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Dell backs Israeli photonic quantum computing startup

20 Apr 2023

Quantum Source funding hits $27M as computing giant's venture wing joins seed round.

Israeli startup Quantum Source, which is is aiming to develop a commercially viable photonic quantum computer with millions of qubits, says it has extended its seed funding round to $27 million - thanks largely to an injection of cash from Dell Technologies Capital (DTC).

It says that the $12 million top-up will be used to expand the firm’s research and development team as it scales to reach significant technical and performance milestones.

Quantum Source emerged from stealth mode last year, after raising an initial $15 million in seed funding.

The Rehovot-based firm was set up in 2021 by chief scientist Barak Dayan - head of the quantum optics laboratory at the Weizmann Institute of Science - alongside three serial entrepreneurs, and has gone on to employ 25 physicists and engineers.

“Photonics is the only way to deliver useful quantum computers,” claims the company on its web site.

CEO Oled Malomed, who co-founded Altair Semiconductor before it was acquired by Sony for more than $200 million, said after the latest fundraising effort:

“We founded Quantum Source with the belief that photonic quantum technologies are the best route to achieve large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computers. Our unique approach will dramatically improve the scalability of those machines and will be the key to commercial success of quantum computers.

“Having investors such as DTC believe in us will allow us to accelerate our work and by extension, entire industries.”

Omri Green, partner at Dell Technologies Capital, added: “DTC invests in technologies that can move industries forward. We believe quantum computing has this potential and, as our first investment in this area, that Quantum Source can be the team to get us there.

“Oded and this exceptional team of scientists and proven entrepreneurs are addressing crucial hurdles in photonic quantum - scalability and fault tolerance. Once those challenges are solved, the innovation upside will be boundless.”

Quantum race
Photonic quantum computing is one particular approach to quantum computing that uses photons as a representation of qubits. Quantum Source says it utilizes a unique method to generate photons and quantum gates that is five orders of magnitude more efficient than state-of-the-art implementation.

The majority of companies working on quantum computing use superconducting, ion trap, or neutral atom approaches - with several different lasers and complex optical arrangements typically needed to generate qubits through cooling techniques.

Other firms working on photonic quantum computing include the well-supported Canadian startup Xanadu, PsiQuantum in Silicon Valley, and UK-based ORCA Computing. ORCA raised $15 million last year and is leading a research project to develop a “quantum data center”.

Another is QuiX Quantum, a spin-out from the University of Enschede in the Netherlands. Supported by the Dutch government’s “PhotonDelta” funding mechanism, it uses silicon nitride photonic integrated circuits (PICs) developed partly under the European Union’s “PHOQUSING” project.

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