Photonic Supercomputer Company Lightmatter Raises $80 Million

By Annie Baker ● May 27, 2021
  • Lightmatter, a leader in photonic computing, announced recently that it has raised a $80 million Series B round of funding. These are the details.

Lightmatter — a leader in photonic computing — announced recently that it has raised a $80 million Series B investment round, bringing total investment raised so far to $113 million. This funding 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 several others.

Due to the challenges the chip industry faces, Lightmatter is committed to developing artificial intelligence compute technologies that accelerate the growth of AI, while also minimizing its environmental impact on the planet. And 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 — which is the world’s first, general-purpose photonic AI accelerator.

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

Launched in 2017, Lightmatter pioneered a new paradigm in processor chip architecture that uses photons instead of electrons. 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.

KEY QUOTES:

“This investment is a strong endorsement of our approach to delivering higher performance, lower environmental impact AI compute solutions to the global technology community. 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.”

“I am delighted to welcome Olivia to our board. 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.”

— Lightmatter co-founder and CEO Nick Harris

“Lightmatter unlocks performance improvements over current offerings while delivering significant power savings. 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.”

— Paul Glaser, vice president and head of Hewlett Packard Pathfinder

“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.”

— Matrix Partners

“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.”

— SIP Global

“Lightmatter has rewritten the rules of processor performance by creating a next-generation computing platform built for artificial intelligence. 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.”

— Santo Politi, Founder and General Partner at Spark Capital