Finland-based startup secures US$13M in seed funding from international investors
ESPOO, Finland, July 09, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With a vision to drive disruptive advancements in quantum computing, a team of innovators has launched IQM Finland Oy (IQM). The startup—a spinout from Aalto University (Aalto) and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)—is developing high-speed quantum processors to reduce the error rates currently limiting quantum computers. The team has already pioneered breakthroughs in thermal management and other areas that influence computational speed and information accuracy. The innovations establish IQM as an emerging hardware systems leader in the race to develop a quantum computer for practical applications.
The company also just closed a US$13M seed round. The funders are Matadero QED, Maki.vc, MIG Fonds, OpenOcean, Tesi (Finnish Industry Investment), and Vito Ventures. Fund executives include global semiconductor experts and entrepreneurs who will help IQM to build infrastructure, recruit talent, and expand collaborations with ecosystem partners. MIG Partner Dr. Axel Thierauf becomes Chairman; Ekaterina Almasque, a Partner with OpenOcean joins the board.
Quantum computing will revolutionize industries like drug discovery, materials science and finance by solving complex problems in hours instead of years. Although in its infancy, the industry could reach US$2-5B in the next five years. In ten years, it could soar to US$50B, according to a recent BCG analysis.
IQM’s founders connected through their research at Aalto and VTT. All hold PhDs in quantum physics and are experts in superconducting quantum processors. Aalto and VTT were natural incubators for IQM. Both are world-renowned for their research in superconducting circuits, and more recently, quantum technology. Superconducting circuits power the quantum bits (qubits) that hold and process quantum information. Qubits represent the building blocks of a quantum computer.
Accelerating the adoption of quantum computing relies on relentlessly increasing computational speeds and improving error correction. This calls for driving faster clock cycles by vastly reducing the time required for qubit reset, logic gates and readout. Getting there requires hardware systems that are finely tuned to keep the fragile qubits stable, yet are robust, practical and cost effective. This is IQM’s domain.
Now, with its hardware innovations, the company aims to demonstrate the fastest qubit reset and readout in the industry, and bring a practically useful quantum computer closer to reality.
“IQM is founded on innovation that’s already taking quantum technology across new frontiers. Thanks to the support of Aalto and VTT, we moved fast to drive advancements at the system level to make quantum technology viable, practical and cost effective.” ~ Dr. Jan Goetz, Co-founder & CEO, IQM.
“We’re thrilled that our steady progress inspired our investors to enable our next growth phase. Their expertise will be invaluable as we build a strong technology company.” ~ Dr. Juha Vartiainen, Co-founder and COO, IQM.
“Our headquarters in Finland—a hub of quantum research—is a powerful differentiator for IQM. It gives us access to technologists doing ground-breaking work, and puts us close to institutions offering fabrication facilities with cutting-edge process technologies that we will use to develop our products.” ~ Prof. Mikko Möttönen, Co-founder & Chief Scientist, IQM; Founder of Aalto’s Quantum Computing Devices (QCD) Group.
“We’re excited to advance our efforts to demonstrate the fastest qubit reset and readout in the industry. We’re confident this will bring the industry closer to a viable quantum computing solution.” ~ Dr. Kuan Tan, Co-founder & CTO, IQM.
“We invested in IQM because we believe that the path to scalable QC lies in hardware ingenuity. Beyond that, we’re impressed by the team’s knowledge and expertise, their disciplined approach to solving formidable problems, and their keen understanding of what it takes to turn remarkable innovation into a promising business. We’re pleased to support their efforts.” ~ Dr. Axel Thierauf, Partner at MIG Fonds.
“Today's software solutions are constrained by the limitations of CPUs and GPUs, making more complex optimization, modelling and artificial intelligence workloads not feasible. IQM's fault-tolerant quantum processor architecture will open the door for more powerful computationally intensive tasks. The talented team is set to enable a unique quantum cloud offering and ignite a stronger quantum software eco-system in Europe.” ~ Ekaterina Almasque, Partner at OpenOcean.
“Quantum computing will provide limitless opportunities in areas like AI, cybersecurity and chemistry. And although the worldwide field of quantum experts is small, IQM has managed to assemble a remarkable team. We are proud to champion the company as they write new rules for this revolutionary computing category.” ~ Ilkka Kivimäki, Partner at Maki.vc.
About IQM Finland Oy
IQM is driving disruptive advancements in quantum computing. The startup is developing high-speed quantum processors to reduce the error rates currently limiting quantum computers. With its early innovations in thermal management and other areas that influence computational speed and information accuracy, the company is an emerging hardware systems leader in the global race to develop a large-scale quantum computing solution for practical applications. Headquartered in Espoo, Finland, IQM is privately held and supported by international investors. www.meetiqm.com
Note to Reporters: IQM’s CEO Dr. Goetz will deliver a keynote address at 1E9 The_Conference happening this week in Munich. Goetz’s presentation is titled “Shaping the Quantum Future from Europe”.
Jan Goetz, CEO; email: email@example.com; +358 505 666 483 (English & German)
Mikko Möttönen, Chief Scientist; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; +358 505 940 950 (English & Finnish)
Kuan Yen Tan, CTO; email: email@example.com; +358 503 442 896 (English & Chinese)
Jane Evans-Ryan; Genuity Communications; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
IQM: Pioneering a Path to Practical Quantum Computing
IQM’s early breakthroughs include innovations in thermal management that influence qubit reset. Qubits are fragile and highly sensitive to heat. Stringent temperature control is essential to avoid overheating. A continuously active qubit cooler is not an option because it would change the logical state of the qubit and generate computational error. So IQM developed a device called a quantum-circuit refrigerator (QCR). With a unique on/off capability, it can be deployed at specific times during the quantum computing cycles to quickly initialize the memory. Unlike other coolers, the QCR cools qubits directly. When activated, it takes the qubit state to zero. By enabling unprecedented temperature control, it addresses a key quantum computing bottleneck: slow and imperfect reset of the quantum memory.
A separate IQM breakthrough involves a novel technique to accelerate readout time. Currently, readout time is too long for the quantum processors to qualify for quantum error correction. The team developed a new type of multi-channel readout for qubits that speeds up the extraction of quantum information from the qubits. The readout technique reveals the information stored in qubits faster and with greater accuracy.
IQM is now building on the early breakthroughs with an aggressive roadmap to develop new hardware systems. The systems will be designed for easy integration into existing frameworks.