Singapore's quantum startup scene is going strong. On 23 June, Horizon Quantum Computing announced that it has increased its seed financing to S$4.5 million. The company, which is developing programming tools for quantum computers, was founded in 2018 by Joe Fitzsimons who was then a CQT Principal Investigator. The company's Chief Science Officer is Si-Hui Tan, who also worked as a quantum research scientist in Singapore.
Horizon Quantum Computing's seed-plus round was led by Sequoia Capital India with participation from previous investors SGInnovate, Abies Ventures, DCVC, Qubit Protocol, Summer Capital and Posa CV. The company initially received seed funding in 2018 of an undisclosed amount.
“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.”
Other CQT-linked startups that have recently won seed funding are Entropica Labs, which announced a S$2.6 million seed round in May 2020, and SpeQtral, which raised US$ 1.9 million in April 2019. Entropica is also working on software for quantum computers, while SpeQtral is developing space-based technology for quantum communication.
Horizon Quantum Computing aims to democratise quantum software development. It is developing tools to automatically accelerate programs written for conventional computers, helping conventional software developers make the leap to programming quantum computers. 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. Expected application areas of quantum computing include logistics, finance, chemistry and pharma.
“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 Joe.
“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 Si-Hui. “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."