24 Apr 2023
Quantum engineering company Riverlane today announced it has raised £15 million in a Series B funding.
The round was led by Molten Ventures and included participation from simulation, high-performance computing (HPC), and artificial intelligence leader Altair and returning investors Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC), Amadeus Capital Partners and the National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF). Altair’s CEO and founder, James R. Scapa, will sit on the Riverlane board.
The new investment substantially increases Riverlane’s enterprise valuation and is expected to see the company through to cash flow break-even.
The additional capital will be used to accelerate the development of Riverlane’s operating system for error-corrected quantum computing, Deltaflow.OS.
Error correction is the defining technical challenge for quantum computing to achieve the scale and reliability to deliver its transformative potential. Riverlane is already partnering with many of the world’s leading quantum hardware companies, university labs and government agencies to build and implement Deltaflow.OS with various qubit types.
The quantum computing industry is forecast to create up to $850 billion in economic value in the next 15-30 years [Aug 2022, Boston Consulting Group]. To deliver transformational new applications in fields such as drug design, material science, aerospace and climate change, quantum computers will need to reliably perform a trillion high-speed operations without disruption.
However, today’s quantum computers can still only perform a maximum of a few hundred quantum operations before failure. This is due to the high error rate caused by the delicate nature of all types of qubits. For quantum computers to become useful, it is critical to find a way to detect, diagnose, and correct quantum errors as they occur, so they can be scaled from a few hundred error-free quantum operations (QuOps) today to a trillion (TeraQuOps). This is the number of operations required to execute most known quantum algorithms.
To address the TeraQuOp challenge, Riverlane is designing the qubit ‘Control’ and error ‘Decoding’ hardware and software. ‘Control’ and ‘Decode’ are the key components of Riverlane’s quantum operating system, Deltaflow.OS.
In November 2022, Riverlane demonstrated the world’s fastest Decode solution that allows Deltaflow.OS to support far larger numbers of qubits than previously possible.
By the end of 2025, Riverlane will develop its Decode solution into a chip-based ‘TeraQuOp’ decoder that can process up to 100TB of data per second – the equivalent of processing as much data as Netflix streams globally. To solve this problem, we must design and engineer the dedicated chips that every quantum computer will need. The UK has a unique position in the world as a centre of excellence for quantum error correction and chip design and is the reason Riverlane is headquartered in Cambridge,UK.
Riverlane founder and CEO Steve Brierley said:
“Solving quantum error correction – one of the defining scientific challenges of our times – will enable quantum computers to accurately simulate the true complexity of nature. Armed with useful quantum computers, humans will enter the Quantum Age, where we go from slow trial and error to solve complex problems to an era of rapid design using quantum computers. We haven’t even begun to imagine the many ways such technology will positively transform our world.”
To tackle these challenges, Riverlane is partnering with some of the world’s leading academic labs including the University of Wisconsin, Duke University, University of Oxford and University of Innsbruck, and over a third of the world’s quantum hardware companies, such as Infleqtion (formerly Cold Quanta), Qolab, Quera, Seeqc, Rigetti and Universal Quantum.
To gain a better understanding of the transformative industry applications using error-corrected quantum computers Riverlane also partners with enterprise leaders like AstraZeneca, Merck, Astex, Rolls Royce and Johnson Matthey.
With offices in Cambridge, UK, Boston and San Francisco, the Riverlane team has more than doubled over the past year to 100 engineers and scientists.
A British Business Bank spokesperson said: “The National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF) is a joint initiative with HM Government and is the Government’s corporate venturing arm for dual-use advanced technologies. NSSIF supports long-term equity investment to accelerate the adoption of HMG’s future national security and defence capabilities and the development of the UK’s dual-use technology ecosystem. The investment in Riverlane recognises the company’s role as part of the UK’s world-leading quantum technology sector.”
Stuart Chapman, chief portfolio officer at Molten Ventures, said: “Riverlane’s impressive progress in quantum computing, particularly in the crucial area of quantum error correction, has led to a significant rise in its valuation, even in a tough technology market. With Deltaflow.OS in development, Steve and the Riverlane team are ready to bring quantum computing to the commercial world. We’re thrilled to renew our support and have never felt more confident in Riverlane’s ability to drive quantum innovation and generate enduring value.”
Amelia Armour, partner at Amadeus Capital Partners, said: “From the start, Amadeus Capital Partners identified Riverlane as a company with the long-term strategy and technical expertise to address the hardest problems in quantum computing. We are proud to carry on our support for Riverlane, helping the company continue its vision, to design and engineer the complex chips that every quantum computer will need to control the qubits and simultaneously decode the errors that quantum computers produce. As the company scales its business and technology, we look forward to being a part of Riverlane’s ongoing growth and future success.”
“Riverlane’s ground-breaking technology provides a critical common software platform including error correction across all quantum hardware architectures to accelerate the impact and scale of quantum computing,” said James R. Scapa, founder and chief executive officer at Altair. “Altair has a long history of creating and investing in HPC technologies. Collaborating with Riverlane allows Altair to stay ahead of the curve of transformative technologies to help our customers fast-track their innovation.”