Israeli Firm Founded by Three Physics Ph.D.s Raises Seed Financing from TLV Partners and Battery Ventures
Quantum Machines, a startup developing the next generation of control and operation systems for quantum computers, has raised $5.5 million in seed financing from venture-capital firms TLV Partners and Battery Ventures. TLV led the round. The firm, based in Israel, was founded by Drs. Itamar Sivan, Yonatan Cohen, and Nissim Ofek, three physics PhDs with long track records in the fields of quantum computing and quantum electronics.
“QM is building a world-leading team of engineers and physicists specialized in every single bit in the quantum control stack and is already advancing at an incredible pace,” said Itzik Parnafes, a general partner at Battery Ventures.
Sivan, Cohen and Ofek founded QM in order to build the classical hardware and software that will allow organizations across industries to realize the potential of quantum processors. Quantum computers hold a great promise to deliver immense computational power, as they will enable organizations to solve computing problems far more quickly than traditional technology. This computational power stems from the exotic behavior of the fundamental building blocks of the quantum processors – the quantum bits (qubits).
“We are on a mission to revolutionize computing,” said Sivan, QM’s CEO. “We are tackling huge technological and scientific challenges with relevance in sectors ranging from transportation to medicine to artificial intelligence. The power of quantum computers stems from their complexity and richness, though it is also this complexity which makes them incredibly difficult to control and operate—which is the problem our company is attempting to solve.” Ultimately, QM envisions selling its technology to companies now developing quantum processors—including the world’s largest Internet companies—as well as academic organizations.
Sivan and Cohen, QM’s chief technology officer, previously founded and managed the entrepreneurship center of the Weizmann Institute, one of the most prestigious research institutes in Israel. The center provides Ph.D.s from all disciplines a platform for founding deep-tech startups and incubating them.
The three founders bring together the experience of working on an incredible range of quantum technologies, including superconducting qubits, nano-wires, quantum optics, atomic clocks, etc. They have spent many years in top universities working on the cutting-edge of quantum computing, including Yale University, University of Washington, Oxford University and the Ecole Normale Superieure.
“Quantum computing is moving at an incredible speed, but there are still many great challenges before these computers start solving real-world problems,” said Cohen. “Up until recently, the efforts were very concentrated on quantum hardware alone. As the number of qubits is increasing and as the complexity of algorithms grows, however, classical hardware and software can become real bottlenecks. After many years of academic research in the field we decided to found a company laser-focused on the development of scalable and universal quantum-control systems, aimed at addressing the most pressing bottlenecks.”
“Quantum computing is a fascinating emerging market, but one that could also dramatically change the world of computing and impact a great deal of industries,” said Segev, a partner at TLV Partners who is joining the company’s board. “This is exactly where we as a venture-capital firm are entering the picture – and especially when we meet a team of entrepreneurs like those at QM. The company develops an important and unique layer in quantum computing systems thanks to a team of entrepreneurs who are world experts in the field. It is a great honor to be part of this journey to establish such a pioneering company.”
Added Itzik Parnafes, a general partner at Battery Ventures, who is joining the company’s board: “QM has an immense vision and the perfect team to fulfill it. QM is building a world-leading team of engineers and physicists specialized in every single bit in the quantum control stack and is already advancing at an incredible pace.”
The funding will allow QM to develop its first system, OPERATOR-X (OPX). The company is already working with leading quantum-computing groups worldwide.