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.

Video: The state of deep tech in 2018

I was recently invited to participate on a panel on the deep tech ecosystem hosted by BostInno at Analog Devices together with Leila Pirhaji of ReviveMed (a TechU portfolio company), Patrick O’Dougherty of Analog Garage, Matt Duffy of Climacell, and Jason Whaley of Rhapsody Venture Partners.

The event was attended by many local deep tech entrepreneurs from the Boston community and brought out some interesting discussion points.

Some of the topics I elaborated on include:

  1. Intro to TechU and our deep tech focus (1:50)
  2. How we determine the value of the deep tech component of a startup and how entrepreneurs should communicate the value of their technology to investors (7:43)
  3. The importance of entrepreneurs testing the value of their technology with potential customers before pitching potential investors (13:54)
  4. Describing the investors’ role of guiding the startups that they fund. Difference between advice and an order. (24.42)
  5. The role of buzzwords in communicating your startup is trumped by the importance of having a secret sauce (32:33)

I welcome your thoughts and feedback.