The Deep Tech Insider reported yesterday about Celestial AI’s $56 million Series A funding round. The Santa Clara, California-based early-stage startup, only founded in 2020 by David Lazovsky, Preet Virk and Michelle Tomasko, is a machine learning (ML) accelerator company that has developed a proprietary technology platform that enables the next generation of high-performance computing solutions. Celestial AI’s goal is to transform data-parallel computing with a proprietary Photonic Fabric™ technology platform that uses light for data movement both within chip and between chips.
We develop audacious AI computing platforms that elevate performance, energy and economic efficiencies, enabling our customers to rapidly deploy innovations in their AI applications
— Celestial AI
Due in part to technological progress in how data communications have navigated silicon photonics technology and volume manufacturing ecosystems that are ripe for commercial implementation of ML and high-performance computing (HPC) solutions which leverage integrated silicon photonics for data movement, Celestial AI’s IP can achieve “differentiated single node performance that scales efficiently, providing significant performance gains for multi-node and multi-model applications.”
Part of this early success in raising so much external capital must not only lie in the Celestial AI’s unique technology but in the founding team, too.
David Lazovsky is Celestial AI’s CEO, as well as being a Venture Partner at Khosla Ventures and Executive Chairman at POET Technologies, an integrated photonics device company in the semiconductor industry.
In 2004, Lazovsky founded Intermolecular, a semiconductor and clean energy research, development and Intellectual Property licensing company. He served as the company’s CEO, President and as a member of the board of directors from September 2004 through October 2014. As President and CEO, Lazovsky led all aspects of the business through its lifecycle from an early-stage start-up to a public company. Intermolecular (IMI) went public on the NASDAQ in 2011.
Lazovsky has an in-depth knowledge of semiconductor, data/telecommunications, photonics and clean energy industries, as well as extensive international business experience.
He previously served as Chairman, Energy Storage Systems (ESS), an industry leader in low-cost, long-duration energy storage 2017–2018.
Prior to Intermolecular, Lazovsky held several senior management positions at Applied Materials. He was responsible for managing more than $1 billion in Applied Materials’ semiconductor manufacturing equipment business in the Metal Deposition and Thin Films Product Business Groups.
Lazovsky was Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011, Northern California finalist.
He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio University and currently has over 50 issued and 5 pending U.S. patents.
Preet Virk is Celestial AI’s COO. A technology leader, Virk specializes in general business unit management, strategy development and execution, product and people management, mergers and acquisitions, market share gain, revenue, and profitability focus.
Virk has experience managing large engineering teams across a range of technologies and end markets and has managed semiconductor design and development, embedded software development, applications, product/ test engineering, packaging, and technical marketing teams.
Virk received a BSEE in Electrical Engineering from the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology and an MBA in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Michelle Tomasko is VP of Software at Celestial AI. With twenty years of technical leadership in the silicon industry and a proven track record for propelling engineering teams to success on ambitious programs with aggressive schedules, Tomasko has a passion for data-parallel computation, microprocessor architecture, and low power designs. She enjoys bridging software and hardware disciplines and building and managing great teams and technical leaders.
Tomasko obtained an MS in Computer Science from Colorado State University.
Whether the newest round of funding will accelerate Celestial AI’s further growth, the team in place and the proprietary technology platform seem like they could be enough to garner success for this startup currently in stealth mode.
The Deep Tech Insider wishes them luck.