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UK’s Oxford Quantum Circuits snaps up $47M for quantum-computing-as-a-service – TechCrunch

Quantum computing has made quantum leaps in recent years – from theoretical concept to multiple testbeds to help organizations prepare for a time when quantum computers and their unprecedented computing power will become a reality at scale. Now based in the UK Oxford quantum circuits announces £38 million ($47 million) in funding to fuel the growth of its own contribution to space – a patented 3D processor architecture it names coaxmon, plus quantum computing-as-a-service running on it. According to OQC, this Series A is the largest to date for a UK-based quantum computer startup.

“We work quickly and our systems are being optimized. We will continue to scale and reduce error rates,” said Ilana Wisby, founding CEO of OQC, in an interview. “Our vision is seamless quantum access.”

Lansdowne Partners and The University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners (UTEC), a deep tech fund from Japan, are co-leading the round, with British Patient Capital, Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE) and Oxford Investment Consultants (OIC) also participating. OSE and OIC previously introduced a £2.2million seed round into the startup, which was founded as a spin-out from Oxford University and there by quantum physicist (and OQC founder) Dr. Peter Leek was launched.

The plan is to use the funds to hire more talent (there are now 60 employees), to further improve accessibility to quantum computing for developers interested in it, and to further expand the computing infrastructure, which today is based on an 8-qubit -Machine. And as you can see from the list of investors, it will also use some of the funds to expand into the Asia-Pacific region, and specifically Japan, to target potential clients in the financial services space and beyond.

“Quantum computing promises to be the next frontier of innovation, and OQC aims to integrate the cutting-edge of modern physics into our daily lives with its cutting-edge coaxmon technology,” said Lenny Chin, one of the directors of UTEC. in an opinion. “UTEC is honored to be part of OQC’s mission to make quantum technology accessible to all and will support OQC’s expansion into the Asia-Pacific region through collaborations with academia, including the University of Tokyo, and partnerships with Japan’s leading financial and support technology companies.”

Wisby told me that OQC actually started raising this Series A before the pandemic in early 2020; but it chose to shelve that process and move on grants but rather to grow the company in its earlier phases.

That took OQC quite a long way, evolving from a 1 qubit to a 2 qubit, then to a 4 qubit and now currently an 8 qubit machine.

The startup also already offers services to a variety of clients, working either through OQC’s private cloud or via Amazon Braket, AWS’s quantum computing platform, which also gives developers access to other Quantum-as-a-Service providers such as Rigetti, IonQ and D-Wave. (OQC notes that its quantum computer, named Lucy, is the first European quantum provider on Braket – an important detail for companies and quantum researchers based outside of Europe who need to comply with data protection laws by keeping data and processing it locally: this gives them a local Option.)

His customers include Cambridge Quantumhis is running iron bridge cryptographic number generator on OQC’s computer; financial services company; molecular dynamics researcher; Government organizations and large multinationals with in-house research and development teams working on systems that can run on quantum machines when they are finally powered up.

“Eventually” is the key word here: The real promise of quantum computers is enormous computing power, but a quantum computer has yet to be built that can achieve this on a large scale without also producing many errors.

But it seems that many hopes these days are pinned not on the “if” but on the “when” of this hurdle. “We’re way beyond theory,” Wisby said.

This has led to a big wave of both big tech players such as e.g IBM, Amazon and alphabet to get involved, as well as a number from smaller startups, and companies like Rigetti, IonQ and D-Wave that sit between these two poles. While some choose to build and sell quantum devices, the economics don’t make sense for most potential use cases, so the larger effort currently seems to revolve around quantum in the cloud: embracing it as an infrastructure-free, user-computing service Requirement.

Although Oxford Quantum Circuits’ 8-qubit computer isn’t the biggest in the field, Wisby said one reason he’s picking up users, and this investment in a tough fundraising climate, is because his platform is better, since it produces fewer errors than others.

“We’re all working on bigger processes,” Wisby said. But, she added, there is something to be said for better quality and fewer errors. “We have low error rates and the funding will allow us to implement the next steps.”

Another important impetus in this process is the fact that regions and countries are looking to provide early support to leaders in this field to solidify their respective standings in this next generation of technology and as such supporting Oxford Quantum Circuits is seen as part of that this strategy. British Patient Capital is a strategic backer in this regard: it is the investment arm of British Business Bank, a state-owned bank focused on UK business and industry development

“Since the launch of the first commercially available quantum computer in the UK, we have been very impressed by both the technical developments and future ambitions of OQC,” said Peter Davies, partner and head of developed markets strategy at Lansdowne Partners, in a statement. “We are very pleased to invest in this innovative and future-oriented company.”

UK’s Oxford Quantum Circuits snaps up $47M for quantum-computing-as-a-service – TechCrunch Source link UK’s Oxford Quantum Circuits snaps up $47M for quantum-computing-as-a-service – TechCrunch

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