Singapore, 23 June 2020 – Horizon Quantum Computing, a Singapore-based company developing programming tools for quantum computers, today announced that it has increased its seed financing to SGD 4.5 million (USD 3.23 million) thanks to a seed-plus round led by Sequoia Capital India with participation from previous investors SGInnovate, Abies Ventures, DCVC, Qubit Protocol, Summer Capital and Posa CV.
Horizon Quantum Computing aims to bridge the gap between quantum computers and conventional software development. Quantum computers are a potentially disruptive technology for many industries. However, gaining a performance increase from these systems requires deep expertise. Quantum mechanics defies human intuition, making it difficult to construct non-trivial quantum algorithms. The pool of specialists capable of developing new quantum applications is estimated at fewer than one thousand people worldwide. While there are tens of millions of conventional software developers, with 46 million users registered on GitHub alone, their expertise does not carry across to programming quantum computers. The mission of Horizon Quantum Computing is to unlock the power of quantum computing for them.
“Quantum computing represents a fundamentally new model of computation, holding great promise as a new approach to tackling hard computational problems. As hardware development continues to advance, learning to harness the power of quantum processors for business applications will become the main barrier to adoption. At Horizon Quantum Computing, we are tackling this problem head-on, by developing methods to automatically accelerate conventional computer programs using quantum techniques,” said Dr Joe Fitzsimons, CEO of Horizon Quantum Computing.
Quantum algorithms constructed from conventional source code
Horizon Quantum Computing is developing tools to automatically accelerate programs written for conventional computers, adapting them for quantum processors. Last December, the company revealed key components of its unique approach to quantum programming at the Q2B conference in San Jose, California.
“The conventional approach to developing quantum applications is to explicitly specify the individual steps of a quantum algorithm, or to use a library where such explicit steps are specified. What makes our approach unique is that we construct quantum algorithms directly from conventional source code, automatically identifying places where it can be sped up,” explained Dr Si-Hui Tan, Chief Science Officer at Horizon Quantum Computing. “Everything that relates to quantum mechanics happen under-the-hood and on-the-fly in our compiler. This automation is what alleviates the need for any quantum knowledge. All our users have to do is to provide their program in a conventional programming language.”
Horizon’s tools will also make life easier for experienced quantum software developers, by allowing them to construct complex programs with fewer lines of code and by automatically optimising their programs for real processors.
While Horizon’s approach is hardware agnostic, the company has worked closely with hardware manufacturer Rigetti Computing, with whom Horizon Quantum Computing partnered in September 2018. Preliminary results from this effort were presented at the Rigetti Advantage workshop in February demonstrating rapid device characterisation and error mitigation techniques on Rigetti’s processors. These techniques will ultimately improve performance of programs compiled using Horizon’s tools.
Applicability of quantum computing to industry-relevant problems
Today, the known applications that will benefit from the quantum calculation capacity include logistics, finance, chemistry and pharma.
“Our tools will greatly increase the applicability of quantum computing to industry-relevant problems, opening up new use cases and enabling easier adoption of the technology,” said Dr Joe Fitzsimons. Horizon’s team expects that its tools will uncover new domains where quantum computing can provide a significant competitive advantage, including in fields such as computational fluid dynamics, electromagnetic simulations and complex geophysical calculations.
Acceleration made possible thanks to the new investment
The additional funding will allow the company to accelerate the speed at which it can bring its innovative technology to market, to further engage with customers and early adopters and to continue strengthening its team.
“We view quantum computing as an emerging technology that will become inevitable in the future. Five, 10 years or beyond, we are certain that quantum technology will be a game-changer and will have a tremendous impact on the world – from how governments and organisations work, right down to our everyday lives,” said Dr Lim Jui, Chief Executive Officer of SGInnovate who led the company’s seed round in 2018. “Horizon Quantum Computing’s mission to enable quantum technology for all, simplifying it and making it more accessible to users, has the potential to shorten the time for us to see new quantum-enhanced applications for the next Deep Tech breakthrough. We look forward to seeing how their solution will open up the playing field for more innovations in the Quantum world.”
About Horizon Quantum Computing
Horizon Quantum Computing is developing a new generation of programming tools to simplify and expedite the process of developing software for quantum computers. By removing the need for prior quantum computing experience, Horizon’s tools will democratise the development of quantum-enhanced applications, making the power of quantum computing accessible to every software developer.
The company was founded in 2018 by Dr Joe Fitzsimons, a pioneer in the space of quantum computing applications. Dr Fitzsimons has over 15 years of experience in quantum computing and computational complexity theory and holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford on quantum computing architectures. The leadership team also includes Dr Si-Hui Tan, Chief Science Officer, who holds a PhD in Physics from MIT and has been actively involved in quantum research for 15 years.
About Sequoia Capital India
Sequoia helps daring founders build legendary companies, from idea to IPO and beyond. Sequoia India operates in Southeast Asia and India where we actively partner with founders from a wide range of companies, across categories, including BYJUs, Carousell, Druva, GO-JEK, OYO Rooms, Tokopedia, Truecaller, Zilingo, Zomato and more.
We spur founders to push the boundaries of what’s possible. In partnering with Sequoia, startups benefit from 48 years of tribal knowledge and lessons learned working with companies like Airbnb, Alibaba, Apple, Dropbox, Google, JD.com, LinkedIn, Meituan and Stripe early on.
From the beginning, non-profits have been the backbone of our LP base, which means founders’ accomplishments make a meaningful difference. The majority of our profits are returned to great causes, like the Ford Foundation, Mayo Clinic and MIT.
For more information on Sequoia’s work in India and SE Asia, visit sequoiacap.com/india
At SGInnovate, we build and scale Deep Tech startups into high potential companies with global impact. We believe that hard global problems can be solved using Deep Tech, and Singapore, where we are based, is uniquely positioned to realise Deep Tech innovations that can tackle these challenges. Our Deep Tech Nexus Strategy is focused on adding tangible value to the Deep Tech startup ecosystem in two key areas – development of Human Capital and deployment of Investment Capital. With the support of our partners and co-investors, we back entrepreneurial scientists through equity-based investments, access to talent and business-building advice. Our efforts are prioritised around emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Tech, MedTech and Quantum Tech, which represent impactful and scalable answers to global challenges. SGInnovate is a private-limited company wholly owned by the Singapore Government. For more information, please visit www.sginnovate.com.
Contact for PR inquiries
Marketing and Communications Manager, Horizon Quantum Computing
+65 6591 8869