Intel Backed Astera Labs Goes Public: What Investors Need to Know

In 2020, Intel Capital, the global investment arm of Intel Corporation (INTC), made a significant move by unveiling a momentous investment initiative of $132 million. This injection of funds fueled the growth of 11 cutting-edge technology startups, each driving innovation in Artificial Intelligence (AI), autonomous computing, and chip design.

Among these 11 disruptive startups, Astera Labs, Inc. emerged as a key player, ready to redefine connectivity solutions and spearhead transformative industry shifts. Established in 2017, Astera quickly made waves in the semiconductor realm with its state-of-the-art connectivity solutions tailored for AI and cloud applications.

Notably, last year, the chip startup made a significant announcement regarding its entire product portfolio. The company revealed that its products are now equipped to fast-track cloud-scale workloads with unprecedented scaling capabilities.

This development comes at a time when the global cloud AI market is projected to experience substantial growth. It is estimated to reach $647.61 billion by 2030, growing at an impressive CAGR of 39.6% from 2023 to 2030.

Astera’s innovative approach to data center connectivity, bridging accelerators, CPUs, GPUs, memory, and networking, is proving vital in supporting the expansion of cloud infrastructure for AI and data-driven applications at scale.

Thad Omura, SVP of Business and Corporate Development at Astera Labs, underscored the prowess of the company's hardware-optimized PCIe, CXL, and Ethernet connectivity portfolio. He emphasized that these solutions have been meticulously crafted with a software-defined approach, enabling them to deliver unprecedented scale for AI infrastructure and cloud connectivity.

Moreover, encouraged by the prevailing AI frenzy, the chip startup recently announced its plans to transition into a publicly traded entity, set to trade under the ticker symbol “ALAB” on NASDAQ.

The company is gearing up to offer 17.80 million shares priced between $27 and $30 each, aiming to raise to $534 million. Following the completion of the deal, there will be 150.50 million outstanding shares, potentially valuing the company at $4.50 billion at the upper end of that range.

Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan have taken on the role of lead joint book runners for this Initial Public Offering (IPO). Additionally, Barclays, Deutsche Bank Securities, Evercore ISI, and Jefferies are also serving as book runners. Meanwhile, Needham & Company, Stifel, Craig-Hallum Capital Group, Roth Capital Partners, Loop Capital Markets, and Siebert Williams Shank have stepped in as co-managers.

The funds raised from this IPO will be allocated towards working capital and general corporate purposes, with the potential for utilization in acquisitions if suitable opportunities emerge. In a letter included in the filing papers, the three founders of Astera, Jitendra Mohan, Sanjay Gajendra, and Casey Morrison, share their unwavering commitment to the transformative power of AI.

The three founders kickstarted their venture in a garage. Their brainchild, Astera Labs, birthed three product families, each tackling crucial bottlenecks in AI infrastructure.

Aries, designed to enhance CPUs and GPUs, facilitates the scaling of data input/output bandwidth. Taurus focuses on providing AI servers with accelerated network bandwidth. Meanwhile, Leo enables the seamless scaling of memory bandwidth and capacity for CPUs and GPUs.

Astera projects its total addressable market (TAM) to skyrocket to nearly $27.40 billion by 2027, up from approximately $17.20 billion in 2023. In addition, the company boasts an impressive clientele, counting chip industry giants like INTC, NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA), and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD).

Riding the wave of strong chip demand, the company witnessed a solid year-over-year topline growth in fiscal year 2023. In its Form S-1 filing, Astera reported revenue of $115.79 million, marking a robust 44.9% year-over-year growth. The company also saw a notable uptick in its gross profit, climbing to $79.83 million from $58.68 million the previous year.

On the other hand, as a result of making substantial investments in the design and development of new products and platform enhancements, the company remains unprofitable in 2023, incurring a net loss of $26.26 million and $0.71 per share. Yet, this reflects an improvement compared to fiscal year 2022, where the net loss was $58.35 million and $1.71 per share.

Bottom Line

Astera Labs has positioned itself as a frontrunner in the semiconductor industry, driven by its innovative connectivity solutions tailored for AI and cloud applications.

Backed by a significant investment initiative from INTC and boasting impressive financial growth, the company’s transition into a publicly traded entity signifies its confidence in its products and growth potential.

Furthermore, Astera’s IPO announcement arrives amid a perfect storm of opportunity. With the demand for semiconductor chips, especially those powering AI applications, soaring to new heights, the stage is set for Astera's ascent. For instance, NVDA’s stock has surged dramatically, seemingly unstoppable in its ascent.

Meanwhile, the shares of AMD and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. (TSM) have also witnessed significant rises, reflecting the broader trend of robust demand for semiconductor chips.

That said, with a strategic focus on addressing critical bottlenecks in AI infrastructure and a solid client base, including industry giants, Astera is well-poised to capitalize on the booming demand for semiconductor chips. Despite remaining unprofitable in fiscal year 2023, the company’s continuous investments in product development reflect its commitment to unlocking AI's full potential.

Moreover, the funds infusion from the IPO will provide Astera with a substantial financial boost, empowering the company to enhance its operational capabilities and drive strategic growth initiatives.

Overall, Astera’s IPO represents a significant milestone in its journey toward becoming a major player in the semiconductor landscape, with promising prospects for future growth and expansion. Keeping all these factors in mind, Astera emerges as a strong investment candidate.