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Q-CTRL leaps into the global top-10 of quantum start-ups

Q-CTRL leaps into the global top-10 of quantum start-ups
Q-CTRL founder and CEO Professor Michael J. Biercuk in the Sydney Nanoscience Hub at the University of Sydney Nano Institute. Credit: Q-CTRL
The quantum technology company started by Professor Michael J. Biercuk from the University of Sydney has today announced a $US15 million ($22 million) venture capital fundraising round, which catapults Q-CTRL into the top-10 of global quantum start-ups.

"This funding is an exceptional acknowledgement of the value we're adding to the quantum community and a statement of support for our global ambitions," Professor Biercuk said.

New funding for Q-CTRL is led by Australia's largest venture capital fund Square Peg Capital and adds a new syndicate member, Silicon Valley's Sierra Ventures.

The round also includes participation from existing investors including Sequoia Capital, Main Sequence Ventures, and Horizons Ventures.

This investment places Q-CTRL in the top-10 most successful fundraisers globally in the emerging quantum technology industry and constitutes one of Australia's largest venture-capital deals for 2019.

Q-CTRL specialises in solving one of the hardest problems in quantum computing—the inherent instability of 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's web-based suite of infrastructure software is based on a decade of research undertaken at the University of Sydney's Quantum Control Laboratory run by Professor Biercuk.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison said: "This is a wonderful story about long-term investment in basic science leading to an outstanding commercial outcome for Australia. 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, accelerating the pathway to the first commercially relevant quantum computers.

The company currently has Rigetti, Bleximo, Accenture, and others as customers. Last year it was chosen as the first company outside North America to be included in IBM's Q Network of start-ups working to advance the emerging quantum computing industry.

Professor Biercuk said: "This capital raise will support major growth for the company, roughly doubling the 25-member team of quantum engineers and software developers. It will also support geographic expansion to include a new office in Los Angeles, bringing Q-CTRL staff closer to core customers in the US. It's a thrilling time for the team and this emerging industry."

Interviews Professor Biercuk is attending the Quantum.Tech Congress in Boston, MA, this week and is available for interviews by phone, Skype, or in person in the US.

Provided by University of Sydney