Singapore’s Horizon Quantum Computing secures US$3.2M for its quantum software development tools

Tue Jun 23, 2020 - 6:19am GMT+0000

Singapore-based Horizon Quantum Computing (HQC) managed to raise a US$3.2 million seed funding round (SGD4.5 million) led by Sequoia Capital India.

The quantum computing company is part of a new crop of startups that focus on building new tools for building software for quantum computers.

Existing investors SGInnovate, Abies Ventures, DCVC, Qubit Protocol, Summer Capital and Posa CV also co- invested in the seed- plus round.

“We view quantum computing as an emerging technology that will become inevitable in the future. Five, ten years or beyond, we are certain that quantum technology will be a game- changer and will have a tremendous impact on the world- from how governments and organisations work, right down to our everyday lives,” said SGInnovate CEO Dr Lim Jiu.

In 2018, the startup which is hardware- agnostic has also launched a close partnership with Rigetti Computing. SGInnovate also led the company’s seed round in the same year, building and scaling deep tech startups into high potential companies with global impact.

The tech company plans to use the fresh funding to help accelerate its go- to market strategy, engage with customers and early adopters, and continue strengthening its team.

Horizon Quantum Computing (HQC) was established in 2018 by Dr Joe FItzsimons. HQC, a pioneer in quantum computing applications, aims to close the gap between quantum computers and conventional software development.

The startup is developing a new generation of programming tools where the process of developing software for quantum computers will be simplified and accelerated. What makes Horizon unique is that it takes conventional source code and then automatically analyzes that to figure out where a quantum computer could speed up an algorithm. Right now, the company can identify potential speedups in code written for Matlab and Octave.

By removing the need for prior quantum computing experience, Horizon’s tools will democratise the development of quantum-enhanced applications, making the power of quantum computing accessible to every software developer.

“The conventional approach to developing quantum applications is to explicitly specify the individual steps of a quantum algorithm, or to use a library where such explicit steps are specified. What makes our approach unique is that we construct quantum algorithms directly from conventional source code, automatically identifying places where it can be sped up,” explained Si-Hui Tan, the chief science officer at Horizon Quantum.

“Everything that relates to quantum mechanics happens under-the-hood and on-the-fly in our compiler. This automation is what alleviates the need for any quantum knowledge. All our users have to do is to provide their program in a conventional programming language,” Hui Tan added.

Today, the known applications that will benefit from the quantum calculation capacity include logistics, finance, chemistry and pharma.

“Our tools will greatly increase the applicability of quantum computing to industry-relevant problems, opening up new use cases and enabling easier adoption of the technology,” said Fitzsimons.