OQC raises £38m in UK’s largest quantum computing Series A

Oxford Quantum Circuits

Oxford Quantum Circuits has closed a $46.4m (£38m) funding round, making it the largest Series A fundraise for a UK quantum computing company.

The Reading-based company will use the new funds to accelerate its research and development as it looks to expand into Asia.

Oxford Quantum Circuits, or OQC, specialises in quantum computer hardware. Its approach to superconducting circuits aims to reduce the error rate in quantum computers, which store information in a measurement called qubits (traditional computers use bits).

Oxford Quantum Circuits says its three-dimensional architecture for superconducting circuits makes it less likely for the quality of a qubit to degrade, compared to two-dimensional circuits.

In February, the company launched Lucy, an 8-qubit processor, which is available for enterprise customers as part of Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) cloud-based quantum computing services.

The processor is used by businesses in financial services, pharma, and logistics.

OQC spun out of the University of Oxford in 2017 and was founded by CEO Ilana Wisby.

Wisby said that the funding round demonstrates “the confidence our investors have in our ability to lead the global quantum industry”.

Wisby added: “It’s a testament to the significant technological and commercial progress we have achieved in recent months, thanks to our world-class team.

“It is also the first step in our international expansion, bringing quantum to our customers’ fingertips – wherever they are in the world.”

The investment round was led by Lansdowne Partners and the University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners (UTEC).

“Since launching the UK’s first commercially available quantum computer, we have continued to be highly impressed with both the technical developments and also the future ambitions of OQC,” said Peter Davies, partner, and head of developed markets strategy at Lansdowne Partners.

Also participating in the round is British Patient Capital, Oxford Science Enterprises and Oxford Investment Consultants.

Boost for UK quantum computing

The funding round is the latest vote of confidence in the UK’s nascent but promising quantum computing sector. While experts believe completely error-free quantum computers remain some way away, their superior computational power promises to disrupt many industries and break today’s encryption standards.

“The UK has long been at the forefront of global technology developments. Our investment in Oxford Quantum Circuits exemplifies our continued commitment to ensuring the UK stays at the forefront of deep tech innovation,” said British Patient Capital CEO Judith Hartley.

“The sphere of quantum computing is a vital link in the chain of technological, scientific, and business advancement, from breakthroughs to better business modelling across the board.”

Quantum computing has been a key area of growth in the UK. The founder and CEO of Cambridge Quantum, another firm in the sector, said that the UK has become a leader in the field.

While it is the largest Series A funding round for a UK quantum computing company, it is not the largest in Europe.

That accolade goes to Swiss quantum computing startup Terra Quantum, which raised $60m back in January.