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Why we invested in Oriole Networks

By Sebastian Hunte



We are delighted to be part of the £10 million seed investment into Oriole Networks. 

The company is tackling the significant power consumption and efficiency challenges facing data centres and high-performance computing clusters. This power consumption is anticipated to rival that of Europe by 2040. A major contributing factor to this is the mismatch between the rapid advancement of processor capabilities and the slower rate of network speed improvements. This gap results in considerable inefficiencies, particularly under the growing demands for AI and large-scale data processing.

Oriole Networks is addressing these issues through development of an optical networking system, moving away from the traditional reliance on electronic switches. This shift is not solely focused on reducing power consumption but also significantly enhancing the efficiency and speed of the system as a whole. Oriole have approached thew challenge from this system level perspective and have developed a technology suite, comprising of proprietary network interface cards (NICs), scheduling units, and transceivers and machine learning based approaches to orchestrate and optimise the system’s function. Together this enables a significant speed up in data centres and HPCs while not losing out on flexibility and robustness.

The technology has already demonstrated remarkable results in lab tests, processing data up to 171 times faster than conventional methods. This efficiency equates to significant reductions in both the time and energy required for AI model training, with some common workloads experiencing training speed ups by as much as 58 times.

One of the most compelling aspects of the investment case for us is CEO James Regan, who brings over 35 years of experience in optical networks having previously bee CEO of EFFECT Photonics. James brings strong relationships across the supply chain, a deep understanding of what it takes to build a venture scale business in the sector and comfort with navigating go-to-market in the space.

Sebastian Hunte, Investment Manager

From the technical point of view Prof. George Zervas brings deep expertise in optical network systems having raised over £13 million in research grants and spent more than 10 years researching and developing the underlying technology components that make up the system. His track record of pushing the boundaries of optical networking research is a great complement to James and the rest of the engineering team who bring practical, industry experience to the development process.

Currently, Oriole Networks is focused on moving from lab-tested technology to the construction of a prototype system that can be plugged into the servers of early customers. By leveraging his industry connections James has hired exceptional talent at pace and the team are rapidly developing the technology.

We are excited to support the journey ahead and look forward to seeing the progress that can occur when you combine commercial domain expertise with a deeply technical team to address a massive and growing problem with a unique and differentiated solution.

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