Riverlane is building a simulation engine for microscopic systems, replacing expensive laboratory tests with computer simulation

Cambridge Innovation Capital plc (CIC), the venture capital investor enabling visionaries to build global, category-leading companies in the Cambridge ecosystem, has led a £3.25 million seed round in Riverlane, a quantum computing software developer transforming the discovery of new materials and drugs. Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, also participated in the round.

Riverlane’s software leverages the capabilities of quantum computers, which operate using the principles of quantum mechanics. In the same way that graphics processing units (GPUs) accelerate machine learning workloads, Riverlane uses quantum computers to accelerate the simulation of quantum systems.

“Riverlane is changing the way we think about computation at the most fundamental level. Steve and his team are developing state-of-the-art algorithms that can run on a range of quantum computing hardware platforms. These algorithms can be applied to a number of applications such as drug–protein interactions, biomolecule folding and materials science at a molecular level. This is the sort of cutting-edge technology at which Cambridge excels and at CIC, we are delighted to be involved with such an exciting company from the outset.” Andrew Williamson, Managing Partner

Steve Brierley, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Riverlane, said, “This seed funding allows us to accelerate our work at a critical time in the development of quantum computers. Computers are central to the design of many new products but when we try to model systems at the level of individual atoms, the rules that govern their behaviour are fundamentally different. Even huge supercomputers are limited to approximations and as a result, the design of new drugs and materials remains primarily a laboratory rather than a computational exercise. Riverlane’s software aims to unleash the huge potential of quantum computers.”

Riverlane is working with leading academics and companies on critical early use cases for its software, such as developing new battery materials and drug treatments. The company will use its seed funding to demonstrate its technology across a range of quantum computing hardware platforms, focused on early adopters in materials design and drug discovery. It will also expand its team of quantum software researchers and computational physicists.