QuantWare raises €6M to scale its quantum processor business

QuantWare, the Dutch startup that builds quantum processors for research and commercial usage, today announced that it has raised a €6 million seed round (that's about $6.33 million) led by Dutch deep tech investor Forward.One, with participation from QDNL Participations and Graduate Entrepreneur, among others. The company says it will use this new funding to scale up its team and support the production and development of its 64-qubit Tenor processor, which, thanks to its innovative architecture, will now allow the company to more quickly scale to larger qubit chips.

Last year, QuantWare was selected to deliver the quantum processing units for Israel's first quantum computer (together with the likes of Quantum Machines) and in recent months the company launched its foundry service for helping others fabricate their own superconducting quantum chips and its first nonprocessor product, the "Crescendo" amplifier. All of this is happening against a backdrop of increased interest in an open hardware ecosystem -- comparable to where classical computing is today.

Right now, though, the focus for QuantWare is its new processor. As the company's CEO and co-founder Matthijs Rijlaarsdam told me, the major advancement is in how it connects the different qubits. With this new processor, the company is going 3D and bringing in these control lines from the top. "This will allow us to create modules that we can stick together and then get to very large qubit counts very rapidly," he explained. The company expects to be able to at least double its qubit count on an annual basis -- and Rijlaarsdam noted that even if they could go faster, given the current state of the overall industry, it would be very hard for any potential customer to control a 1,000-qubit machine right now.

When QuantWare first launched, Rijlaarsdam told me that the company wanted to enable others to build quantum computers. “We’re trying to enable people to become Dell — the Dell of quantum,” he said at the time. That would make QuantWare akin to Intel and AMD for quantum computing. And with a project like Israel's first quantum computer as a marquee customer, it looks like some of these bets are now paying off. "There's an ecosystem forming around our processors. So that's really exciting to see," said Rijlaarsdam.

He also noted that the company, which was spun out of TU Delf/QuTech, expects that it will be able to scale to any current demand -- it's not like there are thousands of firms looking to build a quantum computer, after all. QuantWare, which currently uses national cleanrooms available to researchers and companies in the Netherlands, will continue to bring more of its production in-house over time. "It's not really about volume," Rijlaarsdam said. "It's about quality. It's about fully controlling your process."

The company tells me that it raised more than it had originally planned. Rijlaarsdam tells me that the plan is, thanks to this investment, the company will roughly double in size, but a lot of the investment will also go into acquiring fabrication and measurement equipment (measurement equipment, Rijlaarsdam noted, is a bit of a bottleneck for the industry as a whole).