Lightmatter Raises $80M Series B and Brings Photonic Compute Chip to Market That Accelerates AI With 10x-Plus Speed and Energy Advantage

May 6, 2021 10:10 AM EDT

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Round led by Viking Global Investors with participation from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lockheed Martin and SIP Global Partners plus returning investors GV, Matrix Partners, and Spark Capital.

Lightmatter Envise inference system runs largest neural networks developed to-date with unprecedented performance.

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Lightmatter, the leader in photonic computing, announced today that it has raised a $80 million Series B investment round, bringing total investment raised so far to $113 million. The round was led by Viking Global Investors with participation from GV (formerly Google Ventures), Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Lockheed Martin, Matrix Partners, SIP Global Partners, Spark Capital, and others.

“This investment is a strong endorsement of our approach to delivering higher performance, lower environmental impact AI compute solutions to the global technology community,” said Lightmatter co-founder and CEO, Nick Harris. ”Funds will be used to accelerate production and go-to-market of our first generation roadmap products, and build out our sales and operations teams.”

Recognizing the challenges the chip industry faces, Lightmatter is committed to developing AI compute technologies that accelerate the growth of AI, while also minimizing its environmental impact on the planet. The company has seen rapid growth in the last year, announcing Mars, the world’s first photonic computer, Passage, a new wafer-scale solution to enable computer chips to communicate at unprecedented speeds, and most recently, Envise, the world’s first, general-purpose photonic AI accelerator.

Olivia Nottebohm Appointed to Board

Lightmatter also announced today that Olivia Nottebohm, former chief operating officer of Dropbox, will be joining the Board of Directors. In her role at Dropbox, Nottebohm led sales, business development, partnerships marketing, customer success, support, people and communications. Prior to joining Dropbox, Nottebohm held leadership sales and go-to-market roles at Google, and was a Technology Practice Partner at McKinsey & Company.

“I am delighted to welcome Olivia to our board,” said Harris. “It is a testament to Lightmatter’s potential, and ambitions for future growth and impact, that we have been able to appoint someone of such incredible caliber and experience. I look forward to partnering with her as we accelerate through this next crucial stage of the company.”

Founded in 2017, Lightmatter has pioneered a new paradigm in processor chip architecture that uses photons instead of electrons. Now the leader in the photonic AI compute “space race,” this new class of high performance semiconductors is the foundation of Lightmatter’s mission to enable the growth of computing, reduce harmful emissions associated with this growth, and democratize computing for all.

Investor Quotes

Hewlett Packard Enterprise
“Lightmatter unlocks performance improvements over current offerings while delivering significant power savings,” said Paul Glaser, vice president and head of Hewlett Packard Pathfinder. “HPE shares Lightmatter’s commitment to designing products and solutions to empower our customers to operate sustainably and efficiently; Lightmatter’s technology is a clear differentiator.”

Matrix Partners
“Lightmatter has executed on an unbelievable challenge, with the perfect balance of innovation and determination, taking on just the right risks and overcoming seemingly ‘insurmountable’ obstacles along the way. In doing so, they have developed a disruptive product that we feel sure will transform the ML landscape.”

SIP Global
“As the extraordinary team at Lightmatter develops and deploys its radically transformational technology, it is the vast, global opportunity that excites us the most. With over 50 years of investment and operational experience in Japan, ASEAN and MENA, we look forward to working with the Lightmatter team to expand into the world’s fastest growing tech markets.”

Spark Capital
“Lightmatter has rewritten the rules of processor performance by creating a next-generation computing platform built for artificial intelligence,” said Santo Politi, Founder and General Partner at Spark Capital. “Since first partnering with the team in 2018, they have already delivered a photonic computer that is 10x faster than anything on the market while using less energy. I am confident this is just the beginning of their journey, and I’m delighted to continue to invest in the Lightmatter team, whose breakthroughs will usher us into the future.”

About Lightmatter

Lightmatter is leading the evolution of computing to reduce its impact on our planet, while also enabling the next giant leaps in human progress. By unifying the unique properties of light as an ideal carrier of information, with the interoperability of electronics, Lightmatter creates photonic processors and interconnect that are faster, more efficient, and cooler than anything else on earth.

Adolph Hunter
lightmatter@strangebrewstrategies.com

Source: Lightmatter



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