The funding round was led by Lingotto (an investment management company owned by Exor N.V.), imec.xpand, and Northern Gritstone. The investment will allow the company to advance its Enable photonic computing technology to unlock a new form of secure processing known as Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE).
FHE is a form of quantum-secure cryptography that closes the last vulnerability in cloud systems: unlike other encryption methods, FHE does not 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.
Optalysys said the technology is attractive to all major industries including finance and banking, manufacturing, healthcare and machine analytics. Research firm Global Market Insights estimates that the global FHE market is set to grow to $53 billion by 2030.
Optalysys aims to become the world’s leading provider of confidential and private computing leading to the encrypted data centre, where today’s trust and security issues of sending data to the cloud become consigned to history.
The investment 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. The funding will also be used to expand its team in England, Europe and the US.
Co-founders Dr Nick New and Robert Todd said the funding marks the culmination of more than 20 years’ development in optical computing, during which they have relocated to Leeds to draw on the city's resources and the university’s strong expertise in the field.
Dr Nick New CEO of Optalysys, said: “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.
“It is a very exciting moment for Optalysys and it’s fantastic to have the backing of such prestigious deep tech investors to help us reach our goals. We have turned optical computing on its head. What’s more, FHE is just the starting point for where our technology can go.”
Paul Johnson, corporate partner at Mills & Reeve who led the team advising Optalysys, said: “The deal highlights how Yorkshire is a growing technology hub with cutting-edge companies attracting national and international investment.
“Optalysys is a perfect example of a pioneering deep tech firm that is putting the region on the world stage. It was a pleasure to advise the visionary team at Optalysys on securing the funding and we are looking forward to working with the company as it sets out to revolutionise the optical computer industry.”
The Mills & Reeve team included Paul Johnson, Katharine Robinson, Natalie Selman, Laura Cooke and Thomas Hurley.
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