Espoo-based IQM Finland is building scalable cryogenic hardware for general purpose quantum computers. The startup—a spinout from Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)—is developing high-speed quantum processors using superconducting qubits to reduce the error rates that currently limit quantum computers.
Founded by a team of innovators with a vision to drive advancements in quantum computing, the startup has already pioneered breakthroughs in thermal management and other areas that influence computational speed and information accuracy. IQM’s most recent technological breakthrough drives quantum measurement time down to 300 nanoseconds.
Founded in 2018, IQM Finland just closed a €11.6 seed round. The investment comes from Matadero QED, Maki.vc, MIG Fonds, OpenOcean, Tesi (Finnish Industry Investment), and Vito Ventures. Fund executives include global semiconductor experts and entrepreneurs who will help IQM to build infrastructure, recruit talent, and expand collaborations with ecosystem partners. MIG Partner Dr. Axel Thierauf will become chairman, and Ekaterina Almasque, a partner with OpenOcean is also joining the board.
“Quantum computing will provide limitless opportunities in areas like AI, cybersecurity and chemistry,” said Ilkka Kivimäki, Partner at Maki.vc. “And although the worldwide field of quantum experts is small, IQM has managed to assemble a remarkable team. We are proud to champion the company as they write new rules for this revolutionary computing category.”
Once fully functional, quantum computing is expected to revolutionize industries like drug discovery, materials science and finance by solving complex problems in hours instead of years. Although in its infancy, the industry could reach $2 to $5 billion in the next five years. In ten years, it could soar to $50 billion, according to a recent BCG analysis.
“IQM was founded on innovation that’s already taking quantum technology across new frontiers,” said Dr. Jan Goetz, co-founder & CEO of IQM. “Thanks to the support of Aalto and VTT, we moved fast to drive advancements at the system level to make quantum technology viable, practical and cost effective.”
IQM’s founders connected through their research at Aalto and VTT. All hold PhDs in quantum physics and are experts in superconducting quantum processors. Aalto and VTT were natural incubators for IQM. Both are world-renowned for their research in superconducting circuits, and more recently, quantum technology. Superconducting circuits power the quantum bits (qubits) that hold and process quantum information. Qubits represent the building blocks of a quantum computer.
Accelerating the adoption of quantum computing relies on relentlessly increasing computational speeds and improving error correction. This calls for driving faster clock cycles by vastly reducing the time required for qubit reset, logic gates and readout. Getting there requires hardware systems that are finely tuned to keep the fragile qubits stable, yet are robust, practical and cost effective. This is IQM’s domain.
“We invested in IQM because we believe that the path to scalable QC lies in hardware ingenuity,” said Dr. Axel Thierauf, Partner at MIG Fonds. “Beyond that, we’re impressed by the team’s knowledge and expertise, their disciplined approach to solving formidable problems, and their keen understanding of what it takes to turn remarkable innovation into a promising business.”
Now, with its hardware innovations, the company aims to demonstrate the fastest qubit reset and readout in the industry, and bring a practically useful quantum computer closer to reality.
“Our headquarters in Finland—a hub of quantum research—is a powerful differentiator for IQM,” said Dr. Mikko Möttönen, co-founder and chief scientist at IQM. “It gives us access to technologists doing ground-breaking work, and puts us close to institutions offering fabrication facilities with cutting-edge process technologies that we will use to develop our products.”
“Today’s software solutions are constrained by the limitations of CPUs and GPUs, making more complex optimization, modelling and artificial intelligence workloads not feasible,” added Ekaterina Almasque, Partner at OpenOcean. “IQM’s fault-tolerant quantum processor architecture will open the door for more powerful computationally intensive tasks. The talented team is set to enable a unique quantum cloud offering and ignite a stronger quantum software ecosystem in Europe.”