Ayar Labs Names Mark Wade CEO

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Dec. 11, 2023 – Silicon photonics company Ayar Labs today announced the appointment of co-founder and CTO Mark Wade (pictured here) to serve as its new CEO. Wade succeeds Charles Wuischpard, who will continue to serve in an advisory capacity over the coming weeks before he transitions out of the company in mid-January.

“I’m humbled and honored to take on the role of CEO for Ayar Labs,” Wade said. “There is a growing sense of momentum across the industry as it becomes increasingly clear that optical I/O enables large-scale AI compute and other data intensive workloads to operate at bandwidths, energy efficiencies, and latencies that are unachievable through electrical based interconnect technology. I look forward to guiding our incredible team to capitalize on this opportunity, enabling our customers to realize the full potential of in-package optical I/O, and helping the company accelerate into our next growth phase.”

“Mark’s deep understanding of Ayar Labs’ technology and its application is shaped by a breadth of industry and customer engagements that make him the ideal leader to carry the company forward to its next stage of growth. At the same time, I would like to thank Charlie for his tremendous leadership and contributions to the company over the past five years, and for his ongoing guidance to ensure a seamless leadership transition in the coming weeks,” said Matt Hershenson, partner and co-founder of Playground Global.

Wade is recognized as a pioneer in photonics technologies and, prior to founding Ayar Labs, led the team that designed the optics in the world’s first processor to communicate using light. He and his co-founders invented breakthrough technology at MIT and UC Berkeley from 2010-2015 which led to the formation of Ayar Labs.

“Mark has been instrumental in building a strong foundation for Ayar Labs and this is a natural progression in an extraordinary journey for both him and the company,” Wuischpard said. “My focus since I joined Ayar Labs was to put the company on the path to long-term growth. With the incredible progress we have made over the past two years in particular, this feels like the right inflection point to make this transition and I couldn’t be more excited to see Mark lead the next phase of the company’s growth as CEO.”

Ayar Labs is leading the silicon photonics revolution. Earlier this year, the company showcased the industry’s first 4 terabit-per-second (Tbps) optical solution, moving data from one TeraPHY optical I/O chiplet to another at 2 Tbps in each direction powered by Ayar Labs’ SuperNova light source. The company is able to achieve this data transfer at very low latency (5ns per chiplet + TOF) and using less than 5 pJ/bit (10W), a high level of energy efficiency that provides the power density and performance per watt needed for data-intensive workloads such as generative AI, machine learning, and more while also supporting novel disaggregated compute and memory architectures.

Ayar Labs said the past two years have marked a momentous period for the company, with an exciting line-up of customers and market opportunities. The company recently demonstrated its in-package optical I/O solution integrated with Intel’s industry-leading Agilex  FPGA technology. This new optically-enabled FPGA promises 5x the current industry bandwidth at 5x lower power and 20x lower latency, all packaged in a common PCIe card form factor.

The company was recently honored with Fast Company’s 2023 Next Big Things in Tech Award. Other accolades include EE Times’ Silicon 100: Startups Worth Watching in 2023, CRN’s The 10 Hottest Semiconductor Startups of 2023 (So Far), and Forbes’ America’s Best Startup Employers list.