Photonic chip maker Optalysys has raised a £21 million Series A funding which will see it ‘advance its Enable photonic computing technology to unlock a new form of secure processing known as Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE)’.
FHE, a form of quantum-secure cryptography, doesn’t require the data to be decrypted before it can be processed, allowing confidential or sensitive data to be sent along untrusted networks, or to be worked on by multiple parties without ever exposing the data itself.
Given that encrypted data takes significantly longer to process Optalysys uses an ‘advanced photonic semiconductor which accelerates the FHE process, allowing encrypted data to be processed at similar speeds to its unencrypted form. This brings hope of deploying FHE at the scale demanded by the largest secure data applications’.
"Optalysys presents a groundbreaking semiconductor technology to reduce energy consumption, boost processing power, and enhance data security. The capability to unlock the power of FHE with their photonic computing technology will enable new markets with advances in encrypted AI. We look forward to working with Nick, Rob, and the team to bring a new level of trust and security to how we use our data," says Ashish Kaushik, Partner at Lingotto.
The funds will 'allow the company to launch its technology on a cloud-based service model, in partnership with system integrators and service providers. Initial photonic systems developed by Optalysys will also be made available to end-users via an Accelerator program - ahead of the first high-speed Enable chips being produced within 24 months'. It will also build out its teams in Europe and the US.
"Fully Homomorphic Encryption has the power to unlock the full value of data - but despite its advantages, it is currently unviable for anything beyond basic processes – this is where Optalysys comes in. Our Enable technology allows us to turbo boost the workflows and address the underlying bottlenecks that hold FHE back," says Dr. Nick New, co-founder and CEO of Optalysys.