The European Quantum Computing Startup Landscape

Quantum Computing Research Institutes & Initiatives across Europe

Alex Kiltz, Investment Associate at UVC Partners, has cleverly painted the European Quantum Computing Startup Landscape in an article published in Medium.

We at Swiss Quantum Hub strongly encourage you to read it.

Let’s quote some Alex’ main ideas and pictures.

The figure below presents an overview of some of the milestones in the evolution of quantum technology with an emphasis on quantum computing.

The Evolution of Quantum Technology
The Evolution of Quantum Technology

Quantum computing is maturing with the advent of more powerful quantum processors with an increasing number of qubits, longer coherence times and gate fidelities, more developer tools such as compilers and libraries, and better algorithms suited for quantum computing (e.g. Shor’s or Grover’s). The addressability of the aforementioned applications will largely depend on the sophistication of the underlying technology. Hence, with a maturing quantum technology being able to address more and more complex applications, the corresponding commercial impact will increase x-fold. While the specific timing is still unknown, as the following figure shows, the resulting business value is expected to be tremendous and could well be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

The Expected Phases of Quantum Computing Maturity & Value Creation (Source: BCG)
The Expected Phases of Quantum Computing Maturity & Value Creation (Source: BCG)

By diving into the European quantum computing startup landscape, I willmostly focus on the application of quantum computing and aim at answering the following questions: What are the recent developments in quantum science? What are the leading research institutes for quantum technologies across Europe? What does the current startup activity in quantum technologies look like? Which are the different funding mechanisms that are available for startups in the field? How do funding levels differ across categories and countries? What are the most attractive market segments from a VC point of view? Below is a summary of some of the findings.

The European Quantum Computing Startup Landscape
The European Quantum Computing Startup Landscape

The 69 European quantum computing startups that were founded since 2010 raised a total of just over €150m to date. Only one exit was recorded, albeit from a company founded in 2001: ID Quantique was acquired by SK Telecom for €55m in 2018.

When looking at the geographical spread of startups across Europe, the UK leads the scoreboard with 23 startups followed by Germany (13), France (7), Spain and Switzerland (4 each), and Finland and The Netherlands (3 each). As expected, three cities from the UK are among the top five cities in terms of the number of startups: London (8), Cambridge (3), and Oxford (2). Three startups in our sample are from Berlin. Barcelona, Helsinki, Innsbruck, Lausanne, and Munich are home to two startups each.

Unsurprisingly, UK startups raised the most funding (€85m), followed by Finland (€27m), Israel (€20m), and Switzerland (€12m). Quantum computing startups in France (€3m) raised significantly less. However, it has to be noted that these numbers are driven by a few outliers which are the most funded startups in Europe to date in terms of publicly disclosed equity funding: Cambridge Quantum Computing (€44.3m; Cambridge, UK), IQM (€26.5m; Espoo, Finland), Quantum Machines (€19.5m; Tel Aviv, Israel), Terra Quantum (€10.0m; Rorschach, Switzerland), and Quantum Motion Technologies (€8.7m; Leeds, UK).

The European Quantum Computing Startup Landscape: High-level stats
The European Quantum Computing Startup Landscape: High-level stats

The paper can be read there.