Astrape Networks raises €1.6M for energy-saving data center PICs

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Astrape Networks has secured 1.6 million euros in pre-seed funding from a consortium of investors and loan providers. The Eindhoven-based company founded last year will use the proceeds to develop photonic integrated circuits (PICs) that help data centers save energy by eliminating all but one electrical-optical conversion: the one at the edge. Currently, existing data networks convert electronic signals into optical signals and back again, multiple times.

Astrape’s founders describe themselves as “veterans in semiconducors, telecom and photonics.” From left to right: Nicola Calabretta (chief architect), Willem Jan Withagen (CTO) and Francesco Pessolano (CEO). Credit: Photondelta

The startup estimates that its technology will generate energy savings of up to 20 percent at current network speeds, increasing to as much as 60 percent in the future, depending on the adoption of new technology. “With the first investment, we’ll be able to demonstrate the technology in a relevant environment, taking it from laboratory scale to engineering scale. This will show that the technology is viable and keeps its performance and power-saving promises in an industrial setting,” says Astrape CEO Francesco Pessolano.

Astrape’s technology originated at Eindhoven University of Technology, culminating in a venture-building program at HightechXL. The recently raised pre-seed capital was provided by the Brabant Development Agency (BOM), Rabobank, Brabant Startup Fund, TTT Smart Industries, Shift Invest and Photondelta.