Quantum computing interests us. And even if you haven’t been gripped by Alex Garland’s recent tech thriller, Devs, on BBC 2, it will soon interest you too. We are excited to announce our first investment in this field; Quantum Motion Technologies. We believe the team, their ambition and their progress to date are the combination on which the quantum revolution will be built.
Quantum Motion Technologies (QMT), is a UK-based quantum computing company founded to commercialise world-leading silicon spin technology and architectures developed at UCL and Oxford University. QMT is developing a quantum computer that leverages the advantages of standard silicon (CMOS) fabrication.
The difficulty with quantum computing is achieving acceptable levels of reliability. We are currently in the era of the small, error-prone ‘Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum’ (NISQ), but the holy grail is to achieve fault tolerance. Once QMT achieves this, we believe they will be able to scale quickly because CMOS manufacturing is so widespread and established around the world. The team has a very clear path for the future, with many key markers already passed on the road to attaining The Milestone – a fault tolerant quantum computer. Fault tolerant quantum processors will be able tackle otherwise intractable problems in chemistry, medicine and artificial intelligence.
There are other routes to quantum supremacy – ion traps; superconducting circuits and silicon photonics being the main contenders – and at this point it still isn’t clear which route will get there quickest. This makes the people behind the technology and their flair for innovation as vital to the outcome as the route itself.
The company is led by founders Prof. Simon Benjamin (Oxford University), Prof. John Morton (UCL) and Commercial Director Dr. James Palles-Dimmock. Professor Benjamin is the Senior Fellow in Quantum Materials at University of Oxford and Professor Morton is Director of UCL’s Quantum Science and Technology Institute. Together with James Palles-Dimmock’s 10 years’ experience of commercialising semiconductor technologies at Sharp Laboratories Europe, the trio represent the spearhead of quantum development in the UK, if not the world.
After scanning the Quantum market, we were impressed by the professor duo as they combine the theoretical research and practical skillset necessary to build a quantum computer using a scalable silicon approach. The high calibre team they have attracted around them is testament to their standing in the close-knit global quantum community. Google, Microsoft, IBM and other tech giants are also in the race for fault-tolerant quantum computing, but it’s in the universities and research labs that the cutting edge innovations are flourishing, many of them here in the UK.
The race to quantum supremacy is not a sprint, the finish line is not in view and may lie beyond the typical 3-7 year VC return cycle. Like many of our other tech investments, we’re able to provide the patient capital needed for the long term perspective. We are excited to be invested in QMT alongside other patient capital funds such as INKEF capital, a Dutch based venture fund and the National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF) and existing investors of QMT who already share this view
The reward for everyone if QMT are successful will be world-changing. The fiction as depicted on TV may be melodramatic, but the reality isn’t that far behind.