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Agnelli dynasty invests £21m in UK photonic computing firm

The Italian industrial conglomerate Agnelli has led a £21m Series A round in British company Optalysys.

The Leeds-based chip designer will use the funds to accelerate the development of its Enable photonic computing technology. This has the potential to unlock a new form of secure processing known as Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE).

Optalysys says FHE is a form of quantum-secure cryptography that closes the last vulnerability in cloud systems: it does not require the data to be decrypted before it can be processed. This means sensitive data to be sent along untrusted networks.

The traditional challenge of this tech was the time it takes to process encrypted data – around one million times longer than unencrypted data. Optalysys says its photonic semiconductor allows encrypted data to be processed at similar speeds to its unencrypted form.

The investment will allow the company to launch its technology on a cloud-based service model, in partnership with system integrators and service providers.

Dr Nick New, co-founder of Optalysys, said: “Fully Homomorphic Encryption has the power to unlock the full value of data – but despite its advantages, it is currently unviable for anything beyond basic processes. This is where Optalysys comes in. Our Enable technology allows us to turbo boost the workflows and address the underlying bottlenecks that hold FHE back.

“It is a very exciting moment for Optalysys and it’s fantastic to have the backing of such prestigious deep tech investors to help us reach our goals. We have turned optical computing on its head. What’s more, FHE is just the starting point for where our technology can go.”

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July 23 2024 1:29 am V22.5.13-1