Quantum Machines raises $50M to boost software aims

Quantum Machines founders (left to right) Nissim Ofek, vice president of R&D; CEO Itamar Sivan, and CTO Yonatan Cohen. (Ilya Melnikov, Haaretz)

The companies building quantum computers have gotten a ton of attention this year, but software is going to be a big part of the quantum computing equation, too. Maybe investors are starting to notice, as Israel-based Quantum Machines, developer of a full-stack quantum computing orchestration platform and a new programming language, has raised $50 million in Series B funding.

That is believed to be the largest funding round yet for a quantum computing company not focused on creating the computer itself. The money will go a long way toward helping Quantum Machines expand its growth into quantum cloud computing and drive its worldwide distribution for its key products--the Quantum Orchestration Platform (QOP) and the QUA programming language, said Quantum Machines CEO Itamar Sivan. 

The recently-announced QUA could be served well by more expansive marketing, as it has been positioned by the company as the first universal programming language for quantum computers. It’s still very early in the quantum computing evolution, and such a tool could become very significant as the sector turns its attention from building qubits to programming them for different purposes and applications.

“Substantial resources are aimed at the marketing infrastructure and building the community of QUA and towards further increasing its adoption,” Sivan told Fierce Electronics. “QUA is solving true unmet needs for the R&D involved in the development of useful quantum computers.

Quantum Machines Series B round was led by Red Dot Capital Partners, with the participation of Exor, Claridge Israel, Samsung NEXT, Valor Equity Partners, Atreides Management LP, and joined by TLV Partners, Battery Ventures, Altshuler Shaham and other existing investors. Yaniv Stern, Managing Partner at Red Dot Capital Partners, will join Quantum Machines’ board of directors.

In addition to using the new funding to beef up marketing and adoption efforts for QOP and QUA, Sivan said the three-year-old company plans to use the funds to fuel the release of “breakthrough technologies in the coming year,” although he declined to provide further specifics about those projects. 

Also, Quantum Machines plans to open offices in new countries around the world to help grow the organization and recruit new developer talent. The company has also seen major growth over the past 12 months, tripling its interdisciplinary team of physicists and engineers based in Israel, France, Germany, Canada, and the U.S, according to a company statement. Quantum Machines also recently teamed up with university researchers on a multi-year project to further error correction for quantum computing.

Funding rounds for quantum computing start-ups have been on the increase for the last couple of years. CB Insights noted earlier this year that the number of funding deals was up from about 26 in 2019 to 37 in 2020, although funding amounts were down during the pandemic-pressured months of 2020. Among recent deals, another quantum software start-up, Super.tech, recently gained an investment from quantum-focused accelerator Duality. Also, Quantum Brilliance, which works with synthetic diamonds for quantum computer accelerators, raised $9.7 million.

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