Startup Secures 50M to Advance Quantum Computing Innovation in Europe

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DateJul 8, 2024

planqc, a leading European firm in digital atom-based quantum computing, has secured 50 million in Series A financing. The new financing will be used to establish a quantum computing cloud service and develop quantum software for applications in various industries, including chemistry, healthcare, climate-tech, automotive, and finance.

planqcs unique technology is built on award-winning research at the Max-Planck-Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ). The company aims to rapidly advance the development of industry-relevant quantum computers.

Currently, planqc is already leveraging quantum machine learning to work on climate simulations and developing more efficient batteries for electric vehicles.

Alexander Gltzle, CEO and co-founder of planqc, expressed his enthusiasm about this milestone, stating, This latest investment round is a strong endorsement of our technology as a leading platform for quantum applications. The substantial backing places us in a perfect position to take on global competitors with our Made in Germany quantum computers, targeting an emerging market valued at billions of euros.

This substantial investment round was led by the European Family Office CATRON Holding and the DeepTech & Climate Fonds (DTCF), with additional support from Bayern Kapital, the Max-Planck Foundation, other private investors, existing investors UVC Partners, and Speedinvest. The funding also includes a non-dilutive grant from Germanys Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

1,000-Qubit Quantum Computer

Dr. Sebastian Blatt, CTO of planqc, explained the core technology, Unlike most other companies, including Big Tech, we use individual atoms confined in crystals of light as qubits. This approach is the fast track to scaling the number of qubits and improving their quality, the prerequisites for being the first to deliver fault-tolerant quantum computers.

Founded in 2022 by scientists from MPQ and Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU), planqc is located in Munichs Quantum Valley (MQV). Recently, the company was commissioned by the German Government to deploy a 1,000-qubit quantum computer at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre, one of the nations premier supercomputing facilities. Additionally, planqc has secured a European tender to develop a quantum computer for the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Dr. Torsten Lffler, Investment Director at DTCF, commented on the investment, We are thrilled to invest in a startup that not only leads in high-impact technology but also enables further breakthroughs in pressing global computational challenges across various industries by offering access to the technology in the form of a quantum cloud computing service. Planqcs impressive track record in securing contracts and public grants within just 18 months of operations underscores the companys role as a frontrunner in the quantum computing sector both in Europe and globally.

Prof. Immanuel Bloch, director at MPQ, added, At MPQ, we have a strong tradition of supporting spin-offs from our institute and translating fundamental science to industry. Planqc is the latest example and is based on our expertise in trapping, cooling, and manipulating cold atoms and molecules. We look forward to extending this collaboration in the future.

Planqc and MPQ have already showcased their ability to scale the number of neutral atoms used as qubits to 1,200, achieving a significant industry milestone. This achievement paves the way for the development of fault-tolerant and practically useful quantum computers. Further scaling to 10,000 or even 100,000 qubits is expected in the next few years, enabling these systems to tackle previously unsolvable problems.

Achieving Europes First 1,200-Atomic Qubit Array

The computational power of quantum computers is set to revolutionize the discovery of new materials and pharmaceuticals, address optimization challenges in fields like climate research, industry, and transportation planning, and usher in a new era of cryptography. Quantum machine learning will unlock unprecedented applications for artificial intelligence, providing the scientific community with a wholly new understanding of the world.

Dr. Anna Christmann, Coordinator of the Federal Government for German Aerospace and Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Start-ups at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, remarked, The success story of planqc demonstrates that innovative research today can become the forward-looking companies of tomorrow, strengthening our long-term competitiveness. We are proud that our ongoing commitment to innovation-friendly frameworks and easier access to venture capital is bearing fruit, and we continue to work every day to improve the start-up ecosystem in Germany and Europe.

Hermann Hauser, representing the APEX Amadeus Technology fund, one of planqcs seed investors, commented, Neutral atoms are currently on the fast track to achieving fault-tolerant quantum computing. I am deeply impressed by planqcs rapid progress in this area. Securing over 50 million euros in contracts within 18 months and achieving Europes first 1,200-atomic qubit array are remarkable milestones for planqc and Europes tech sovereignty. I eagerly anticipate our continued collaboration in this pioneering field.

Monika Steger, Managing Director of Bayern Kapital, added, Quantum computers are one of the technologies that can offer unforeseeable added value by facilitating or even enabling the discovery, research, and development of other future technologies. Examples include new medicines, sustainable battery technology, and climate simulations. planqcs technologically promising approach coupled with the existing technological maturity convinced us.

Benjamin Erhart, General Partner at UVC Partners, concluded, The rapid progress of planqc since our initial investment is rooted both in planqcs scientific excellence and its capability to attract world-class talent. In line with our strategy of building sustainable category leaders, it was a clear decision to significantly increase our investment in planqc.

With this new round of funding, planqc would be well-positioned to advance its pioneering work in quantum computing and strengthen its position as a global leader in the field. The support from a diverse group of investors underscores the confidence in planqcs potential to revolutionize industries and drive significant technological advancements.

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