Oriole Raises £10M Seed to Mitigate AI’s Environmental Impact

  • Oriole Networks, a UCL spinout, raises £10M in funding to address AI’s carbon footprint.
  • Funding is led by UCL Technology Fund, Clean Growth Fund, XTX Ventures, and Dorilton Ventures.
  • Oriole’s technology aims to reduce energy consumption in AI data centers using light beams instead of cables.
  • CEO James Regan highlights successful technology validation and anticipates deployment in the coming years.
  • Oriole’s team includes renowned scientists like Professor George Zervas.
  • Growing AI demand leads to a surge in high-emission data centers.
  • Investors recognize Oriole’s potential to unlock existing infrastructure’s latent capabilities.
  • Clean Growth Fund emphasizes the urgency of sustainable development in the face of escalating data center energy consumption.

Main AI News:

In a significant move aimed at addressing the colossal carbon footprint of artificial intelligence (AI), Oriole Networks, a spinout from University College London (UCL), has successfully secured £10 million in funding, marking one of the most substantial seed rounds witnessed in recent years.

The funding round was jointly spearheaded by prominent investors, including UCL Technology Fund, Clean Growth Fund, XTX Ventures, and Dorilton Ventures, underscoring the widespread recognition and support for Oriole’s mission.

James Regan, the CEO of Oriole, expressed his enthusiasm regarding the funding, emphasizing its pivotal role in advancing the development of their groundbreaking technology. Oriole’s innovative solution entails leveraging light beams, rather than conventional ethernet cables, to interconnect GPUs within AI data centers, with the aim of dramatically reducing energy consumption while significantly enhancing data transfer speeds.

Regan outlined the progress of Oriole’s technology, highlighting that each component has undergone rigorous validation, culminating in successful network simulations. Although the deployment of their solution in data centers is anticipated to materialize in the coming years, the groundwork has been meticulously laid.

Regan’s entrepreneurial acumen, evidenced by his prior success in establishing tech ventures stemming from university spinouts, lends further credibility to Oriole’s prospects. Notably, his involvement in EFFECT Photonics, which attained a valuation of half a billion dollars, underscores his capability to navigate and capitalize on technological advancements.

The core team steering Oriole’s endeavors comprises distinguished scientists, including Professor George Zervas, Alessandro Ottino, and Joshua Benjamin, with Professor Zervas’ research serving as a cornerstone for the development of GPU connections.

The exponential growth in AI adoption has precipitated a surge in high-emission data centers, posing a pressing environmental challenge. Despite efforts by corporations to obfuscate their energy consumption, the burgeoning demand for AI is exacerbating the strain on energy resources. Data centers presently contribute close to 3% of EU electricity demand, a figure expected to escalate by over 28% by 2030, according to projections by the European Commission. Similarly, in the United States, energy usage by data centers is slated to double between 2022 and 2030.

Daniel Freeman, General Partner at Dorilton Ventures, offered insights into the significance of Oriole’s endeavor within the broader context of IT infrastructure and computational businesses. He emphasized the critical role of Oriole’s innovative approach in unlocking the latent potential embedded within existing infrastructure, particularly in highly network-constrained high-performance computing (HPC) environments.

Beverley Gower-Jones OBE, Managing Partner of Clean Growth Fund, echoed similar sentiments, underscoring the imperative for sustainable development in mitigating the environmental impact of data centers. She emphasized that Oriole’s pioneering approach epitomizes the radical innovation necessary to propel the transition toward achieving Net Zero emissions.


Oriole Networks’ successful funding round underscores the market’s recognition of the pressing need to address the environmental impact of AI infrastructure. With innovative solutions and strong investor backing, Oriole is poised to lead the charge towards a more sustainable digital ecosystem, signaling a shift towards environmentally conscious practices in the AI market.