Enlightra joins YCombinator

Enlightra joins YCombinator

29.03.2022 – Enlightra has just announced its participation in the YCombinator, the world’s most selective startup accelerator. The startup develops 100x faster and up to 10x more energy, Multicolor Lasers to transmit data in a disruptive and efficient fashion for Data Centers

The EPFL start-up based at EPFL Innovation Park has developed cost- and energy-efficient multicolor lasers for high-capacity data transmission and optical computing. These lasers are based on the technology, called “microcombs”. The backing from YC represents a major extra push in the development of the ground-breaking technology based on microcombs, which replaces hundreds of high-quality lasers on a single laser and a special passive structure fabricated on a silicon chip, called a “microresonator”.

One microcomb can replace hundreds of high-quality lasers used in today’s optical communications while being up to 10x energy efficient and enabling 100x higher data transmission rates at the same device size. A unique advantage of microcombs, is the core technology component – the microresonator is a microscale device, which is highly integrated and is mass-manufactured on silicon-based chips.

The world’s data centers exchange 300 Exabytes of data per month and use lasers to handle this huge amount of traffic. Today’s laser technologies are approaching their limits, in terms of achievable data rates, and energy efficiency. The projected power consumption of data centers is expected to grow to 1/5 of the total world’s power supply by 2025. The need for new approaches and technologies to enable faster and more energy-efficient data transmission, while at the same time providing a lower cost is pressing.

A successful development without equity funding

So far, Enlightra has managed to grow without the need for equity funding. Its source of funding was acquired funding by undertaking numerous research and development projects, including with the European Space Agency, the Swiss Space Office, and the European Union. Funding has also been sourced under related schemes such as the European Space Agency business incubator program and the Swiss Quantum Science and Information Technology Program (QSIT). More recently the company utilized an accelerator service from MassChallenge, a global non-profit startup accelerator and competition with a focus on high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs. The participation of the company in the YCombinator represents an extra boost for the start-up to get through the first seed funding phase.

“With all these things, we’ve been able to bring our technology to the point where now we can sell products without having to take any equity funding. But we’re now looking to take equity funding so we can really bring the technology to market at a faster rate” states John Jost Co-CEO of Enlightra.

Source: press release

Photo: Team Enlightra 2022 – from left to right: John Jost, Nikolay Pavlov, Maxim Karpov, Yuji Takabayashi