James Riley
September 11, 2019

Q-CTRL’s $22m great leap forward

Startups

Q-CTRL’s $22m great leap forward

Michael Biercuk: New capital will fund geographic expansion with office opening in LA

Sydney-based quantum computing startup Q-CTRL has completed a $22 million Series A funding round (US$15 million) led by Australia’s largest venture firm Square Peg Capital, less than two years after it was founded.

The round added the Silicon Valley-based Sierra Ventures as a syndicate partner, and includes existing investors, including Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures as well as Sequoia China.

The CSIRO’s Main Sequence Ventures, which was instrumental in getting the ball rolling in funding for Q-CTRL, also participated in the round.

University of Sydney quantum researcher and Q-CTRL founder Professor Michael Biercuk said the new funding was an acknowledge of the value the company is adding, as well as “a statement of support for our global ambitions.”

The investment vaults Q-CTRL into the top-10 most successful fundraisers globally in the nascent quantum computing industry. In Australia, the round represents one of the largest VC deals of the year.

Prof Biercuk said the new capital would support a period of major growth for the company, including a doubling of the existing 25-member team of quantum engineers and software developers.

Q-CTRL would also drive geographic expansion with the opening of a new office in Los Angeles, bringing the company closer to its core customers in the United States.

Q-CTRL specialises in solving the problem of instability that is inherent in quantum computing hardware. Quantum computers are notoriously fragile; the machines being developed now by companies such as IBM, Rigetti and Google can only run operations for very short periods before errors creep in and programs fail.

That fragility puts at risk the potential promise of quantum computers to revolutionise drug discovery, chemistry, materials science and even computations for finance.

Q-CTRL specialises in solving one of the hardest problems in quantum computing – the inherent instability of hardware. The new generation quantum computers are fragile, and machines that are currently being developed by companies such as IBM, Rigetti and Google can only run operations for very short periods before errors creep in and programs fail.

That fragility puts at risk the potential promise of quantum computers to revolutionise drug discovery, chemistry, materials science and even computations for finance.

“This is a wonderful story about long-term investment in basic science leading to an outstanding commercial outcome for Australia,” University of Sydney deputy vice-chancellor for research Duncan Ivison said. “We congratulate Mike on his continuing success.”

Q-CTRL’s solutions are demonstrated in peer-reviewed journals to reduce hardware-error susceptibility by orders of magnitude, enabling an accelerated pathway to the first commercially relevant quantum computers.

The Q-CTRL technology is based on a decade of research led by Dr Biercuk.

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