Austin-based Strangeworks announced today that it has raised $4 million in venture capital as it seeks to make the potential of quantum computing more accessible to a wider range of developers.
Founded in 2017, Strangeworks is building tools that allow developers and researchers to begin working with quantum computing systems. If quantum computing ever becomes the standard for daily operations, developers of all stripes will have to learn entirely new ways of writing software and applications. Indeed, many companies have already begun experimenting with the technology in limited ways to get a head start on any potential transformation.
Initially, Strangeworks plans to create tools that focus on four markets: aerospace, energy, finance, and pharmaceuticals. These will be sold as a subscription service.
This seed round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and included investment from Ecliptic Capital, GreatPoint Ventures, Lux Capital, BoxGroup, and Amplify Partners.
“I’ve been working with [CEO William Hurley] and the Strangeworks team for several months now, and I’m confident that their approach to building a business around quantum and other forms of unconventional computing is the most audacious and forward-thinking I’ve seen,” said Lightspeed partner Adam Goldberg, in a statement. “Strangeworks has enormous potential, and I’m excited that Lightspeed has partnered with such an accomplished team.”
Quantum computing seeks to replace the traditional computing architecture, in which processing occurs in a binary state, with an atomic-level system in which the processing can occur in multiple states simultaneously. These are referred to as “quantum bits” or “qbits.”
While there are still fundamental scientific hurdles to overcome to make quantum computing more powerful than traditional computing, quantum computing holds the promise of systems that are much more powerful and able to handle calculations that are far more complex.
The theory around quantum computing has been around for decades. But the development of the new computing architecture has gained momentum in recent years as giants like IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Google have begun to invest heavily in the technology. Companies are worried that current computing architectures are reaching their limits (the end of Moore’s Law) just as new technologies like 5G networks and autonomous vehicles will create much richer data sets that require dramatically greater computing power.
In developing its service, Strangeworks has a partnership with IBM, which last year introduced the IBM Q Network. The IBM Q allows users to remotely tap into a quantum computer to begin learning and developing projects. Strangeworks says it is also working with Stack Overflow to demystify quantum computing for developers via the Q&A site Quantum Computing Stack Exchange.