AI startup Xanadu scores $32 million Series A to bring photonic quantum computing to the cloud
Xanadu, a photonic quantum computing startup that integrates and designs quantum silicon photonic chips, has closed $32 million in Series A financing to accelerate its progress toward the release of its photonic-based quantum cloud computing platform, which will include next generation consumer applications and products not available on competing platforms. The round, which brings total investment to date to $41 million, was led by OMERS Ventures. Other participating investors include Georgian Partners, Radical Ventures, Real Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank and Tim Draper.
Xanadu was founded in 2016 by CEO Christian Weedbrook to make use of the discovery that photons—particles of light—can be used for quantum computing to perform extremely fast and incredibly complex computations at room temperature. “Confidence in Xanadu’s photonic approach to building a quantum computer is reflected in the strong interest from the highly reputable VC firms we have in this Series A financing,” said Weedbrook.
The Series A positions Xanadu to achieve its next major milestone, the release of a quantum cloud-computing platform to create an ecosystem comprising multiple industry solutions not offered on competing platforms. “Xanadu’s vision of the quantum cloud is truly unique,” said Weedbrook. “In addition to solving a different set of important problems across industries, using photonics, we have the potential of having an all-optical quantum data center. As photonics is a natural underlying substrate for many quantum technologies—quantum computing, quantum sensors, and quantum security—our platform can be used throughout the larger quantum technology sector.”
“Quantum computing has the potential to solve problems that we’ve previously only dreamed of solving,” said Seth Lloyd, Xanadu’s chief scientific advisor. “Xanadu’s quantum optical approach stands out among other quantum computing technologies. Christian and the team have made great progress to realize this approach—and this funding makes me even more excited about the future.”
Since its founding in 2016, Xanadu has focused extensively on the effects quantum will have on society and how to best service those needs. Xanadu’s ultimate goal is to provide quantum on demand to enable significant computational improvements over the best classical methods to solve really tough real-world problems. Xanadu has assembled leading scientists and professionals to pair academic research with industry veterans to develop a massively scalable venture.
Xanadu’s new cloud offering will also incorporate their two main software products: PennyLane, the industry-leading standard for quantum machine learning; and Strawberry Fields, the only full-stack platform for photonic quantum computing. PennyLane lets users run quantum machine learning algorithms on any currently available quantum computing hardware—including devices from IBM, Google and Rigetti—in combination with popular machine learning tools like PyTorch and TensorFlow. Strawberry Fields will provide the main access point for Xanadu’s unique photonic quantum computers, as well as a suite of special-purpose quantum simulators. With these offerings, developers, customers, and scientific researchers can access the most cutting-edge computational tools to create new algorithms and design new products for solving real-world problems.
“We are thrilled to continue our support of Christian and the Xanadu team,” said Sid Paquette, managing partner at OMERS Ventures. “Once they deploy the world’s most powerful cloud-computing platform, we anticipate creative approaches from developers in harnessing Xanadu’s next-generation processing capability and its potential to accelerate finance, quantum chemistry, material science, and artificial intelligence.”