Luminous Computing – the startup aiming to build a photonics chip to handle workloads needed for lightning speed AI, announced that it has completed its $9 Million seed funding round.
The round was led by Microsoft’s Co-Founder Bill Gates, Neo’s Ali Partovi and Luke Nosek and Steve Oskoui of Gigafund. The round also witnessed participation from new investors, including Travis Kalanick’s fund 10100, BoxGroup, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and Emil Michael, as well as pre-seed investors Class 5 Global, Joshua Browder, Ozmen Ventures, Schox Investments, and Third Kind Venture Capital.
The company’s approach is based on using light to move a dense amount of data and multiple giant arrays of numbers instantly. The idea is that by using photonics, the major bottlenecks of traditional processors will be removed. As part of his thesis, Nahmias built photonic integrated circuits for computing and became a founding researcher in the field of neuromorphic photonics.
“While many photonics research efforts focus on general-purpose data movement, Luminous appropriately targets the AI computer market, which is where the demand is,” Partovi of NEO said.
“Training an AI system still takes days, when it should take just minutes,” Gomez told TechCrunch in a recent interview. Gomez said that their goal is “to ship a single chip that will replace the computing power of 3,000 boards containing Google’s Tensor processing units (TPU).”
The 7-person company plans to use this new round of capital to grow its team and to specifically hire people who have experience in the semiconductor industry. The company is aiming to ship development kits within the next few years.