It Takes an Ecosystem

by | Apr 28, 2022

In 2015 Ayar Labs was founded to drive the next phase of Moore’s Law using our in-package optical I/O technology to remove one of the major bottlenecks in modern computing architectures. That objective remains at the heart of what we do, but industry-changing technology adoption requires a healthy ecosystem and is not accomplished by a single company or groundbreaking technology alone. That ecosystem has to come together with a shared vision, collaboration, and innovation to deliver a total solution, where the whole is greater than the sum of parts.

Four Ayar Labs TeraPHY™ optical I/O chiplets packaged with customer ASIC.

It’s been from this point of view that we approached our financial and strategic partners for a Series C round of funding. Tuesday, Ayar Labs was proud to announce that we completed a new round of financing, securing $130 million. I was humbled and thrilled that this latest round was oversubscribed by more than 2X from what we had initially set out to raise, demonstrating confidence in our technology, our people, and our overall position in the market. While we’re delighted with this level of funding and the acceleration of our commercialization efforts enabled by it, there’s a depth to this round that paints a much more substantial picture. The funding sources highlight the shared vision of an ecosystem of support across key investors, suppliers, partners, and customers and together we are positioned to accomplish more than any one party could alone.

Aside from the magnitude of the funding, Ayar Labs is building a team of supporters aligned to the mission of removing the last meters of copper interconnect in the data center and replacing them with optical fiber, unleashing vast new computing capabilities while dramatically lowering overall energy consumption. As we like to say, delivering 10X data rates at 10X less energy and 10X the distance provides 1,000X benefits over current systems and that’s just the beginning! The round was led by the visionaries at Boardman Bay Capital Management, with whom we have been building a relationship for some time. With an opportunity fund targeting optical technologies, Boardman Bay has a well-established track record and a deep understanding of the market, the market opportunity, the players involved, and the important trends and developments. Their experience, strategic insights, and connections will be invaluable to Ayar Labs as we transition to full commercial operations. I understand that this is Boardman Bay’s largest private investment to date.

We also sought balance between strategic investors (with key collaborations defined and executed as part of the investment) as we looked to maximize some of the other intangible assets that might increase the probability of success across the business, including critical aspects like supply chain, go-to-market, and delivery. We are very proud and excited to have Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and NVIDIA enter this round, joining existing strategic investors Applied Ventures LLC, GlobalFoundries, Intel Capital, and Lockheed Martin Ventures. Each of these major industry players shares our mission and has a deep understanding of the opportunity and pain points our technology represents. We are counting on their support and expertise in applications, materials, manufacturing, packaging, quality and reliability, and integration with the ultimate goal of speeding widespread optical I/O adoption. Rounding out our ecosystem of new strategic partners and investors are Agave SPV, Atreides Capital, Berkeley Frontier Fund, IAG Capital Partners, Infinitum Capital, Nautilus Venture Partners, and Tyche Partners. They join existing investors, including BlueSky Capital, Downing Ventures, Founders Fund, Playground Global, Rising Tide, SGInnovate and TechU Venture Partners. Each of these partners brings its own set of competencies that Ayar Labs will leverage to bring our technology to market successfully.

So that’s it. This funding and this expanded world-class team are enabling the next phase of growth. Let’s call it Ayar Labs 3.0! In future blog updates we will talk more about what this entails and our expected progress, but I believe you will see an acceleration within the ecosystem as we come together and drive this next era of computing. My thanks and appreciation to all new and existing investors and partners, our customers and suppliers, and especially our dedicated and tireless employees. I couldn’t be prouder of this moment.

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