UCL spinout developing quantum algorithms raises £13 million

Phasecraft team
Phasecraft team
Phasecraft, a start-up led by academics from UCL and the University of Bristol, has raised £13 million in a new funding round.

Founded in 2019 by Professor Toby Cubitt (UCL Computer Science), Professor John Morton (London Centre for Nanotechnology at UCL) and Professor Ashley Montanaro of the University of Bristol, the company will use the funding to further develop its quantum algorithms to the point of practical quantum advantage - when quantum computers outperform classical computers for useful real-world applications like developing new materials.

It aims to accelerate practical quantum advantage from decades to years away by improving the algorithms’ computational efficiency, and thereby enabling these algorithms to run on the imperfect quantum computers of today. Phasecraft will be working in partnership with quantum hardware providers Google, IBM and Rigetti.

The company’s early focus is on applying these algorithmic improvements to the discovery of new materials important for the clean energy transition. Classical computing fails to capture many of these materials’ fundamental features, meaning we rely on experimental discovery which can take decades.

Quantum computing promises to accelerate the process by capturing these features computationally, thus reducing the number of experiments required and drastically increasing the variety of material combinations which can be tested for any given use case.

Professor Morton, co-founder of Phasecraft and Director of UCLQ (UCL Quantum Science and Technology Institute), said: "Phasecraft’s remarkable achievements in enhancing the efficiency of quantum algorithms are the result of combining the radical thinking of academic research with the speed and focus of a start-up. This new funding round, led by a major US west coast investor, is a fantastic vote of confidence in our team and ability to deliver practical quantum advantage in the near term."

David Grimm, Investment Director, UCL Technology Fund: "We’re delighted to be supporting Phasecraft again. They have made great strides towards utilising the power of quantum computers and I’m excited to see them use this latest financing round to push them further towards quantum advantage."

The Series A funding round was led by Playground Global. AlbionVC also joined the round along with participation from existing investors Episode1, Parkwalk Advisors, LCIF, and UCL Technology Fund.

The new funding brings the total raised by Phasecraft to £17.25 million in venture funding, as well as a further £3.75 million in grant funding from Innovate UK, the European Research Council and others.

Professor Montanaro, co-founder and CEO of Phasecraft, said: "For all the advances that have been made in quantum hardware, and for all quantum computing’s promise, such progress could end up being for nothing if we can’t build the applications needed to make the technology truly useful. With our record-breaking algorithms and groundbreaking techniques, we are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in this space. With support from such a renowned deep-tech visionary as Playground, we think practical quantum advantage is achievable in years, not decades."

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