Photonics specialist Lightmatter raises $154m
US-based startup Lightmatter has secured series D funding worth USD 154 million from investors including Google Ventures.
The company says it will deploy the finance to accelerate its development of photonic chips, which use light rather than electrical signals to transmit data and put circuits on wafers. The technique has the potential to solve the reliability problems that come with reducing chip sizes.
When processors become smaller, signals can bleed between the chips. This problem doesn’t exist when photons propagate the signals. And photonics tools are smaller and more affordable than conventional EUV tools, which can cost millions of dollars and fill up a small room.
Now that we are in the era of large language model AI, demand is growing for higher processor performance at lower cost. This makes Lightmatter, which provides a full stack of photonics-based hardware and software solutions, an attractive target for investors.
Hence this new round. The funding was led by Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of Alphabet Inc., and Viking Global Investors. It follows the company’s Series C financing round in May, which raised USD 154 million. The new round brings the total to more than USD 420 million.
“Rapid progress in artificial intelligence is forcing computing infrastructure to improve at an unprecedented rate. The energy costs of this growth are significant, even on a planetary scale,” said Lightmatter co-founder and CEO, Nick Harris. “Generative AI and supercomputing will be transformed by photonic technologies in the coming years, and our investors, partners, and customers are aligned with Lightmatter’s mission of enabling the future of computing infrastructure with photonics.”
Lightmatter said it has doubled its headcount to around 150, and plans to open an office in Toronto in 2024 in addition to its Boston location.