Spinout Announces Investment From M Ventures, the Strategic, Corporate Venture Capital Arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, to Deliver Scalable, Energy-Efficient Quantum Computing Systems
ELMSFORD, N.Y. –April 9, 2020– Seeqc, the Digital Quantum ComputingTM company, today announced funding of $5 Million from M Ventures, the strategic corporate venture capital arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany to develop commercially viable quantum computing systems for problem-specific applications.
The M Ventures funding follows a $6.8 million seed round from investors including BlueYard Capital, Cambium, NewLab and the Partnership Fund for New York City.
Seeqc is developing a new approach to making quantum computing useful, via fully Digital Quantum Computing. The solution combines classical and quantum computing to form an all-digital architecture through a system-on-a-chip design that utilizes 10-40 GHz superconductive classical co-processing to address the efficiency, stability and cost issues endemic to quantum computing systems. Seeqc recently spun out of HYPRES, Inc., the world’s leading developer of superconductor electronics, to pursue a vision of making quantum computing useful, commercially and at scale.
Through the spin-out, Seeqc acquired significant infrastructure and intellectual property from HYPRES. HYPRES had garnered over $100 million from public and private investments to develop a multi-layer commercial superconductor chip foundry and intellectual property. This investment was in support of creating commercial superconductive computing solutions, much of which is now part of Seeqc.
These assets give Seeqc the advantage of having sophisticated tools, facilities and IP for the design, testing and manufacturing of quantum-ready superconductor chips and wafers.
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, will be a strategic partner for Seeqc supporting its research and development towards useful, application-specific quantum computers both as semiconductor materials solutions provider as well as an end user for high performance quantum computing.
The team of executives and scientists at Seeqc has deep expertise and experience in commercial superconductive computing solutions and quantum computing. The company’s executive leadership team consists of John Levy, co-CEO, chair, and co-founder; Oleg Mukhanov, PhD, co-CEO, CTO, and co-founder; and Matthew Hutchings, PhD, chief product officer, co-founder.
Seeqc enters the quantum computing market as the world leader in superconductive electronics and is one of the only companies to ever design, manufacture and deliver multi-layer superconductive digital chips operating at tens of GHz into complex cryogenic systems.
Quantum Computing is Approaching Its Next Phase
While major advancements have been made recently with early generation quantum computing systems, such systems and architectures are inherently unstable and unscalable. The industry continues to struggle with cost, readout and control challenges, excessive input/output connection count as well as the complexities of managing microwave pulses used to control and readout qubits.
Leading state-of-the-art qubits need to be kept at near absolute zero temperatures to function, so as solutions require hundreds, even thousands of qubits — and maybe even more — cost, control/readout, complexity and heat management greatly impact scale.
Seeqc’s digital classical-quantum hybrid approach mitigates many of these challenges:
Heat/power – Seeqc uses single-flux quantum (SFQ) digital patterns instead of microwave pulses.
Complexity, distance and stability – by stacking a classical chip over a qubit array and utilizing SFQ, Seeqc’s design simplifies and stabilizes the computing environment.
Speed/efficiency – Seeqc’s superconducting classical SFQ co-processors are working at tens of GHz, increasing speed and reducing latency in our system.
Fidelity – Digital readout and control at cryogenic temperatures can lead to higher fidelity.
Cost-effectiveness – Seeqc’s unique approach to quantum computing not only makes quantum computing useful but also more cost-effective. The company’s platform will deliver quantum computing at approximately 1/400 the cost than the current room-scale, error-prone systems in development.
“The ‘brute force’ or labware approach to quantum computing contemplates building machines with thousands or even millions of qubits requiring multiple analog cables and, in some cases, complex CMOS readout/control for each qubit, but that doesn’t scale effectively as the industry strives to deliver business-applicable solutions,” said John Levy, co-chief executive officer at Seeqc. “With Seeqc’s hybrid approach, we utilize the power of quantum computers in a digital system-on-a-chip environment, offering greater control, cost reduction and with a massive reduction in energy, introducing a more viable path to commercial scalability.”
“We believe that the best way to make quantum computing commercially viable is to ensure that early engagement with customers is ultra-focused and problem-specific, with the goal to solve previously insurmountable challenges with a targeted application specific hardware and software solution,” continued Levy. “A close partnership with customers, academic experts and application developers to work through the early use cases of quantum computing is critical to extracting its novel and potentially world-changing value.”
“We’re excited to be working with a world leading team and fab on one of the most pressing issues in modern quantum computing,” says Owen Lozman, Vice President at M Ventures. “We recognize that scaling the current generations of superconducting quantum computers beyond the noisy intermediate scale quantum era will require fundamental changes in qubit control and wiring. Building on deep expertise in single flux quantum technologies, Seeqc has a clear, and importantly cost-efficient, pathway towards addressing existing challenges and disrupting analog, microwave-controlled architectures.”
“As a leading science and technology company, it is one of our key missions to stay on top of emerging trends. In quantum computing, we see a huge potential to advance major parts of our existing business,” says John Langan, Chief Technology Officer, Performance Materials at Merck, KGaA, Darmstadt Germany. “We’re therefore excited to be embarking on a close partnership with Seeqc to develop the next generation of quantum machines. For one, our Semiconductor Solutions business unit will be working with Seeqc to develop and optimize semiconductor materials and processes utilized in the manufacturing of quantum technologies. In parallel, our Quantum Computing Task Force will support Seeqc in developing application-specific quantum co-processors to expedite the advent of industrially viable quantum computers that can be used by our Digital Organization and by our computational researcher across our three main business units.”
The company holds 36 patents and is comprised of 16 PhDs with senior leadership experience from HYPRES.
Seeqc is developing the first fully digital quantum computing platform for global businesses. Seeqc combines classical and quantum technologies to address the efficiency, stability and cost issues endemic to quantum computing systems. The company applies classical and quantum technology through digital readout and control technology and a unique chip-scale architecture. Seeqc’s quantum system provides the energy- and cost-efficiency, speed and digital control required to make quantum computing useful and bring the first commercially-scalable, problem-specific quantum computing applications to market.
The company is one of the first companies to have built a superconductor multi-layer commercial chip foundry and through this experience has the infrastructure in place for design, testing and manufacturing of quantum-ready superconductors. Seeqc is a spin-out of Hypres, the world’s leading developer of superconductor electronics. Seeqc’s team of executives and scientists have deep expertise and experience in commercial superconductive computing solutions and quantum computing. Seeqc is based in Elmsford, NY with facilities in London, UK and Naples, Italy.
About M Ventures
M Ventures is the strategic, corporate venture capital arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Its mandate is to invest in innovative technologies and products with the potential to significantly impact the company’s core business areas. From its headquarters in Amsterdam and offices in the US and Israel, M Ventures invests globally in transformational ideas driven by great entrepreneurs. M Ventures takes an active role in its portfolio companies and teams up with entrepreneurs and coinvestors to translate innovation towards commercial success. For more information, visit www.m-ventures.com
About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 52,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2019, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 16.2 billion in 66 countries. The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials. Since its founding 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key
to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company.