Ayar Labs raises $130 million in Series C funding

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Ayar Labs, a specialist in chip-to-chip optical connectivity, has secured $130 million in additional financing to drive the commercialisation of its breakthrough optical I/O solution.

Led by Boardman Bay Capital Management, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and NVIDIA entered this investment round, joining existing strategic investors Applied Ventures, GlobalFoundries, Intel Capital, and Lockheed Martin Ventures.

 “As a successful technology-focused crossover fund operating for over a decade, Ayar Labs represents our largest private investment to date," said Will Graves, Chief Investment Officer at Boardman Bay Capital Management. "We believe that silicon photonics-based optical interconnects in the data centre and telecommunications markets represent a massive new opportunity and that Ayar Labs is the leader in this emerging space with proven technology and the right ecosystem partners and strategy.”

“Optical connectivity will be important to scale accelerated computing clusters to meet the fast-growing demands of AI and HPC workloads,” explained Bill Dally, Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President 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’ optical I/O solution works by eliminating the bottlenecks associated with system bandwidth, power consumption, latency, and reach, dramatically improving existing system architectures and enabling new solutions for artificial intelligence (AI), high performance computing (HPC), cloud, telecommunications, aerospace, and remote sensing applications.

With the new investment, Ayar Labs said that it would be ramping up production and securing supply chain partners – it has previously announced multi-year strategic collaborations with Lumentum and Macom, both leaders in optical and photonic products, as well as GlobalFoundries on its GF Fotonix platform.                                                                                                                                 

“Ayar Labs’ highly differentiated technology is crucial to supporting the high-performance computing architectures of the future,” said Paul Glaser, Vice President and 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.”

“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,” said Charles Wuischpard, CEO of Ayar Labs. “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 end of 2022.