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Phasecraft raises £13m for ‘practical’ quantum problem-solving

Phasecraft founders. Image credit: Phasecraft

Phasecraft, a joint spinout from University College London (UCL) and the University of Bristol, has raised £13m in a Series A round to develop algorithms for practical quantum computer use cases.

Founded in 2019 by a team of academics, Phasecraft is attempting to develop algorithms to support the practical adoption of quantum computing.

While quantum computing is considered one of the most exciting areas of deep tech, existing quantum computers are not consistently stable and reliable.

According to Phasecraft, to date, no algorithms have been run on a quantum computer to solve a genuine, practical problem. The company gives the example of simulating the discovery of a new battery material.

Quantum computers use subatomic particles that can exist in more than one state, which means they can carry out multiple calculations at once compared to the linear calculations of classical computers. This promises superior computing power that could revolutionise sectors such as finance and drug discovery.

“For all the advances that have been made in quantum hardware, and for all quantum computing’s promise, such progress could end up being for nothing if we can’t build the applications needed to make the technology truly useful,” said Ashley Montanaro, co-founder and CEO of Phasecraft.

The startup is developing algorithms with the hope of bridging the gap between quantum computers and real problems. One of Phasecraft’s early focuses was applying algorithmic improvements to the discovery of new materials required for the clean energy transition.

“We think practical quantum advantage is achievable in years, not decades,” Montanaro added.

The funding round was led by Silicon Valley-based deep tech VC Playground Global. AlbionVC also joined the round, along with Episode1, Parkwalk Advisors, LCIF and the UCL Technology Fund

“Phasecraft’s team of world-class quantum scientists and engineers bring an unmatched expertise and a fresh perspective to one of the biggest challenges facing our quantum future – bridging the gap between quantum hardware capacity and real-world applications,” said Peter Barrett, general partner at Playground Global.

The quantum sector has been identified as a key strategic industry by the government, which has committed £2.5bn of funding to a quantum strategy.