Startup Funding: December 2023

Funding boosts photonics for AI, flexible chips; $1.3 billion for 72 companies.


Photonics and optics were strong in December, with investors funding two different companies using photonic technologies to develop AI chips and interconnects. Another key area — metaoptics — combines what traditionally would be separate lenses and optical components into a single, flat nanopatterned device. Metaoptics are being deployed in applications ranging from AI processing and sensors to lenses for AR glasses.

Other significant funding went to a company that manufactures flexible chips without silicon for smart packaging and other IoT devices, as well as testing ADAS and autonomous driving systems, a virtual EMI/EMC lab, nanoimprint lithography, and in-memory computing. This report includes 72 companies that collectively raised $1.3 billion in December 2023.

AI hardware

Lightmatter raised $155.0M in a Series C-2 round led by Google Ventures and Viking Global Investors. Lightmatter develops silicon photonic chips and systems for AI inference and HPC workloads, along with photonic interconnects and enabling software. It offers its general-purpose machine learning accelerator chips in a server that combines 16 chips in a 4-U server configuration with 3kW power consumption, designed as a building block for a rack-scale system. This is enabled by its wafer-scale interconnect that integrates photonics and transistors side-by-side for dynamic reconfiguration of the communications topology. Lightmatter says the interconnect has 40 passage lanes that fit in the space of a single optical fiber to provide over 800 Tbps I/O bandwidth from each chiplet site for full reticle and up to 250 Tbps per chiplet site edge with less than 2 nanosecond chiplet-to-chiplet latency and single hop connectivity between every site. The approach also removes the need for fiber-to-chip attach. Its software automates deployment of existing models to Lightmatter hardware and optimizes neural network performance. Funds will be used to expedite growth and open a new office in Toronto, Canada. Founded in 2017 and based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, it has raised over $420M to date.

EnCharge AI raised $22.6M in additional Series A funding from strategic investors including VentureTech Alliance, RTX Ventures, and ACVC Partners, and existing investors such as Anzu Partners, AlleyCorp, Scout VC, Silicon Catalyst Angels, and S5V. EnCharge develops AI chips using mixed analog and digital in-memory computing technology alongside an AI-specific full-stack architecture. It uses charge-domain computation based on intrinsically precise metal capacitors that can be implemented in standard CMOS, which the startup says overcomes signal-to-noise ratio limitations and variability in current-based analog IMC technology while providing broad support for AI model types and operators. It also claims the technology provides higher performance with lower power and cost compared with other solutions. EnCharge plans to implement the technology in a range of form factors including chiplets, ASICs, and standard form-factor PCIe cards for orchestration between on-device and cloud deployments. Founded in 2022 with technology developed at Princeton University, it is based in Santa Clara, California, USA, and has raised $45M to date.

Extropic received $14.1M in seed funding led by Kindred Ventures with participation from Buckley Ventures, HOF Capital, Julian Capital, Marque VC, OSS Capital, Valor Equity Partners, Weekend Fund, and angel investors. Extropic is building what it calls a physics-based computing system that will use ‘out-of-equilibrium thermodynamics’ to run generative AI models. It was founded in 2022 and is based in the USA.

Neurophos raised $7.2M in a seed round led by Gates Frontier and joined by MetaVC Partners, Mana Ventures, AdAstral Funds, and others. The startup also joined the Silicon Catalyst incubator. Neurophos is developing metamaterial-based optical AI inference chips for data centers. Its chip combines an optical metasurface that serves as a tensor core processor with a compute-in-memory architecture fed by high-speed silicon photonics. It can be manufactured using standard CMOS processes. Neurophos claims its metamaterial-based optical modulators are more than 1,000 times smaller than those from a standard foundry PDK, providing more compute power per dollar spent and energy consumed than traditional AI processors. Funds will be used for production and hiring. A spinout from Duke University and Metacept founded in 2020, it is based in Durham, North Carolina, USA.

Gigantor Technologies was awarded a $2.0M investment from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Business Accelerator Microelectronics Challenge. Gigantor develops computer vision and edge AI accelerators using a parallel pipeline architecture, optimizing models into an AI computing framework tailored to operate at the camera or sensor input rate. The startup says its ASIC enables real-time processing of ultra-high resolutions at fast frame rates while minimizing power consumption. Founded in 2020, it is based in Melbourne Beach, Florida, USA.

EDA raised $6.0M in funding from Root Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, Benchstrength, Bowery Capital, and a group of angel investors. provides a collaborative hardware development platform that provides Git-based revision control, a cross-team collaboration hub, workflow automation, and design analytics for hardware engineers, PCB designers, and electrical engineers. Funds will be used to develop new features for enterprise customers and expand complex implementations, integrations, and additional ECAD format support. Founded in 2020, it is based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

SimYog Technology drew INR 200.0M (~$2.4M) in pre-Series A funding led by Mela Ventures along with 1Crowd and existing investor Ideaspring Capital. SimYog provides electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) simulation and testing software. Its virtual laboratory employs several physics-based solvers in unison, including 3D full-wave electromagnetic solver and 2D multi-conductor transmission line solver, to predict the results of radiated emissions, conducted emissions, radiated susceptibility, and conducted susceptibility compliance tests during early-stage hardware design. Founded in 2017, it is based in Bengaluru, India.

Manufacturing & equipment

Pragmatic Semiconductor raised £162.0M (~$206.0M) in the first close of its Series D round led by M&G Investments and UK Infrastructure Bank, joined by new investors including Northern Gritstone, Latitude Partners, MVolution Partners, and existing investors such as British Patient Capital, Cambridge Innovation Capital, and Prosperity7 Ventures. The company is planning a limited second close for key investors, with £20.0M (~$25.0M) already allocated. Pragmatic manufactures flexible integrated circuits for IoT devices. The company claims using silicon-free thin-film semiconductors makes its flexible ICs cheaper and faster to produce than silicon chips, with a lower carbon footprint. It offers foundry services, deployment of its fabrication equipment at customer sites through a Fab-as-a-Service model, and a line of ultra-low-cost NFC ICs for RFID systems. A key target market for Pragmatic is smart packaging for traceability of fast-moving consumer goods, with other use cases including wearables, sensors, and flexible controllers. Funds will be used to accelerate expansion plans, including building its third and fourth fabrication lines. Founded in 2010, it is based in Cambridge, UK.

Wiseetec drew over CNY 100.0M (~$14.0M) in Series B funding from Sunic Capital, Hua Fang Investment, Fengyuan Capital, Yunjin Capital, Shenzhen Hi-tech Investment, and Z&Y Capital. Wiseetec makes semiconductor bonding and debonding equipment, including both temporary bonding and permanent bonding for compound semiconductors and 2.5D/3D packaging. It supports from 2-inch to 12-inch wafers. Based in Suzhou, China, it was founded in 2021.

SCIL Nanoimprint Solutions raised over €10.0M (~$10.8M) in funding led by imec.xpand and joined by Invest-NL, RSBG Ventures, and Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij. SCIL makes nanoimprint lithography equipment and materials for high-volume production of devices such as AR smart glasses, lasers, biosensors, and metalenses for smartphones and other consumer electronics. The Substrate Conformal Imprint Lithography technology uses a tri-layer stamp construction with a top layer of X-PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane) to enable low pressure conformal imprinting of nanometer resolution patterns. The startup claims the technology and its inorganic sol-gel resist material combines the resolution and accuracy of rigid stamps with the flexibility of soft stamp methods. A spin out from Philips in 2023, it is based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

PseudolithIC was awarded a $1.0M investment from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Business Accelerator Microelectronics Challenge. PseudolithIC is developing a semiconductor manufacturing process that enables heterogeneous integration for RF and mmWave communications devices. Founded in 2021, it is based in Santa Barbara, California, USA.


Mosaic Microsystems was awarded a $1.0M investment from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Business Accelerator Microelectronics Challenge. Mosaic provides packaging services using thin glass substrates for microelectronics, photonics, RF/mmWave, MEMS, and sensor technologies. The company is prototyping thin glass with multi-layer interconnects, along with copper-filled through-glass vias connecting front to back of the glass. It plans to rapidly move these to production for both defense and commercial industries. Founded in 2016, it is based in Rochester, New York, USA.

Power devices

Synlight Semiconductor raised CNY 1,500.0M (~$211.9M) in Series F financing led by Shenzhen Capital Group and SDIC Fund. Synlight Semiconductor makes silicon carbide (SiC) N-type and semi-insulating wafers. Founded in 2012, it is based in Baoding, China.

Soctera was awarded a $0.8M investment from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Business Accelerator Microelectronics Challenge. Soctera makes power amplifiers using aluminum nitride/gallium nitride (AlN/GaN) HEMT technology. The startup claims its power amplifier can improve thermal performance by 5x for radar and telecommunications applications while utilizing only 5% of the gallium. Founded in 2021, it is based in Ithaca, New York, USA.

Photonics & optics

Myrias Optics received a $3.0M seed investment led by Asia Optical, joined by UMass Amherst, Tenon Ventures, and HOSS Investment. Myrias Optics makes all-inorganic printed metaoptics for AR/VR and consumer electronics, machine vision and advanced robotics, automotive lidar, and defense and aerospace industries. The metaoptics integrates multifunctional optical performance into a single layer, which can replace multi-element lens assemblies. The manufacturing platform uses direct nanoimprint lithography of nanoparticle composites, which the startup says results in thermally stable, high optical density, low haze and transparent structures with high optical performance. A spin out from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2021, it is based in Amherst, Massachusetts, USA.

Polaris Electro-Optics drew $3.0M in seed funding led by Rhapsody Venture Partners, joined by Buff Gold Ventures and M Ventures. Polaris Electro-Optics uses ferroelectric nematic liquid crystals to build energy-efficient integrated photonics products such as electro-optic modulators for optical interconnect systems in the communications and computation industries. Funding will be used to advance material and design innovation. Founded in 2021 with research from the University of Colorado, it is based in Broomfield, Colorado, USA.

Momentum Optics was awarded a $1.7M investment from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Business Accelerator Microelectronics Challenge. Momentum Optics offers custom glass optics manufacturing using a process that enables optical integration with electronics and MEMS at the wafer level. It claims its manufacturing process can reduce the cost and time of creating optical components. Founded in 2017, it is based in Longmont, Colorado, USA.

Quantum computing

Kipu Quantum raised €10.5M (~$11.5M) in a seed round led by HV Capital and DeepTech & Climate Fonds, joined by existing investors Entrada Ventures, Quantonation, and First Moment Ventures, alongside new investors Onsight Ventures and QAI Ventures. Kipu Quantum develops application- and hardware-specific quantum algorithms for the pharmaceutical, chemical, logistics, and financial industries. The startup employs compression technology that it claims enables algorithms to require orders of magnitude less quantum processor resources. Funds will be used for hiring. Based in Karlsruhe and Berlin, Germany, it was founded in 2021.

QuantaMap received €1.4M (~$1.5M) in early-stage funding led by QDNL Participations and joined by Quantum Delta NL. QuantaMap has developed a microscope designed specifically for metrology and defect inspection of quantum chips and other quantum hardware. The SQUID-on-tip microscope combines cryogenic scanning technology with quantum sensors and is tuned to the specific issues that affect quantum chip performance and production yields, particularly in identifying the origin of losses and impurities at nanometer scale by imaging local temperature rise, electric currents, and magnetic fields. Founded in 2022, it is based in Leiden, the Netherlands.


Dust Identity drew $40.0M in Series B financing led by Castle Island Ventures, with participation from Amex Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Airbus Ventures, 8VC, and others. Dust Identity uses diamond dust to create unique physical identifiers for authentication of semiconductors and electronics, along with a digital thread solution for tracing a product throughout its lifecycle. It also targets industries such as luxury goods and collectibles. Founded in 2018, it is based in Newton, Massachusetts, USA.


Foretellix added $42.0M to its Series C round led by 83North, joined by new investors Temasek and Isuzu alongside existing investors including Toyota’s Woven Capital, NVIDIA, Artofin VC, MoreTech Ventures, Nationwide Insurance, Volvo Group VC, Jump Capital, Next Gear Ventures, and OurCrowd. Foretellix offers a safety verification and validation platform for automated driving systems and ADAS. Its products include a virtual test generation and execution engine based on the company’s constrained random test generator that is pre-integrated with several simulators; a scenario and test development and debug tool; a management and big data analytics tool; an automated drive log analysis tool that identifies scenarios of interest and detects edge cases and anomalies; and ready-to-use verification and validation libraries including scenarios, verification plans, maps, coverage metrics, and KPIs. Foretellix solutions cover consumer, trucking, and mining vehicles. Funds will be used to accelerate development of its product portfolio. Founded in 2018, it is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and has raised $135M to date.

EVAS Intelligence drew over CNY 100.0M (~$14.0M) in pre-Series A+ financing from Guangzhou Nansha Kejin Holding Group and Lion Partners Capital. EVAS Intelligence develops RISC-V-based neural processing unit (NPU) and image signal processor (ISP) IP and SoCs for automotive. The startup is preparing to launch two chips, one focused on intelligent cockpit and the other on ADAS. It also offers algorithms and a software toolchain. Funds will be used for mass production. Based in Guangzhou, China, it was founded in January 2022.

Inverted AI drew $4.0M in early stage financing led by Yaletown Partners, joined by Blue Titan Ventures, Dasein Capital, Inovia Capital, Defined Capital, and WUTIF Capital. Inverted AI provides human behavioral models and simulation systems for testing ADAS and autonomous vehicles against the full range of behaviors displayed by the human road users around it. Funds will be used to accelerate and expand its product offerings. Founded in 2018, it is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Company Sector Amount Raised (M, USD) Funding Type HQ
Synlight Semiconductor Materials $211.9 Series F China
Pragmatic Semiconductor Manufacturing $206.0 Series D UK
Lightmatter Photonics $155.0 Series C+ USA
Tongyu Automotive Auto Components $70.6 Series B China
Nanoramic Laboratories Batteries $47.5 Grant USA
Nth Cycle Batteries $44.0 Series B USA
Foretellix ADAS & Autonomy $42.0 Series C Israel
Dust Identity Security $40.0 Series B USA
Exeger Ambient Power $38.4 Debt Sweden
AM Batteries Batteries $30.0 Series B USA
Form Energy Batteries $30.0 Grant USA
Exponent Energy Batteries $26.4 Series B India
EnCharge AI AI HW $22.6 Series A USA
Agtonomy ADAS & Autonomy $22.5 Series A USA
Kyulux Displays $21.9 Series C Japan
Fourth Power Batteries $19.0 Series A USA
ProvenRun Security $16.7 Series A France
Extropic AI HW $14.1 Seed USA
Advancechip Processors & Network $14.0+ Series D China
Corerain Technologies AI HW $14.0+ Series C China
Enkris Semiconductor Materials $14.0+ Series C+ China
Hypersics Semiconductor Materials $14.0+ Series C China
Lanxin Computing Processors & Network $14.0+ Angel China
Enerflow Batteries $14.0 Series A+ China
EVAS Intelligence Auto Chips $14.0 Pre-A+ China
Sinpro Intelligent Technology Auto Sensors $14.0 Series A+ China
UltraRISC Technology Processors & Network $14.0 Venture China
Winco Semiconductor Photonics $14.0 Series A China
Wiseetec Equipment $14.0 Series B China
Youhualin Manufacturing $14.0 Series C+ China
CryptoNext Security Security $12.0 Venture France
Kipu Quantum Quantum $11.5 Seed Germany
SCIL Nanoimprint Solutions Equipment $10.8 Venture Netherlands
Enerpoly Batteries $8.4 Grant Sweden
Blickfeld Sensors $8.2 Venture Germany
Neurophos AI HW $7.2 Seed USA EDA $6.0 Venture USA
UP Catalyst Batteries $4.3 Venture Estonia
Inverted AI ADAS & Autonomy $4.0 Seed Canada
Picopack Equipment $3.8 Series A South Korea
Ore Energy Batteries $3.7 Grant & Seed Netherlands
HalioGEN Power Batteries $3.3 Grant UK
Unbound Potential Batteries $3.3 Grant Switzerland
Myrias Optics Photonics $3.0 Seed USA
Polaris Electro-Optics Photonics $3.0 Seed USA
Liminal Space Displays $2.5 Venture USA
Koala Tech Photonics $2.4 Series B Japan
SimYog Technology EDA $2.4 Pre-A India
Gigantor Technologies AI HW $2.0 Accelerator USA
Momentum Optics Photonics $1.7 Accelerator USA
Rise Technology Equipment $1.7 Seed Italy
SiliconCore Technology Displays $1.7 Accelerator USA
IDDK Sensors $1.6 Pre-A Japan
MakeSens Batteries $1.5 Convertible Note Canada
QuantaMap Test & Inspection $1.5 Venture Netherlands
Keencool Intelligent Technology Thermal Management $1.4+ Strategic China
Panther Technology Equipment $1.4+ Pre-A China
Polar Precision Instrument Equipment $1.4+ Angel+ China
PrimeSemi Sensors $1.4+ Series A China
Silimicro Electronics Wireless $1.4+ Pre-A China
Whalefall Technology Batteries $1.4+ Venture China
Midel Photonics Photonics $1.1 Seed Germany
Mosaic Microsystems Packaging $1.0 Accelerator USA
PseudolithIC Wireless $1.0 Accelerator USA
Soctera Power Semi $0.8 Accelerator USA
Rivus Batteries Batteries $0.6 Venture Sweden
Julia Jean Sensors $0.4 Grant USA
Actoprobe Test & Inspection $0.1 Grant USA
ChemCubed Equipment $0.1 Grant USA
Mat3ra EDA Adjacent $0.1 Grant USA
Novacium Batteries $0.1 Grant France
QuantTera Wireless $0.1 Grant USA


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