power required, compatible with the logical protocols of our customer’s AI accelerators and GPUs,” he adds. “Deep strategic collaborations with hyperscale data-center customers focused on optimizing system-level accelerated computing architectures are a prerequisite for these solutions.”

To accelerate customer adoption of the memory and compute fabric, Celestial AI is cultivating a Photonic Fabric ecosystem. These tier-1 partnerships consist of custom silicon/ASIC design services including Broadcom, system integrators, HBM and packaging suppliers including Samsung.

“Silicon photonics technologies are set to significantly improve chip-to-chip and chip-to-memory interconnect,” comments Jim Elliott, executive VP & head of US Memory Business at Samsung Electronics. “Celestial AI’s Photonic Fabric has the potential to eliminate the ‘Memory Wall’ by connecting large amounts of shared memory at the full speed of HBM, achieving nanosecond-level latencies for AI training and inferencing.”

Celestial AI presented the Photonic Fabric at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference & Exposition (OFC 2024) in San Diego, CA, USA (25–28 March).

See related items:

Celestial AI raises $100m in Series B funding

Tags: Silicon photonics



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