PHILIPPE BABIN EPIC CEO INTERVIEW
engineers on our team who understand MEMS processes, and we are now ready for production. We think this knowledge is extremely valuable and difficult to develop and obtain.
earlier. On the other hand, as the ship’s captain, you never know how good you are until you encounter troubled waters. My previous experience has made me who I am, it taught me a lot and prepared me to be able to manage both the good and the bad times. As regards to AEPONYX, and this is advice I give to young entrepreneurs, I would ask for more investment in the beginning. As Mark Twain said “They did not know it was impossible, so they did it” - meaning that to succeed in life, you need to be brave and have confidence. When you go into something new it’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen in the future, and there’s a tendency to underestimate how long it will take and how much you will need. In our case, the project has taken almost eight years to monetise.
Who are your main customers and what are the KPIs of your products? Currently, our main customers are in the US and Canada. The main advantages of our products for data
centres are lower cost, lower energy and lower latency. As regards to low power, most datacentres operate between 50 and 100 Gbps. The trend we prepared for is towards 400 Gbps, which requires considerably more power. Whereas the power consumption of the switch part of a 100 Gbps is 2-3 Watts, it increases to 12 Watts for a 400 Gbps transceiver. As a result, conventional 400 Gbps transceivers on the market today are prone to overheating and need rebooting – a problem that our low energy products can overcome. The other driver is the need for latency reduction for high performance. We’re heading toward data centres with co- packaged optics, where the GPUs, CPUs and the components will all require optical circuit switching as in our R.O.C.S. 8 to reduce latency. What we’re doing in terms of strategy is to demonstrate our product applications allowing our customers to validate that there’s a sizeable return on investment and then build our products to their preferred form factors.
Philippe Babin CEO, AEPONYX.
How do you see the future?
PB 2023 will be an important year for us because after so many years in R & D, we’ll be ready to fully commercialise the technology and scale up. This will also be a big challenge because scaling up from a few hundred devices to a few thousand devices and then to even larger quantities, will require more investment and a doubling of our workforce. We will remain fabless, which will mean finding the right fab partners to be able to scale up on chips and optical packaging as well as suppliers for components. We’re not out of the global supply shortage yet, and with the recent geopolitical upheavals, there’s a need to remain cautious and conservative in our approach.
If you started again, what would you do differently?
At a personal level, I’m very happy with my career but I wish I would have started as an entrepreneur
ISSUE 32 | Q1 2023
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