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Deeptech

Quantum computing

The European startups lining up a quantum leap

Last updated: 13 Jan 2022

Market 101

Basics

Classical computers use binary “bits” that exist either as 0 or 1 to encode information. Quantum computers instead use infinitely small quantum bits — qubits — which can be 0 or 1 at the same time. This allows them to simultaneously consider a much larger number of possible combinations than classical computers can, and therefore calculate outcomes at much faster speeds.

101

For years, “quantum supremacy” was the holy grail that labs around the world were striving towards as they tried to produce a quantum computer that would be able to solve problems a traditional computer could not. After teams at Google and China’s University of Science and Technology demonstrated quantum supremacy (in fairly specific and theoretical situations) in 2019 and 2021, the goal posts have moved to demonstrating “quantum advantage”, with a focus on solving problems in a practical application. Though it may still be a long while until then, the timelines are now clearer than ever.

This is fuelling cautious excitement in quantum startups — combined with the fact that in this nascent industry, breakthroughs can come in unexpected places. American giants may have the biggest quantum computers with the most qubits, but startups are betting that any of them could discover higher quality qubits that are more reliable and easier to scale. Their pitch to investors is ultimate risk with ultimate reward, in a sector where there’s all to play for.

Early stage market map

Early stage market map

Key facts

€400-750bn

projected value created through quantum computing in the next 15- 30 years1

28

% of large companies with quantum aspirations that plan to invest more than $1m in the technology2

20 seconds

speed at which a photon-based quantum system calculated what would take a supercomputer 600m years, in a show of quantum supremacy at China’s University of Science and Technology

Startups tracked by Sifted

Sifted take

While the US and China might have dominated on the hardware so far, Europe still has every possibility of leapfrogging them with a breakthrough. And in any case, as in classical computing, some of the biggest opportunities could come from quantum software, where the market is still wide open. The key to success right now is companies securing the best teams — the race for talent is going to dominate the industry in the next year.

Rising stars

QphoX

Quantum hardware

Quantum internet

Total funding

€2m

Delft, Netherlands
2021

Is developing a modem to link different quantum processors together, thereby addressing the scaling challenges of quantum computing. The startup hopes to be the first to commercialise its quantum modem and expects to start tests with customers within two years.

Round

Seed

Valuation

€10m


Date

2021

Size

€2m

Multiverse Computing SL

Quantum software

Applications (finance)

Total funding

€11.5m

San Sebastián, Spain
2019

Has developed quantum software that reportedly speeds up banking operations like portfolio optimisation and fraud detection by 100x. The company matches algorithms with a specific quantum computer best suited to a given problem. Clients include Caixa Bank, the Bank of Canada and Spanish bank BBVA.

Round

Seed

Valuation

€34.5m


Date

2021

Size

€10m

Alice&Bob

Quantum hardware

Computing

Total funding

Paris, France
2020

Has developed a prototype for the first “fault-tolerant” quantum computer, which reportedly reduces the number of errors by 300x by automating corrections. Drawing on the expertise of a consortium of French universities and research institutes, the company aims to develop a fully operational quantum computer within five years.

Round

Seed

Valuation

€3m


Date

2020

Size

€3m

Early stage startups to watch

Aegiq

Sheffield, United Kingdom
2019
Seed

4.2m

2.2m

-

Alice&Bob

Paris, France
2020
Series A

30m

3m

-

Beit.tech

Kraków, Poland
2016
Seed

1.3m

1.3m

-

ChemAlive

2014
Grant

630k

600k

-

ColibrITD

Paris, France
2019
Bootstrapped

300k

-

-

Crypto Quantique

London, United Kingdom
2016
Seed

11m

3.7m

17.5m

HQS Quantum Simulations

Karlsruhe
2017
Seed

2.3m

2.3m

-

Kuano

London, UK
2017
Seed

3.7m

1.2m

-

Miraex

Ecublens, Switzerland
2019
Seed

10m

3.8m

-

Molecular Quantum Solutions

Søborg, Denmark
2019
Angel

211k

27k

180k

Multiverse Computing SL

San Sebastián, Spain
2019
Seed

11.5m

10m

-

Nu Quantum Ltd

Cambridge, United Kingdom
2018
Seed

3.3m

2.5m

-

ORCA Computing

London, United Kingdom
2019
Seed

3.5m

3.5m

16m

Oxford Ionics

Kidlington
2019
Seed

-

3.2m

-

Pharmacelera

Barcelona, Spain
2015
Grant

1.3m

960k

-

Phasecraft

London, United Kingdom
2018
Seed

5.3m

4.4m

-

PQShield

Oxford, United Kingdom
2018
Series A

24.6m

18.2m

-

Qblox

Delft, Netherlands
2018
Grant

5m

-

-

QphoX

Delft, Netherlands
2021
Seed

2m

2m

10m

Quantastica

Helsinki, Finland
2019
Pre-seed

200k

200k

1m

QuantWare

Delft, Netherlands
2021
Pre-seed

1.1m

1.1m

-

Qubit Pharmaceuticals SAS

Paris, France
2020
Pre-seed

4m

1.3m

-

Sparrow Quantum

Copenhagen, Denmark
2015
Pre-seed

1m

1m

-

Universal Quantum

Brighton, England
2018
Seed

4m

4m

-

Europe’s success stories

Who early stage startups are up against

(Pre-)Seed

SeriesA

SeriesB

SeriesC

SeriesD+

IPO/Exit

→ Focuses on encryption and security matters in quantum computing

→ Went public via a SPAC at a $1.4bn valuation last year

(Pre-)Seed

SeriesA

SeriesB

SeriesC

SeriesD+

IPO/Exit

→ Aims to build Finland’s first commercial 54-qubit superconducting quantum computer by 2024 (the company debuted a five-qubit machine in November)

→ Has raised the most ($118m) of all private quantum computing companies in Europe

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