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Quantum computing company – co-founded by Bristol scientist – benefits from £750k investment

The Phasecraft team: Dr Ashley Montanaro, Dr Toby Cubitt and Professor John Morton

Press release issued: 3 June 2019

A pioneering quantum computing company co-founded by academics from University College London (UCL) and the University of Bristol has received £750,000 investment from the UCL Technology Fund, along with co-investors Parkwalk Advisors and the London Co-investment Fund.

Phasecraft is developing software for quantum computers using some of the best talent in the sector.

It aims to solve problems beyond the capacity of today’s best classical computers. The company is building an understanding of the capabilities of current and near-term quantum computers, and how it can be channelled into useful applications.

The Phasecraft team includes some of the world's leading researchers in quantum computing, with a collective 50 years of experience working in the field. The team are moving beyond writing academic papers, to using their theories to bring the technology of the future into today.

Quantum computers are on the cusp of becoming a practical reality and could ultimately solve challenging computational problems we face today, such as investigating unique quantum materials, helping to develop better batteries and more efficient solar panels, simulating chemical reactions and helping to discover new catalysts and optimise key industrial processes.

However, fully realising the immense potential of quantum computing will require solving deep scientific and technical challenges.

Phasecraft sets out to do this first by designing quantum algorithms and software to solve problems beyond the capacity of today's best supercomputers. This will be followed by partnerships secured with companies to co-develop solutions to the main problems they face, and then working with leading quantum hardware developers to implement the required technology.

The pre-seed investment will enable the company to build out the initial team working on the project and prove the concept that quantum computers can be used to solve relevant and complex problems.

David Grimm, Investment Director, UCL Technology Fund, says: “Phasecraft is at the forefront of what is an incredibly specialised field. Fulfilling their objective of developing quantum computing to a level where we could solve previously unsolvable problems would make the company highly valuable to the world’s tech giants. We are excited to begin working with the team at this early stage.”

Dr Ashley Montanaro from the University of Bristol’s School of Mathematics and Bristol Quantum Information Institute said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for the field of quantum computing, as quantum computers are on the verge of outperforming their classical counterparts for the first time, and the field transitions from a primarily academic endeavour to one where industry plays a significant role in developing technology. 

“For this reason, it seems the ideal time to use our academic expertise in a commercial context to address some of the deep technical challenges that need to be solved for quantum computing to reach its true potential.”

Further information

The UCL Technology Fund is dedicated to investing in intellectual property commercialisation opportunities arising from UCL’s world-class research base, focusing in particular on the physical and life sciences. The Fund supports UCL in achieving the full potential of innovations that have prospects for outstanding societal and market impact, right through the development journey from initial proof of concept to practical commercial application. The Fund is managed by AlbionVC, Albion Capital, one of the largest independent venture capital investors in the UK, in collaboration with UCL Business.

UCL Business PLC (UCLB), part of UCL Innovation and Enterprise, is a leading technology commercialisation company that supports research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK’s top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. UCLB has a strong track record in commercialising medical technologies and provides technology transfer services to UCL’s associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Free London Hospital. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market.

The Albion technology team invests from seed through to Series B in high growth companies, predominantly in the UK, with a particular focus on B2B software and technology enabled services. Albion has 20+ years’ experience investing in technology, has c.£450m of venture funds, with over 40 tech investments within its portfolios. AlbionVC is the technology investment arm of Albion Capital Group LLP, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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