British quantum computer company Quantum movement has raised £42 million ($50.5 million) in a funding round led by Bosch Ventures (RBVC), with the participation of Porsche, the UK Government’s National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF) and a host of other investors.
Quantum computing, for the uninitiated, builds on principles borrowed from quantum mechanics, with a focus on quantum bits (qubits) rather than atoms, and promises to advance what is possible with computers through complex calculations in a fraction of the time. time to perform. Use cases could be accelerating new drug discoveries or powering the massive amount of data processing required for AI applications.
“Quantum computers will think in completely different ways than today’s computers,” James Palles-Dimmock, CEO of Quantum Motion, explained to australiabusinessblog.com. “Problems that would take a supercomputer thousands of years to crack can be solved by a quantum computer in minutes. The first impact will be in areas related to materials science, including energy materials, chemistry such as drug discovery or optimization – potentially extending to logistics and transportation.
Founded in 2017 by UCL and Oxford University professors John Morton and Simon Benjamin, Quantum Motion aims to create “scalable quantum computers” through new quantum computing architectures compatible with established silicon processing.
As with normal computers, heat negatively affects the qubits in quantum computing, meaning that quantum computers must be kept very cold. Quantum Motion says it has designed integrated circuits capable of “generating, routing and processing signals at deep cryogenic temperatures,” operating at just a few tenths of a degree above absolute zero.
“Our silicon-based quantum chips are typically a few millimeters wide, and we expect the cooling system required to run the chip to have a form factor similar to a standard 19-inch server rack,” said Palles-Dimmock. “It was one of the driving forces behind our location in central London to be able to demonstrate that our approach to quantum computing does not require football field-sized data centers or massive CERN-like facilities.”
Quantum Motion’s latest boost comes amid a surge in space activity for quantum computers. In the past month alone, we’ve seen French startup Pasqal raise €100 million, while Israel’s Quantum Machines closed its Series B round with $70 billion and Australia’s Quantum Brilliance insured $18 million. Elsewhere in the past year, Finland’s IQM, France’s Alice&Bob and UK-based Quantum Circuits have all raised significant amounts of VC money.
Quantum Motion and its ilk also face plenty of competition in the big tech sphere, including IBM, which recently unveiled its 433 qubit Osprey quantum computer, while Google got a new quantum computing sibling last year after Alphabet Sandbox AQ as a stand -alone released company, on its way to raised $500 million in funding last week. Elsewhere, other tech juggernauts like Microsoft and Intel are also investing heavily in quantum.
So, what can Quantum Motion and its fledgling brethren add to the mix that the deep-pocketed behemoths can’t?
“Compared to the big tech companies, our advantage is that we are agile, focused on one goal and have a team that is comparable to the best in the world,” said Palles-Dimmock. “We have a highly skilled team across multiple disciplines, including IC (instrumentation and control) engineering, quantum theory, hardware and software, and deep relationships with leading universities that help us source that talent.”
Quantum Motion had previously raised about $24 million in equity and major financing, and with its new cash injection, the company said it plans to accelerate development of silicon quantum processors by forging “deeper ties” with manufacturers. Indeed, the startup’s strategic investors, including Bosch and Porsche, hint at the impact Quantum Motion aims to have on the industry – quantum computing could transform battery technology as we know itenabling scientists and researchers to simulate batteries to better understand what is happening at the molecular level to optimize materials and thus improve energy density.
But the real possibilities are actually endless, and it’s hard to imagine how transformative quantum computing will prove.
“Like computers in the early 1960s, it was hard to predict what amazing things computers would lead to, and yet it has revolutionized our society,” said Palles-Dimmock. “It wasn’t until computers came into the hands of people everywhere that we got really creative and pushed the boundaries of what computers can do. Quantum computing will be similar, we know it’s going to be transformative in areas like drug discovery, battery technology and more, but we won’t know how transformative they’re going to be until we get there.
It’s worth noting that while quantum computing is advancing at lightning speed, it’s still relatively in its infancy, and the fruits of all the current R&D labor we’re seeing across the board are still several years away.
“Many quantum computing companies exist today and they are all in R&D mode,” said Palles-Dimmock. “Investors know it will take time. It may be the end of the decade before we have truly impactful quantum computers. This increase will allow us to strengthen our relationship with manufacturing partners and demonstrate prototypes that can be scaled up to millions of qubits.”
Quantum Motion’s latest cash infusion included contributions from Octopus Ventures, Oxford Sciences Enterprises, British Patient Capital, Inkef, Parkwalk Advisors and IP Group.