Singapore-based tech startup Horizon Quantum Computing lands $18.1M to advance quantum software development
There has been a lot written on quantum computing. Yet, quantum software development, a fast-emerging topic involving the creation of software for quantum computers, is not gaining the attention it deserves.
Quantum software development entails the creation of algorithms and programs that run on quantum computers which requires a deep understanding of the underlying principles of quantum mechanics, as well as expertise in programming languages such as Q#, Python, or C++. Unsurprisingly, there are few startups in the quantum software development space due to the level of complexity involved.
But one of the leading tech startups is Horizon Quantum Computing, a Singapore-based tech startup that is developing a new generation of programming tools to simplify and expedite the process of developing software for quantum computers.
Dr. Joe Fitzsimons, an expert in quantum computing applications, founded Horizon Quantum Computing in 2018 with Dr. Si-Hui Tan, Chief Science Officer, who holds a Ph.D. in Physics from MIT and has been actively involved in quantum research for 18 years.
Dr. Fitzsimons holds a doctorate in quantum computing architecture from the University of Oxford and has over 18 years of experience in quantum computing and computational complexity theory. As part of the leadership team, Dr. Si-Hui Tan, Chief Science Officer, holds a Ph.D. in Physics from MIT and has been actively involved in quantum research for 18 years.
Unlike conventional computers that store information using bits represented by 0s or 1s, quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, to encode information as 0s, 1s, or both at the same time. Additionally, scientists say quantum computers could one day make some complex mathematical calculations millions of times faster than the fastest supercomputers today.
To further continue building software development tools and unlock the potential of quantum computing hardware, Horizon Quantum Computing announced today that it has raised $18.1 million in Series A funding from high-profile investors including Sequoia Capital India, Tencent, SGInnovate, Pappas Capital, and Expeditions Fund.
Horizon Quantum Computing will use the new cash infusion to boost the company’s growth and strengthen its science and engineering teams to accelerate product development, establish its new engineering center in Europe and bring Horizon’s unique technology to the market. Horizon Quantum Computing’s total funding now stands at approximately USD 21.3 million.
In addition to the funding, Horizon Quantum Computing has also said that it is establishing its first European offices in Ireland, where it is constructing its new engineering center. The company is presently recruiting a software engineering team in Dublin to bolster its global operations.
“Quantum computing has the potential to completely change how we think about computing,” says Horizon’s CEO Dr Joe Fitzsimons. “While getting to large-scale quantum computing is a daunting challenge, it is undeniable that progress towards that goal is being made. At Horizon, we focus on unlocking the power of future quantum computers, and have made significant headway towards our goal of enabling conventional software developers to take advantage of the technology through abstraction and automated algorithm synthesis. The new investment will support our effort to break through the barriers to useful quantum computation.”
Sequoia Capital India and SGInnovate, which led Horizon’s Seed+ and Seed rounds respectively, both reconfirmed support of the company’s ambition to provide tools to make programming of quantum computers as accessible and efficient as it is for conventional computers today.
“We have been bullish on the developer economy thesis for a long time,” says Pieter Kemps, Partner, Surge at Sequoia Capital India and Southeast Asia. “At the same time, we believe that a tectonic shift will be driven by advancements in quantum hardware. But unlocking quantum computing for millions of developers is no small feat. Wouldn’t it be amazing if any developer could develop quantum algorithms with little to no prior quantum experience? This is the future that Horizon is enabling. We believe in Joe’s product vision around abstracting the underlying quantum physics to enable developers to create quantum software with ease, and we have been hugely impressed by the technological breakthroughs that the team has achieved in a short period of time.”
The widespread adoption of quantum computing faces two primary challenges: developing hardware capable of supporting quantum computation at scale and creating software tools that enable programmers to leverage this hardware to solve real-world problems. Horizon Quantum Computing is concentrating on the latter challenge, empowering domain experts to use quantum computing for their most demanding computational workloads. The company is constructing a quantum software development system that allows developers to bridge the gap between classical code and quantum-accelerated applications.
Horizon has already achieved significant technological milestones, showcasing advanced compilation techniques, algorithm synthesis, and swift device characterization. At the Q2B conference in Silicon Valley in December 2022, the company showcased its integrated development environment and announced the launch of an early access program this year.
Last year, Horizon became a part of Singapore’s National Quantum-Safe Network and recently transmitted its first data from its node. The company’s participation in this network is a step forward in its goal of enabling secure and privacy-preserving access to cloud-based quantum computers.