Astrape Networks secures €1.6 million in pre-seed funding to develop photonics-powered ‘sustainable data center’

Astrape Networks secures €1.6 million in pre-seed funding to develop photonics-powered ‘sustainable data center’

Astrape Networks – an innovative tech startup that uses unique integrated photonics to build faster and more sustainable optical networks – has secured a pre-seed funding round of €1.6 million from a consortium of investors and loan providers, including Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij (BOM), Rabobank, Brabant Startup Fonds, TTT Smart Industries, Shift Invest and PhotonDelta.

The investment means that Astrape can begin to develop the technology needed to drive the data centers and optical networks of the future, specifically the use of Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) to build faster, cooler and more energy efficient data centers.

There’s a global need for data centers to keep pace with ever-increasing consumer demand for data – more than 5 billion Internet users in 2023 – but cost and energy efficiency stand in the way. Existing data networks convert electronic signals into optical signals and back again, multiple times. Switching between electrical and optical signals consumes large amounts of energy.

The company aims to eliminate multiple electrical-optical conversions by only converting to optical at the network edge. At current network speeds, that would generate an estimated energy savings of 20%. Based on anticipated future speeds, that could rise to around 60%.

Astrape Networks CEO, Francesco Pessolano, said, “With the first investment, we will 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.

“The investment is key for building a strong core engineering team in networking and photonics that will enable us to develop further towards our first product.”

The result of years of research and development at the Eindhoven University of Technology, Astrape was launched through a venture building program by HighTechXL – Europe’s premier deep tech venture builder and PhotonDelta – the growth accelerator for the photonic chip industry, based in the Netherlands.

Additional support came from The Gate – a launchpad for tech startups in Brainport Eindhoven. Both the thematic tech transfer (TTT) fund of Smart Industries and Circular