Watching Wired’s feature-length documentary on YouTube a few weeks ago, Holy Land: Startup Nations, was educational. Detailing the tech startup scene in the diverse, hip, secular and modern city of Tel Aviv to the more traditional setting of Jerusalem and onto places in the West Bank like Ramallah and Nazareth, by the end of it, the viewer got the sense (or at least I did) that the Israelis, as well as Palestinian Arabs — especially the young, those with a more modern outlook — have a lot in common. Okay, the documentary doesn’t shy away from the tensions of bomb scares, security checks and stone-throwing that are an every-day occurrence, sadly, yet it glows a certain positivity.
And why not? The country is on the up, not least in the tech space.
Dr Itmar Sivan’s a bit special. Looking at him, though, you wouldn’t think so. The Israeli with a Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Condensed Matter and Materials Physics is the co-founder and CEO of Israel’s first-ever QC startup, Tel Aviv-based Quantum Machines (QM).
Founded in the spring of 2018 by Sivan, Dr. Nissim Ofek, VP R&D and CTO Dr. Yonatan Cohen, the triumvirate intends to put Israel on the QC map by developing a full-stack solution of software and hardware QC applications while using differing engineering approaches to reach their goals. QM’s approach is ambitious, that’s for sure, but with a team as ambitious and they are, they only have themselves standing in there way.
With the help of $5.5 million from a Seed Round which TLV Partners led along with Battery Ventures at the back end of last year, QM is well underway to achieving its goals of enhancing its R&D capabilities.
TLV Partners, also based in Israel, hopes by empowering the three physicists/entrepreneurs to develop their ideas within the space, it can turn into a profitable venture for both parties
Our core belief is that entrepreneurs — not VCs — build great companies
— TLV Partners website
Likewise, Itzik Parnafes, a general partner at Battery Ventures, a Boston-based technology-focused investment firm, had this to say about the deal:
‘QM has an immense vision and the perfect team to fulfil it. QM is building a world-leading team of engineers and physicists specialized in every single bit in the quantum control stack and is already advancing at an incredible pace.’
In a Medium post from 2018, Eliran Rubin, Director of Business Development at TLV Partners, talks about his experience with QM and how impressed he was in the initial meeting before he had even decided to invest in the startup. To cut a long story short, Rubin knew fifteen minutes into the two-hour meeting that he wanted to invest in QM, realizing what Sivan, Ofek and Cohen were doing was something truly special.
‘We are now in a very exciting time… We are in a time of transition. Going outside the academia after decades into the industry. Taking something that was recently proved as a ‘proof of concept’, yeah, a scientific proof of concept into a robust and useful technology.’
— Dr Itmar Sivan, CEO Quantum Machines
Of more recent developments, as of October 2019, there seems to be radio silence from QM’s end. With an inactive website and no updates on the company’s LinkedIn profile, it will take be further investigation, by way of a direct interview with the startup’s representatives, on their recent progress.
Watch this space for updates.