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Oxford Semiconductor firm raises £9.4million in funding round

By Laurence Mcclenaghan
13 May 2022

Oxford spin out, Salience Labs, has raised £9.4million in seed funding.

The finance will be used to develop semi-conductor chips which operate on photonics. The company hope the technology will accelerate advances in applications and harnessing of artificial intelligence.

The funding round was led by Cambridge Innovation Capital and Oxford Science Enterprises, with Oxford Investment Consultants, former CEO of Dialog Semiconductor Jalal Bagherli, Silicon Catalyst, the Goh Family Office in Singapore and Arm-backed Deeptech Labs participating.

AI computation currently outpaces the capabilities of existing semiconductor technologies. Salience Labs say the development of photonic semi conductor chips is the next big hardware revolution. The chips will fully harness the power of AI.

Salience Labs was spun-out of the University of Oxford and the University of Münster in 2021 to commercialise an ultra high-speed multi-chip processor that packages a photonics chip together with standard electronics.

The company state their technology is highly scalable and capable of stacking up to 64 vectors into a beam of light.

“The world needs ever faster chips to grow AI capability, but the semiconductor industry cannot keep pace with this demand,” said Vaysh Kewada, CEO and co-founder.

“We’re solving this with our proprietary ‘on-memory compute’ architecture which combines the ultra-fast speed of photonics, the flexibility of electronics and the manufacturability of CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor).

“This will usher in a new era of processing.”

Ian Lane, partner, Cambridge Innovation Capital, said: “Salience Labs brings together deep domain expertise in photonics, electronics and CMOS manufacture. Their unique approach to photonics delivers an exceedingly dense computing chip without having to scale the photonics chip to large sizes.”

Alexis Zervoglos, Partner, Oxford Science Enterprises said: “Salience Labs offers a pioneering yet pragmatic solution to the widening gap between AI processing demand and semiconductor industry supply.

"By leveraging photonics in a novel way, Salience Labs is set to make unprecedented advances in compute, transforming existing AI applications and opening up new addressable horizons.”

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