Lumai secures £1.75m in funding to develop next generation neural networks

  • The funding round was led by IP Group plc with additional funding from Runa Capital
  • The technology promises a 1000x improvement in processing power over existing solutions to solve complex problems from machine autonomy to drug development
  • The spinout originates from the research group of Prof Lvovsky, an award-winning physicist at the University of Oxford

Oxford, UK; January 2022: Lumai, the Oxford-based optical computing startup, today announced the close of its first funding round, by raising £1.75 million from IP Group plc and Runa Capital.

Founded by experts from University of Oxford, Lumai is developing all-optical neural networks (ONNs) for next-generation artificial intelligence (AI). The company is creating advanced optical computing processors where information flow and calculations are no longer reliant on electronic processing, massively reducing the compute time and energy requirement.

With backing from IP Group plc, developer of world-changing science and technology businesses, and Runa Capital, the Luxembourg-headquartered global venture capital firm that invests in early-stage startups around the world, Lumai is unleashing the power of optical computing.

“Having already demonstrated the world’s largest optical matrix-vector multipliers to serve as the backbone of our ONNs, we are now making breakthroughs on developing viable schemes for training ONNs in an all-optical setting, a world-first. With this investment, we now have the resources to attract even more talent to our team and push these technologies to their limit,” said Lumai co-founder and Head of Research, Dr. Xianxin Guo.

Dr. Guo added: “To fully leverage the advantages of optical computing in machine learning, we are implementing solutions that are scalable, sustainable, and compatible with existing AI algorithms.”

Tim Weil, CEO at Lumai, said: “Lumai has the ability to lead the way with its fully optical technology, not only enabling, but vastly accelerating a whole range of AI-driven applications. We’re looking forward to bringing Lumai to the market and showcasing the massively increased speed, reduced power consumption and near zero latency of our solutions.”

Lee Thornton, Partner at IP Group plc, added: “In what is already an exciting field with huge potential, the team at Lumai has developed a system with the potential to underpin the inevitable world-wide transition to optical neural networks. IP Group plc is proud to be supporting Lumai and we look forward to working with the team and following its progress as the company grows.”

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