Lightmatter Raises $154M in Series C | citybiz

 Lightmatter Raises $154M in Series C |  citybiz

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lightmatter, a leader in photonics, today announced that it raised a $154 million Series C investment round from SIP Global, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Viking Global Investors, GV (Google Ventures), HPE Pathfinder and existing investors. With this round, Lightmatter has raised a total of over $270 million to date. The company will leverage this new funding to equip some of the largest cloud vendors, semiconductor companies and enterprises with the power of photonics technology to bring a new level of performance and power savings to the most advanced HPC and AI workloads.

Rapid advances in artificial intelligence are forcing computing infrastructure to improve at an unprecedented rate. The energy costs of this growth are significant, even on a planetary scale, said the co-founder and CEO of Lightmatter, Nick Harris. Generative AI and supercomputing will be transformed by photonics technologies in the coming years, and our investors, partners and customers are aligned with Lightmatters’ mission to enable the future of computing infrastructure with photonics.

The boom of generative AI and the computational impact

As Generative AI systems proliferate across industries, the energy consumed and capital required to run these algorithms is increasing exponentially. The result is excessive heat loads, stagnant performance per watt, and soaring operating costs.

The large language models (LLMs) that power generative AI are both more cost-effective and resource-intensive than their predecessors. Leaders in the space now say they see power and cost limits to the size of these models. In this context, Lightmatter is introducing its photonics-enabled products: Envise, Passage and Idiom to the market, providing a complete stack of hardware and software solutions to realize the advantages of photonics computing and interconnection technologies. The new capital will be used to finance the delivery of these products to customers.

Lightmatter’s unique approach to harnessing the power of photonics in hardware travel will benefit the initial capabilities and use cases they saw from Generative AI, he said Jeffrey Smith, General Partner of SIP Global Partners. These technologies and its global customers will need maximum computing power to run these algorithms and apply them to new verticals, and they were excited to invest in Lightmatter which can harness that potential with faster, more sustainable computing.

Photonics technology has the potential to meet the demands of today’s AI computing workloads. Lightmatter is taking a differentiated approach using silicon photonics and assembling a deeply technical team to further its mission, he said Erik Nordlander, general partner at GV. We are excited to continue supporting Lightmatter’s next phase of growth as they build the leading silicon photonics company.

In 2022, the company announced significant growth by hiring top talent to its leadership team, including Richard Ho, who led Google’s Tensor Processing Unit program, and Ritesh Jain, who led packaging data center chip at Intel, as vice presidents of hardware engineering. Lightmatter also announced Jessie Zhang, who led corporate financial planning at Apple, as vice president of finance, and Steve Klinger, a former vice president of Innovium, as vice president of product. Lightmatter currently has over 20 active roles across product, R&D, and engineering and holds over 150 patents worldwide.

About Lightmatter

Lightmatter is delivering a new paradigm in semiconductor chip architecture and the next transition for large-scale computing. The company has developed photonics processors that are faster, more efficient and cooler than any conventional processor existing today and is addressing demands for faster computational speed, lower energy density and reduced chip heating. Lightmatter is set to enable the continued rapid growth of artificial intelligence while minimizing its well-known and growing impact on the environment.

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