Ayar Labs – kicking butt

I’m very proud of our portfolio company Ayar Labs, and founders Alex, Mark, and Chen who have recently closed a massive $24M Series A round led by Playground Group, Intel Capital, GlobalFoundries, and FoundersFund. TechU participated in the initial seed round back in 2016 and also in this round earlier in the summer. Glad this finally closed so we can announce it. The company is at the forefront of building optical chips which will allow data centers to operate at the speed-of-light end-to-end. Their technology will change the world, but it’s only at the beginning. Up-up-and-away!

Optical Chip Startup Ayar Labs Raises $24 Million To Boost Data Speeds

Ayar Labs has a chip solution for data centers that boosts performance while dramatically cutting energy costs. They just raised $24 million to scale it.

Welcoming Ayar Labs

I am happy to introduce our newest portfolio company — Ayar Labs — to the TechU family. We are very excited about this investment, and for the opportunity to partner with Alex, Chen, Mark, and the entire Ayar Labs team.

What they do:
Ayar Labs has developed a proprietary method to integrate optical transceivers into computer chips to enable data to be transmitted using light waves. This process can dramatically boost the efficiency of traditional computing by replacing existing chips which employ traditional copper wires that rely on electricity. By replacing electricity with light, their technology significantly reduces energy costs while increasing bandwidth for customers running wholesale scale data centers or for supercomputers.

Their technology, which has been developed over a decade’s worth of R&D at institutions like MIT, UC Berkeley, and the University of Colorado and with the support of more than $20MM in DARPA grants, has been captured across over 10 different patents.

Why we like them:
Their technology very much fits into our thesis. The company is led by an exceptional team whose domain level expertise is perhaps unparalleled in the industry. Given the proprietary nature of their technology there is also a high barrier-to-entry and they definitely posses a secret sauce which is a prerequisite.

I also personally believe that timing will play a positive role in their potential success. The energy and expense associated with the powering of data centers globally is immense, and I believe many different players in the ecosystem will be strongly aligned in supporting this technology to take hold. Already many of the largest players in the ecosystem have been reaching out to establish partnerships.
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As always, if you or any of your colleagues are in a position to serve as a strategic partner to Ayar Labs, feel free to reach out to me for an introduction to the founders.