Quantum computing developer gets £3.25m funding

Written by Peter Walker
13/06/19

Quantum computing software developer Riverlane has raised £3.25 million in seed funding, led by venture capital investors Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) and Amadeus Capital Partners, with the participation of Cambridge Enterprise.

The UK startup is building a simulation engine for microscopic systems to replace expensive laboratory tests with computer simulation. Its software leverages the capabilities of the quantum computer, which operates using the principles of quantum mechanics. In the same way that graphics processing units (GPUs) accelerate machine learning workloads, Riverlane uses quantum computers to accelerate the simulation of quantum systems.

The company is working with academics and companies on critical early use cases for its software, such as developing new battery materials and drug treatments. Riverlane will use the seed funding to demonstrate its technology across a range of quantum computing hardware platforms, focused on early adopters in materials design and drug discovery. It will also expand its team of quantum software researchers and computational physicists.

Riverlane was founded by Steve Brierley, senior research fellow in applied mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He has over a decade of research experience in quantum information and computation, investigating the theory of quantum systems, architectures for quantum computers and quantum algorithms.

“This seed funding allows us to accelerate our work at a critical time in the development of quantum computers,” Brierley said. “Computers are central to the design of many new products, but when we try to model systems at the level of individual atoms, the rules that govern their behaviour are fundamentally different.

“Even huge supercomputers are limited to approximations – as a result, the design of new drugs and materials remains primarily a laboratory, rather than a computational, exercise,” he continued, adding that Riverlane’s software aims to unleash the huge potential of quantum computers.

Andrew Williamson, managing partner at CIC, added: “Steve and his team are developing state-of-the-art algorithms that can run on a range of quantum computing hardware platforms and can be applied to a number of applications such as drug–protein interactions, biomolecule folding and materials science at a molecular level.”