- Australia-based quantum computing startup Q-CTRL announced that it raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Square Peg Capital
Q-CTRL — an Australia-based quantum computing startup — announced it raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Square Peg Capital and it added Silicon Valley-based Sierra Ventures as an investor. This round of funding also includes participation from existing investors including Sequoia Capital, Main Sequence Ventures, and Horizons Ventures.
And this investment constitutes one of Australia’s largest venture capital deals in 2019 and places Q-CTRL among the most successful fundraisers globally in the emerging quantum technology industry.
Ever since Q-CTRL was founded in 2017, the company has rapidly established itself as a global leader in quantum computing. Last year, Q-CTRL was named as the only company outside of North America to be included in IBM’s hand-picked network of startups working to advance the emerging quantum computing industry.
This capital raise will support major growth, roughly doubling the existing 25 member team of quantum engineers and software developers. And in addition, it will support geographic expansion to include a new office in Los Angeles thus bringing Q-CTRL staff closer to core customers in the US.
Launched by Professor Michael J Biercuk, Q-CTRL produces “quantum firmware,” which is a set of special low-level programs that allows quantum computing hardware to be more resistant against errors. And Q-CTRL emerged from Professor Biercuk’s lab at the University of Sydney as a way to bring his team’s expertise in stabilizing quantum systems against “interference” from their environments to the developing market for quantum technology.
“Being at the vanguard of the birth of a new industry is extraordinary,” said Professor Biercuk. “We’re also thrilled to be assembling one of the most impressive investor syndicates in quantum technology. Finding investors who understand and embrace both the promise and the challenge of building quantum computers is almost magical.”
Some of Q-CTRL’s customers include Rigetti, Bleximo, Accenture, and several others.
“Q-CTRL impressed us with their strategy; by providing infrastructure software to improve quantum computers for R&D teams and end-users, they’re able to be a central player in bringing this technology to reality,” added Square Peg Capital investment partner Tushar Roy. “Their technology also has applications beyond quantum computing, including in quantum-based sensing, which is a rapidly-growing market. In Q-CTRL we found a rare combination of world-leading technical expertise with an understanding of customers, products and what it takes to build an impactful business.”
Q-CTRL is providing a globally unique offering and fills a niche building “infrastructure software” to aid in the development of quantum computers and other quantum technologies. And the company specializes in solving one of the hardest problems in quantum computing: hardware instability against noise and errors.
Quantum computers are known for being fragile and the machines being developed now by companies like Rigetti and IBM can only run operations for very short periods before errors creep in and programs fail. This fragility puts at risk the potential promise of quantum computers to revolutionize drug discovery, chemistry, and even computations for finance.
“As emerging and deep technology investors, we have been patiently looking for opportunities in quantum computing but knew that noise and error were this technology’s Achilles heel,” commented Sierra Ventures director Ben Yu. “We were ecstatic when we discovered Q-CTRL, which provides solutions to overcome this problem on any quantum computing hardware. We see Q-CTRL’s offerings as not only essential to the industry in the long term, but critical to accelerating the pathway to the first useful applications of quantum computing.”
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