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IQM, the Finnish quantum computing hardware provider, raises €128m

IQM, the Finnish quantum computing hardware provider, has raised a €128m round led by climate tech investor World Fund — Europe’s largest quantum round ever. The fundraising comes as Europe’s quantum efforts are ramping up — this month saw the launch of the continent’s first dedicated quantum VC fund while governments are also pledging increased support for the industry. 

The new funding will go towards IQM’s work on developing quantum computers to produce solutions to the climate crisis. 

Launched in 2018, IQM is already the best-funded of Europe’s quantum computing startups. It’s now raised €178.5m from investors, and €200m if you include public grants and loans.

The company is one of the few European startups focused on quantum computer hardware — a field where it is up against big US companies like IBM and Google. It plans on selling its computers to research labs, data centres and companies.

Computers, both quantum and conventional, are machines which you programme a problem into and get an answer back. The problem with conventional computers is that there are some problems that are so complex that they’d be calculating the answer for thousands of years — or potentially forever.

“The promise of quantum computers is that for some of those problems, they can create a shortcut, which brings the timescale from 1000s of years, to hours, minutes or seconds,” explains IQM’s cofounder and CEO Jan Goetz.

If we’re going to tackle the climate crisis, there are complex problems we need to overcome — and quantum computing companies believe they can help.

“We’re not saying that quantum computing can solve the climate crisis, but I think quantum computers can have some impact in a positive way and can help reduce CO2 emissions to a certain extent,” Goetz says.

One of the key applications where IQM thinks quantum could have an impact is on developing more efficient batteries to better replace the combustion engine. Quantum computers can more accurately simulate the way chemical processes work at an atomic level — and that precision can help develop more efficient batteries. 

The computers could also simulate the processes within a solar power cell, to work out how to increase the percentage of the light spectrum that gets turned into electric energy.

Goetz says the computers could also work on alternatives to materials like concrete (which produces a significant fraction of global emissions), as well as working on energy grid optimisation and making the traffic flow of cities more efficient to lower CO2 emissions. 

IQM seems to be an innovative company that is working on developing quantum computers to produce solutions to the climate crisis. Congratulations to the entire team at IQM on your funding and all the best in this endeavour. I wish you great success.

Shishir Gupta, Founder and CEO, StartupLanes

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