ORCA Computing raises £2.9M ($3.7M) to Develop Quantum Technology with ‘Off the Shelf’ Components

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ORCA
UK-based ORCA is the latest quantum company to receive significant backing from investors.

ORCA Computing Ltd, a quantum computing company based in London, UK today announces the close of £2.9M ($3.7M) public and private financing to begin building their optical-fiber based quantum computer, according to a news release.

The pre-seed round was led by Atmos Ventures, with the participation of Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) and Quantonation, and leverages three grants from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. This funding establishes ORCA Computing as a competitive new player in the global race to build a large-scale quantum computer.

“Optical fiber is the cornerstone of the internet revolution, carrying information across continents” said Richard Murray, CEO and co-founder of ORCA Computing. “Light contained within optical fibers is also an excellent carrier of quantum information but so-far several challenges have prevented optical fiber playing a role in the quantum computing revolution. ORCA’s novel proprietary quantum memory technology changes that and for the first-time allows quantum computers to be built using telecommunications components.”

Already advanced in their efforts to deliver a first of a kind high quality source of photons, ORCA’s roadmap also includes plans to initially deliver a scaled down quantum computer, which they will offer as a learning and development tool to strategic partners.

“ORCA has a novel approach to solving the scalability and connectivity challenges that the quantum computing hardware community is currently facing” said Hadi Solh, Managing Partner at Atmos. “We are thrilled to join the team in their journey to make photonic quantum computing a reality.”

ORCA co-founder Professor Ian Walmsley said that ORCA’s approach will lead to more modular and scalable quantum computing.

“For more than a decade, our group at Oxford has pioneered research into quantum memories for real-world quantum technologies, it was only recently that we demonstrated a platform with performance that opened a unique opportunity to apply these memories to quantum computing, creating an exciting promising, more modular and scalable platform for this exciting arena,” he said.

Quantonation, one of ORCA’s backers in this latest round, is a leading venture capital firm for the quantum industry.

“We invested in ORCA Computing because the team has a strong technical and business vision towards achieving quantum advantage for real life applications of quantum computers within the next years,” said Christophe Jurczak from Quantonation. “Their capacity to leverage off the shelf technologies re-purposed for quantum computing gives them from the start an excellent position in the quantum race.”

Will Goodlad, principal at OSI, said the startup’s long-term vision, coupled with near-term potential made the investment attractive.

“We’re delighted to support ORCA’s long-term vision to build a universal quantum computer, and their plans to deliver near-term quantum processing resources,” he said.  “We believe ORCA’s exceptional combination of team and technology make them one of the most exciting quantum computing companies in Europe.”