Photonic computing company Optalysys has raised £21 million ($27 million) in series A funding. 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 the data being exposed.
However, the computational burden attached to this poses significant challenges. A single process on encrypted data takes around one million times longer than on unencrypted data, making it nearly impossible to deploy at scale with conventional computer processors.
Optalysys’ technology, an advanced photonic semiconductor, accelerates the FHE process, allowing encrypted data to be processed at similar speeds to its unencrypted form.
The company seeks to launch its technology on a cloud-based service model, in partnership with system integrators and service providers. Initial photonic systems deployed 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, according to the company The funding will also be used to expand the company’s team in Europe and the U.S.