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UK-based university spinout Phasecraft raises £13M to fuel quantum algorithm development for real world

Phasecraft team
Picture credits: Phasecraft

Harnessing the potential of quantum computing to revolutionise complex problem-solving. Presently, Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) devices, while promising, lack the capability to execute existing algorithms effectively due to their noise and instability. Achieving practical applications, like simulating new battery materials, requires billions of quantum operations, surpassing current hardware limits. 

While hardware capacity has grown with recent investments, practical algorithms to exploit advancements remain mostly theoretical. Notably, no real-world problems have yet been solved on quantum computers, highlighting the gap between theoretical potential and practical implementation. Bridging this gap is key to unlocking the transformative power of quantum computing.

UK-headquartered Phasecraft solves the issue by radically reimagining how such quantum algorithms are designed. Its algorithms are based on novel insights from theoretical physics and computer science, coupled with knowledge gained from extensive numerical simulations and a deep understanding of quantum hardware. 

Raises £13M funding

In a recent development, Phasecraft has raised a £13 million Series A funding round led by Silicon Valley deeptech VC, Playground Global (known for investments in NVision, Farmwise, and Owl Labs). AlbionVC also joined the round along with participation from existing investors Episode1, Parkwalk Advisors, LCIF, and UCL Technology Fund. 

Phasecraft will use this funding to further develop its quantum algorithms to the point of practical quantum advantage – when quantum computers outperform classical computers for useful real-world applications like developing new materials.

With this round, the total investment raised by Phasecraft accounts for £17.25 and a further £3.75 million in grant funding from the likes of Innovate UK and the European Research Council. The grant funding will be used to continue building the team of world-leading quantum scientists, researchers and engineers and to further establish Phasecraft as the world leader in quantum algorithms.

Ashley Montanaro, co-founder and CEO of Phasecraft, said: “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. With our record-breaking algorithms and groundbreaking techniques, we are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in this space. With support from such a renowned deep-tech visionary as Playground, we think practical quantum advantage is achievable in years, not decades.”

Peter Barrett, general partner, Playground Global, added: “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. At Playground, we’ve always believed that unlocking quantum’s potential requires a very special, dedicated, and experienced team and we believe Phasecraft is uniquely positioned to help deliver our quantum future.”

Quantum algorithms for modern quantum computers

Phasecraft was founded in 2019 as a spinout from UCL and the University of Bristol by Professors Ashley Montanaro, Toby Cubitt, and John Morton. 

The company works with the mission to accelerate the practical application of quantum computing by redesigning quantum algorithms for the imperfect quantum computers of today. It develops record-breaking algorithms with significantly superior computational efficiency compared to others in existence. 

Phasecraft focuses on applying these algorithmic improvements to the discovery of new materials important for the clean energy transition. Classical computing fails to capture many of these materials’ fundamental features, meaning we rely on experimental discovery which can take decades. 

Quantum computing promises to accelerate the entire process by capturing these features computationally, thus reducing the number of experiments required and drastically increasing the variety of material combinations which can be tested for any given use case.

Already, the company has established partnerships with the three most advanced superconducting quantum hardware providers in the world – Google, IBM, and Rigetti. Phasecraft has developed a software pipeline that delivers an improvement of 1,000,000x or more in modelling real materials compared with the best previous quantum algorithms, bringing the number of operations required to model a material down to around 80,000 and within touching distance of existing hardware capability. 

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