15 Quantum Computing Startups 2021

by Josh Howarth - August 16, 2021

Quantum computing is a rapidly growing field that aims to solve some of the most challenging problems that humanity faces in the 21st century. IBM estimates that a complex problem would take a normal supercomputer a week. A quantum computer? 1 second.

Quantum computing is still relatively new, with estimated market size of only around $90 million as of the start of 2020. By the end of 2027, it’s projected to be around $667 million, a compound growth rate of 30%.

Major players like Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft are increasingly focusing on quantum computing as a potential solution to their most complex business puzzles. In fact, Amazon even has its own Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab.

Read below for our list of the world’s most exciting and innovative quantum computing startups.

1. IonQ

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5-year search growth: 966%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: College Park, Maryland

Funding: $82M (Series B)

What they do: IonQ’s mission is to build the world’s most powerful quantum computers, that are designed to transform everything from business to everyday life by solving some of the most head-scratching problems in existence. With investors ranging from Amazon to Samsung and Hewlett Packard, and partnerships with Amazon and Microsoft to make their quantum computing available via the cloud, IonQ is well placed to be a dominant player in quantum for years to come.

2. QC Ware

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5-year search growth: 700%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2014

Location: Palo Alto, California

Funding: None

What they do: By combining the raw power of quantum computing with machine learning software, Palo Alto based QC Ware has decided to focus on providing quantum algorithms to traditional data scientists. Forge, their signature software, is marketed as turnkey so data leaders can plug and play instead of having to manage every piece of the quantum puzzle.

As Quantum Computing magazine puts it, QC Ware provides “quantum software for those who don’t want to learn quantum”.

3. Q-Ctrl

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5-year search growth: 700%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2017

Location: Pyrmont, Australia

Funding: $15M (Venture-Series Unknown)

What they do: Ever heard the phrase “Selling shovels during a gold rush is the surest way to make money”? Q-Ctrl has followed this playbook by narrowing its focus to providing tools to the nascent and rapidly growing quantum industry instead of directly working on algorithms or software.

By solving for hardware error, instability, and noise, Q-Ctrl believes that cutting edge applications like quantum sensing for the aerospace and reducing errors in medical research are just a matter of time.

4. Multiverse Computing

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5-year search growth: 9400%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: San Sebastian, Spain

Funding:$1.9M (Pre-Seed)

What they do: Almost everyone can agree that traditional finance (TradFi) is rich for disruption. And Multiverse has its sights set on applying the power of quantum computing to revolutionize the industry. Their core product, Singularity, produces quantum-inspired algorithms in a SaaS format complete with an SDK/toolkit that’s easy to use and implement in common applications like Microsoft Excel.

Highlighted by firms like McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group, Multiverse has managed to build partnerships with Amazon, Microsoft, as well as several other startups on our list like Rigetti, IonQ, and Pasqal.

5. ColdQuanta

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5-year search growth: 3300%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2007

Location: Boulder, Colorado

Funding: $71.6M (Convertible Note)

What they do: ColdQuanta’s business is focused on Nobel-winning (2000) research on cold atoms, which involves lasers that slow down or stop atomic motion. Cold atoms can then be manipulated into quantum matter that has use cases ranging from telemetry to atomic clocks to far more complex systems.

Their product suite is currently based on selling quantum lab equipment with designs around more sophisticated products like quantum radio frequency receivers, positioning systems and more. ColdQuanta’s history goes back 14 years and involves funding from the Belgian government, NASA, and the U.K. government.

6. Riverlane

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5-year search growth: 200%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom

Funding: $24.1M (Seed)

What they do: Everyone knows operating systems like Windows or Mac OS are what power the myriad tasks that humans accomplish on computers every day. But an OS for quantum computing? That’s where Riverlane comes in. Their proprietary Deltaflow.OS powers quantum operations at the right level in the tech stack, increasing performance dramatically.

Backed by Cambridge University and leading venture capital funds, they’ve set their target on commercial applications in medicine and beyond.

7. Universal Quantum

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5-year search growth: 76%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2018

Location: Brighton, United Kingdom

Funding: $4.2M (Seed)

What they do: The vision for U.K.-based Universal Quantum is simple: build a million qubit quantum computer capable of tackling problems that would take today’s best supercomputers billions of years to solve.

Instead of using lasers like many other quantum startups, Universal focuses on microwave technology. Universal Quantum is backed by an impressive group of investors including Village Global, backed by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos.

8. Zapata Computing

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5-year search growth: 0%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Funding: $67.4M (Venture-Series Unknown)

What they do: Software development using quantum computing is a challenging, complex task that requires expertise that is relatively rare in the development landscape. Zapata is one of the market leaders in developing quantum software with real-world use cases across pharma, engineering, finance, and more.

After spinning out from Harvard in 2017, the team now consists of 27 quantum engineers and scientists and over 490 peer-reviewed publications in the field of quantum computing.

9. PASQAL

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5-year search growth: 250%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Palaiseau, France

Funding: $30.4M (Series A)

What they do: PASQAL specializes in manufacturing the quantum processors required by the most advanced quantum computers in the world. The company started as a group of researchers working at Institut d’Optique, a famed French research university and part of a group famous for their work on cold atom physics.

Their team consists of 25 elite quantum engineers and is one of the first companies to receive investment from France’s new Defense Innovation Fund, sponsored by their Ministry of Armed Forces.

10. 1QBit

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5-year search growth: 0%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2012

Location: Vancouver, Canada

Funding: $35.1M (Series B)

What they do: Instead of building quantum algorithms and then finding problems to apply their solution to, 1QBit changes it up. They see big hairy problems and then build quantum software to solve those problems alongside their hardware partners (1QBit is platform agnostic).

The World Economic Forum named 1QBit a global Technology Pioneer for their work in academia and also in industry.

11. Rigetti Computing

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5-year search growth: -68%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2013

Location: Berkeley, California

Funding: $198.5M (Series C)

What they do: In an industry of startups and companies that aren’t exactly household names, Rigetti is one of the major players that have established themselves as a name brand in the last decade. They began by developing a unique type of circuitry that’s critical for quantum computers and added a cloud platform called Forest that lets anyone write quantum algorithms.

Harvard professors are saying that Rigetti is the first to demonstrate a real solution to the major hurdle of scalability by connecting multiple components together inside their unique processors.

12. Strangeworks

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5-year search growth: 0%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2018

Location: Austin, Texas

Funding: $4M (Seed)

What they do: Simple, easy-to-use connected platforms have dominated over the last decade. Airbnb, Uber, Amazon and others connect everyday people to complex services that usually require massive amounts of logistics. Strangeworks has built its business on a user-friendly platform that provides the power of quantum computing without the underlying complexity.

Over 100 developers worldwide use Strangeworks, and over 6800 quantum projects have been created so far.

13. Cambridge Quantum Computing

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5-year search growth: 700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom

Funding: $72.8M (Venture-Series Unknown)

What they do: CQC’s focus has been applying quantum computing to four key areas: chemistry, financial, energy, and material science. From their origin, the secret sauce has been the commitment to being platform-agnostic and the ability to run on a multitude of different hardware setups. Their software solves common problems like optimizing passenger jet routes, manufacturing processes, and filling delivery truck orders. These simple-sounding problems are actually incredibly complex to the point where traditional computers often have trouble solving them.

Honeywell announced earlier in June 2021 that they would be merging their quantum unit with Cambridge Quantum’s, leading to one of the most powerful quantum teams in the world.

14. Quantum Biosystems

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5-year search growth: 0%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2013

Location: Menlo Park, California

Funding: $34.3M (Series C)

What they do: Quantum Bio is using the power of quantum computing to navigate DNA measurement. DNA analysis is usually a timely endeavor but Quantum Bio’s technology aims to change that.

The team consists of an impressive roster of leading engineers who have worked at companies including Motorola, Applied Biosystems, and also authored publications for leading research institutions like Cal Berkely.

15. Quantum Machines

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5-year search growth: -50%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2018

Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

Funding: $23M (Series A)

What they do: One of the core problems in quantum computing is harmonizing the interplay between hardware and software for maximum computing performance. Quantum Machines recognized this and has developed what they call their Quantum Orchestration Platform. The secret sauce is their Operator-X device which was designed specifically for quantum and powering large quantum processors.

Quantum Machines was recognized by Fast Company as one of the 10 most innovative companies from Europe, Africa, and Asia. Their universal language for programming quantum computers is seen as of the industry’s best shots at bringing quantum computing to the mainstream.

Conclusion

Combining cutting-edge technology with physics and material science, quantum computing is here to stay. And the startups on our list have a head start in this revolutionary field.

One of the most interesting aspects of quantum computing is how international in scope it truly is. Our startups are based all over the world and bring different ways of thinking and problem solving to some of the planet’s most complex puzzles.

We’re betting that at least a few of these startups will change the game in everything from medicine to finance.

Follow these amazing teams and watch what they do next.

Written By
Josh Howarth
Co-founder of Exploding Topics.
548 Market St. Suite 95149
San Francisco, California
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