Celestial AI Raises $56 Million Series A to Disrupt the Artificial Intelligence Chipset Industry with Novel Photonic-Electronic Technology Platform
Celestial AI, an AI-accelerator company with a proprietary hardware and software platform for machine learning chipsets, announced a $56 million Series A investment led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) with participation from Temasek’s Xora Innovation fund, The Engine, the venture firm spun out of MIT, Tyche Partners, Merck’s corporate venture fund, M-Ventures, IMEC XPand, and venture capital investor in the Princeton University ecosystem, Fitz Gate. The new capital will be used for expanding the global engineering team, product development and strategic supplier engagements, including Broadcom, to build the company’s Orion AI accelerator products. Celestial AI’s mission is to fundamentally transform the way computing is done with a new processing system, based on their proprietary Photonic Fabric™ technology platform, that uses light for data movement both within chip and between chips.
Driven by advancements in data communications, robust silicon photonics technology and volume manufacturing ecosystems have been established. The industry is ripe for commercial implementation of Machine Learning (ML) and high-performance computing (HPC) solutions that leverage integrated silicon photonics for data movement. For AI computing applications, data movement is the dominant contributor to system power, and most leading competitive architectures are trading off moderate power reductions for increased system and software complexity. Celestial AI’s Photonic Fabric enables optically addressable memory and compute (within chip and chip-to-chip) that decouples their technology from the limitations of electronics and slowdown of Moore’s Law. Their proprietary architecture enables elegant, low-complexity system software, allowing highly efficient mapping of data and compute without the need for complex optimizations. This software advantage extends to multi-chip exascale systems as the Photonic Fabric democratizes optical access to effectively limitless memory and compute. Celestial AI’s Orion AI accelerator products serve an addressable market that is projected by Omida to exceed $70 billion in 2025.
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“We are addressing the problem of our time in computing – efficient data movement,” said Celestial AI founder and CEO David Lazovsky. “Celestial AI’s hybrid photonic-electronic platform allows us to leverage the complementary strengths of electronics for high-performance, high-precision computing and photonics for high-speed, low-power, high-bandwidth data movement. The result is transformational performance advantages relative to electronic-only systems. The ML application benefits extend beyond performance and low power to latency, user friendly software, and low total cost of ownership. Our competitive differentiation will increase with time, as AI model complexity increases, driving increased data movement.”
Domain-specific architectures targeted to AI workloads can make up for some of the slowdown in CMOS advancements, but that approach also has its limits. By integrating photonics into accelerators for AI workloads, Celestial AI enables step-change advancements in AI computation. Chips and server systems are limited today by power budget (Thermal Design Power or TDP). The Celestial AI Photonic Fabric allows a redistribution of the fixed power budget from data movement to compute, providing sustainable and expanding performance advantages over all electronic-only solutions. Every Joule of energy saved on data movement can be spent on compute.
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“Photonics is poised to be the technology to usher in the next era of rapid growth in AI and high-performance computing, and we believe the Celestial AI team has the experience and vision to drive this industry transformation,” said Isaac Sigron, Managing Director of KDT, and newly-appointed Celestial AI Board Member. “It was Celestial AI’s software advantages that ultimately drove our decision to lead this financing. Their system architecture enables unparalleled software simplicity, which translates to ease of use for customers and reduced time to market. Software is the pathway to revenue, and Celestial AI’s solution changes the game in this large and rapidly expanding market.”
“Celestial AI has developed an architecture that uniquely scales across multi-chip systems, and greatly diminishes the development burden on AI teams bringing new applications to market. As the world moves to increasingly complex AI models, we believe that Celestial AI’s competitive advantage will only grow over time,” said Phil Inagaki, Managing Director at Xora Innovation.
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