This article was published on January 17, 2024

Dutch startup nets €8M for ‘quantum modem’ tech

Is this the backbone of a future un-hackable quantum internet?

Dutch startup nets €8M for ‘quantum modem’ tech

Delft-based QphoX just raised the biggest round of a Dutch quantum startup to date. The €8mn will aid the company in its mission to develop core hardware required to allow quantum computers to communicate over an optical network — a quantum “modem,” if you will.

As the quantum computing ecosystem continues to develop globally, it is becoming increasingly clear that no one company will be responsible for “the” quantum breakthrough. Rather, it will come from a combination of companies all working on solving their specific part of the puzzle.  

QphoX’s technology supports quantum transduction, i.e. the process of converting quantum information from one form of physical system to another. This will enable the scalability of large quantum computing systems within data centres. Ultimately, the company says, this could form the backbone of a future quantum internet.

The quantum internet would represent a major milestone in communication technology, essentially utilising the principles of quantum mechanics for entirely new ways of transmitting information. 

It would be, among other things, un-hackable, and enable quantum teleportation, i.e. the transfer of quantum states from one location to another without physically moving the particles that make up those states. Most likely, it will also introduce entirely new applications, some of which we cannot yet imagine.

Part of a growing Dutch quantum ecosystem

But we are getting ahead of ourselves — back to QphoX and the news at hand. The €8mn funding round is led by QDNL Participations, a €15mn fund aimed at bridging the gap between the grant-giving phase of quantum research and venture investment. The EIC Fund, and existing investors Quantonation, Speedinvest, High-Tech Gründerfonds, and Delft Enterprises also participated. 

“We are very grateful to be entrusted by our investors to build the technology that will enable real quantum computing applications. At the moment, we are the only company with the transduction hardware at a performance level that will allow quantum systems to connect through optical quantum channels,” said QphoX co-founder and CEO Simon Groeblacher. 

A team photo of the QphoX quantum startup company
QphoX is something so rare as a tech startup with gender balance. Credit: QphoX

The Netherlands may be a small country, but its growing quantum ecosystem is emerging as a leader in specialised quantum technologies. There are five specific innovation hubs under the umbrella of Quantum Delta NL (QDNL) — in Delft, Leiden, Eindhoven, Amsterdam, and Twente. 

Its €15mn QDNL Participations fund has already invested in other technology-leading quantum startups, including QuantaMap, QuantWare, Fermioniq, and Q-bird. 

Chad Rigetti, venture partner and lead investor at QDNL Participations will join the QphoX advisory board. “Quantum transduction, and the ability to interconnect modular quantum computers over an optical network, is a breakthrough capability that could shift how we think of building large scale quantum computers and the quantum internet,” he said, adding that QphoX is the “clear leader” in its category.

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