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

Quantum computing has made leaps and bounds in the past several years—moving from a theoretical concept to multiple test environments, to help organizations prepare for the time when quantum computers, and their unparalleled processing power, will become a reality. Now, based in the United Kingdom Oxford Quantum Circuits Announces £38m ($47m) in funding to support the growth of its contribution to space – a patented 3D processor architecture it calls Quakmon, as well as quantum computing as a service that you will be working on. The OQC says this Series A is the largest to date for a quantum computing startup in the UK.

“We are working at a rapid pace, and our systems are getting improved. We will continue to expand and reduce error rates,” said Ilana Whisby, founding CEO of OQC, in an interview. “Our vision is seamless quantitative access.”

Lansdowne Partners and University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners (UTEC), a deep technology fund from Japan, are co-leading the round, with British Patient Capital, Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE) and Oxford Investment Consultants (OIC) co-leading. OSE and OIC previously led a £2.2 million seed round in the startup, which began life as an offshoot of Oxford University and the work done there by quantum physicist (and OQC founder) Dr Peter Lake.

The plan will be to use the funding to continue hiring more talent (now numbering 60), continue improving access to quantum computing for developers interested in working with it, and continue building the computing infrastructure, which today relies on an 8-qubit machine. And as you might imagine from the list of investors, it will also use some of the funds to expand into the Asia Pacific region, specifically Japan, to tap into potential clients there in financial services and beyond.

“Quantum computing promises to be the next frontier of innovation, and OQC, through state-of-the-art Coaxmon technology, aims to integrate the cutting edge of modern physics into our everyday lives,” said Lenny Chin, Director at UTEC. in the current situation. “We are honored that UTEC is part of OQC’s mission to make quantum technology accessible to all, and will support OQC’s expansion in the Asia Pacific region through collaborations with academia including the University of Tokyo, and partnerships with leading financial and technology companies in Japan.”

Wisby told me that the OQC had already started raising this Series A before the pandemic, in early 2020; But she chose to leave this process on the shelf and move forward Grant Rather to build the company in its earlier stages.

This took OQC very far, going from 1 qubit, to 2 qubits, then 4 qubits, and now an 8 qubit machine.

The startup also offers services to a variety of clients that operate via OQC’s own cloud or via Amazon Braket, AWS’ quantum computing platform that also provides developers with access to other quantum service providers such as Rigetti, IonQ, and D-panel. (OQC notes that its quantum computer, called Lucy, is the first European quantum provider on Braket—a key detail for companies and quantum researchers based outside of Europe who need to comply with data protection laws by holding and processing data locally: this gives them a local option.)

Include a list of their clients Cambridge Quantumwho manages the file iron bridge Cryptographic number generator on the OQC computer; Financial services companies. Molecular dynamics researchers. Government organizations and large multinational corporations whose internal research and development teams are working on systems that can run on quantum machines when they are eventually assembled.

“Ultimately” is the practical word here: the real promise of quantum computing is enormous computing power, but a quantum computer still needs to be built that can achieve this on a large scale without also causing too many errors.

But there seems to be much hope these days not on “if” but “when” this obstacle will be overcome. “We’ve gone way beyond theory,” Whisby said.

This has led to a wave of big tech companies like IBM, Amazon and Alphabet to participate, as well as a number of smaller startups, and companies like Rigetti, IonQ and D-Wave that fall between these two poles. While there are some people who choose to build and sell quantum devices, the economics doesn’t make sense for most potential use cases, so for now, the biggest efforts seem to revolve around quantum in the cloud: presenting it as infrastructure-free, and using-service computing As needed.

Although Oxford Quantum Circuits’ 8-kilobyte computer isn’t the biggest in the field, Wisby said one reason it’s choosing users, and this investment in a challenging fundraising climate, is that its platform is better, in that it produces fewer errors. than others.

“We are all working towards broader operations,” Whisby said. But, she added, there is something to be said for improving quality and reducing errors. “We have low error rates, and the funding will enable us to implement the next steps.”

Another key factor in the process is the fact that regions and countries, are looking to support leaders in the field early on to help cement their place in this next generation of technology, and therefore Oxford Quantum Circuits’ support is seen as part of that strategy. British Patient Capital is a strategic supporter in this regard: it is the investment arm of British Business Bank, a government-owned bank focused on developing business and industry in the UK.

Peter Davies, partner and head of advanced markets strategy at Lansdowne Partners, said in a statement. “We are very excited to invest in this innovative and forward-thinking company.”

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