iPronics looks to accelerate the adoption of programmable photonic chips

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iPronics, a photonic computing company that has developed the first general-purpose photonic processor that is reconfigurable by software, has announced a €3.7m investment led by Amadeus Capital Partners, with participation from Caixa Capital Risc.

Emerging technology trends in autonomous vehicles and LIDAR, 5G signal processing, deep learning and AI, cyber security, DNA sequencing, and drug discovery now require much faster, more flexible, power-efficient computation and while advanced electronic chips, such as GPUs, TPUs or FPGAs, have increased their capabilities, they still cannot keep up with performance requirements.

Computational photonics is now becoming an important solution in this space as it provides lower latency, lower power consumption (photons/light consume less energy than electrons), higher bandwidth, and higher density.

iPronics has introduced a new generation of photonic circuits where common hardware can be programmed using software for a wide variety of applications through a mesh of on-chip waveguides and tunable beam couplers.

The reconfigurability of the chip unlocks new commercial applications by delivering faster time to market with lower total cost and risk mitigation while delivering on the promises of photonic processing: lower power consumption and latency, and faster computational speed. It also helps to democratise the adoption of photonic technology by enabling its use by software engineers without expertise in hardware or photonics.

The company, a spinoff of the Technical University of Valencia and beneficiary of an EIC Transition Grant, has developed seven patents on the technology and has published at least four seminal papers in the journal Nature.

The new funding will be used to expand the engineering team and product development to bring to market the company’s Field Programmable Photonic Gate Array (FPPGA) chip.

“We know that photonic computing is the answer to many of the bottlenecks of new killer applications but designing and building one photonic chip for each of those applications is not practical,” explained Prof. Jose Capmany, Fellow of the IEEE and Optical Society of America, and co-founder of iPronics. “Reconfigurability of photonic chips with software is the answer.”

Amelia Armour, Partner at Amadeus Capital Partners, added, “As long term investors in disruptive chip design technology, we are excited to back the team that pioneered the concept of programmable photonics and first demonstrated it in the lab. We look forward to helping the team to bring the chip to market at scale”.

Previous strategic angel investors include successful tech executives and entrepreneurs from Google, Facebook, Carto, Freshly, Endeavor, Oracle, Deloitte, Ferrovial, and Clicars among others. The company had previously received €1m in funding from co-founder and tech entrepreneur Inaki Berenguer.