Photonic processor startup Lightmatter lands $154 million in Series C funding

June 1, 2023
Boston-based Lightmatter seeks to develop a photonic approach to the support of generative-AI-focused computing requirements.

Venture capital firm SIP Global Partners says it has teamed with Aliya Capital Partners to co-lead a $154 million Series C funding round for Lightmatter, a startup focused on development of photonic processors, interconnect, and related software. Other participants in the round include Fidelity Management & Research Company, Viking Global Investors, GV (Google Ventures), HPE Pathfinder and existing investors.

Boston-based Lightmatter seeks to develop a photonic approach to the support of generative-AI-focused computing requirements as well as high-performance computing (HPC), advanced robotics, and communications. The company has already unveiled the Envise photonic processor chip as well as the Passage interconnect fabric towards these ends (see Lightmatter touts optical processor chip for artificial intelligence applications and Lightmatter unveils Passage wafer-scale, programmable photonic interconnect fabric), as well as Idiom enabling software.

“Rapid progress in artificial intelligence is forcing computing infrastructure to improve at an unprecedented rate. The energy costs of this growth are significant on a planetary scale,” said Lightmatter’s co-founder and CEO, Nick Harris. “Generative AI and supercomputing will be transformed by photonic technologies in the coming years. We look forward to enabling the Japanese AI ecosystem with Lightmatter’s next-generation computing technologies.”

“Lightmatter’s unique approach to harnessing the power of photonics will drive the enormous compute required for generative AI. The massive global growth in these technologies and use cases is at the forefront of this absolutely essential paradigm shift,” added Jeffrey Smith, general partner of SIP Global Partners. “We are especially excited to see LM’s early entry into the Japanese market. We expect them to play a leading role as Japanese AI use cases grow exponentially.”

SIP Global Partners participated in Lightmatter’s 2021 $80 million Series B funding round, which was led by Viking Global Investors. The startup also raised $33 million in Series A funding, including a $22 million Series A-1 funding round announced in February 2019. In addition to the participants listed above, previous investors include Lockheed Martin, Matrix Partners, and Spark Capital.

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About the Author

Stephen Hardy | Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report, part of the Lighting & Technology Group at Endeavor Business Media. Stephen is responsible for establishing and executing editorial strategy across the both brands’ websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products. He has covered the fiber-optics space for more than 20 years, and communications and technology for more than 35 years. During his tenure, Lightwave has received awards from Folio: and the American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) for editorial excellence. Prior to joining Lightwave in 1997, Stephen worked for Telecommunications magazine and the Journal of Electronic Defense.

Stephen has moderated panels at numerous events, including the Optica Executive Forum, ECOC, and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. He also is program director for the Lightwave Innovation Reviews and the Diamond Technology Reviews.

He has written numerous articles in all aspects of optical communications and fiber-optic networks, including fiber to the home (FTTH), PON, optical components, DWDM, fiber cables, packet optical transport, optical transceivers, lasers, fiber optic testing, and more.

You can connect with Stephen on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

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