Investment interest in the quantum computing industry has been steadily growing in the last decade. Because of this, TQD thought it right to bring its readership an overview of a selection of some of the investors in the space
The Quantum Computing Investment Landscape
The current disaster that has descended upon the world has disrupted many predictions that were made at the end of 2019 around financial markets and investment. It is too early to tell how the Quantum Computing (QC) market will be affected however, before the coronavirus outbreak, investment in the space was tentatively on the up: government support of quantum technologies, as well as the money coming in to the private sector, had created an environment of cautious optimism.
One indicator of this had been a report published at Nature conducted in the autumn of 2019 summarizing that globally private investors had pumped cash into over fifty quantum-orientated businesses since 2012 (and since then PsiQuantum has raised another $150m). That said, when you step back and compare to other markets, there has been surprisingly little VC interest in QC.
I list here, in no particular order of rank or merit, twenty firms that have active QC startups / businesses in their portfolios. Following this group, I have also listed other investors that have been involved in some way in the QC ecosystem, either as having invested in only one startup or several but as a smaller investor. You will notice this is a mix of corporate venture capital players, pure-play VCs and accelerators.
For those who are interested in learning more, we are working on mapping out the whole investment market. Watch this space.
1. A&E Investments
Styled as a ‘boutique investment firm specializing in leading technologies’, San Francisco-based A&E Investments is led by Managing Director Andrew Tan and Chairman Lip-Bu Tan. Their strategy, of ‘writing the first checkbook’ and becoming involved with early-stage startups from the get-go, where they work closely with the founders to try and give them a competitive advantage, can only work in their favour.
With 82 investments, 53 companies in its portfolio and with 28 exits to date, A&E Investments can only become more involved in the QC investment game.
While Andrew Tan has experience as a software engineer at Google, as well as an investment manager at Capstone Parnters LLC, Lip-Bu Tan, meanwhile, can draw on a work history that includes being the founder and chairman of Walden International, a VC firm whose capital portfolio commitments are close to $3B.
The firm’s QC portfolio contains PsiQuantum and IonQ.
In the same year, A&E Investments was also involved in the Series B round that raised $55M for IonQ, along with 11 other investors.
2. Airbus Ventures
They are a proud company, built on the back of the heritage and name they carry forth. And their aim is simple: to support their portfolio companies all the way.
Headed by Managing Partner Thomas d’Halluin, who leads a team of nine, Airbus Ventures can surely rely on them to make the correct investments in the QC space.
With a portfolio containing over thirty companies, ranging from ‘a leading airspace management platform for drones’ (Airmap) to a startup that provides ‘multi-layered solution for hardening connected and autonomous vehicles against cyber-attacks’ (Trillium Secure), Airbus Ventures’ diverse fields of interests in technology should serve them well with future deals.
Last year, the company was part of a Series B venture round valued at $55M in IonQ.
A year earlier, in 2018, Airbus Ventures was part of the deal that raised $6.5M for QC Ware in a Series A Early-stage deal.
3. Alchemist Accelerator
Founded in 2012 and like A&E Investments, based in San Francisco, Alchemist Accelerator is a venture-backed business incubator that concentrates its investments on startups whose revenue can be attributed from enterprise. They also like to invest in startups with technical founders.
With a large portfolio, they have a lot of experience investing in tech companies.
With a cadre of highly-skilled mentors on board like Adam Pisoni, co-founder & CTO, CEO Steve King and co-founder Vinod Khosla — founder of Khosla Ventures, amongst others — Alchemist Accelerator really can bring it all to the table.
Alchemist Accelerator was among five other VC companies, AME Cloud Ventures and Berggruen Holdings being two of them, which raised $3M for Rigetti Computing in a Funding round.
4. Amadeus Capital Partners
Chief Executive and Co-founder Anne Glover have thirty years of experience in venture capital, and whose focus is on finance and strategy of the company.
At her side is founding partner Hermann Hauser. He, too, like Glover, has spent most of his career as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, as well as holding a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Cambridge.
The company’s QC portfolio contains two British startups, NuQuantum and Riverlane.
In 2019, NuQuantum received £650,000 from Amadeus Capital Partners in a Pre-seed round.
With a focus on European startups — and the Quantum Technologies Flagship initiative promising astronomical funding in the space — things are looking up Amadeus Capital Partners.
5. Bloomberg Beta
Founded in 2013, New York-based Bloomberg Beta is an early-stage venture capital firm whose capital comes from Bloomberg. The VC focusses its investments on innovative startups, with a particular focus on the future of work and machine intelligence companies. As of early 2020, it has a total of $225M under management, a total of 205 investments 110 companies in its portfolio with forty exits.
The firm’s QC portfolio includes a stable of startups that include Agnostiq, Beit.Tech, Boxcat, Menten, Rigetti Computing, and Solid State AI.
Bloomberg Beta was part of the $80K Seed round of Agnostiq with two other investors in 2018.
Polish quantum computing startup Beit.Tech, located in Krakow, received $1.4M in 2019 from Bloomberg Beta in a Seed VC round.
Bloomberg Beta invested an undisclosed amount in Boxcat Inc, a Canadian startup with a pre-money valuation of $1m, in a 2017 Venture round along with two other VC companies.
Also in 2017, the company invested $24M in Rigetti Computing in an Early Stage Series A round which also included AME Cloud Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and nine more investors.
Solid State AI is a Canadian startup that is building a machine learning platform designed for advanced manufacturing purposes. Bloomberg Beta invested an undisclosed amount in an Early Stage VC round for a minority share in the startup.
6. DCVC (Data Collective)
DCVC, otherwise known as Data Collective, is a venture capital and private equity firm founded in 2011 and based in San Francisco.
Their portfolio of QC startups includes Rigetti Computing and Australian startup Q-CTRL.
The firm was involved in a $40M Series B funding round with Rigetti Computing in 2017, along with seven other investors, including Andreessen Horowitz.
In 2018, DCVC added Q-CTRL to its QC portfolio with an undisclosed amount of investment funds as a lead investor in a Seed round which VC companies Sequoia Capital China also participated in.
7. Entrepreneur First (EF)
Entrepreneur First, founded in 2011 by Alice Bentinck and Matthew Clifford, is a British VC company that claims to be a ‘Talent Investor’ by supporting individuals to build companies in the technological sector.
Its QC portfolio contains two startups, Crypto Quantique, GTN LTD.
Entrepreneur First was involved in a $10,000 Seed round, along with another VC, investing in Crypto Quantique 2016. Later, in 2019, it invested some of the $8M in a Seed round as part of a deal involving ADV as the lead investor.
In 2018, $2.1M was raised for GTN Ltd during two Seed rounds which Entrepreneur First contributed to. The lead investors were Octopus Ventures, Pentech and Isomer Capital.
8. Felicis Ventures
Felicis Ventures, which was founded in 2006, prides itself on being:
The key person in the organization is Aydin Senkut, the founder and managing director of Felicis Ventures, who has been on the Forbes Midas List for six consecutive years. More impressively, perhaps, is he has also been included on the New York Times Top 20 Venture Capitalists list from 2016–2019.
Felicis Ventures was involved — along with a dozen other VCs — in a $2.5M Seed round in 2014 which invested in Rigetti Computing. The following year it was part of an identical amount in another Seed round to the same QC startup with a number of other investors.
QC startup Protein Qure received $4M in funding from lead investor Felicis Ventures in a 2019 Seed round. Five other VCs were also involved in the deal.
9. Fenox Venture Capital
Fenox Venture Capital, based in Silicon Valley, is a VC firm that invests in emerging technology startups in such wide-ranging disciplines as robotics, fintech, IoT, big data, and quantum computing (QC). Founded in 2011 by general partner Vitaliy Arbuzov, it currently has a portfolio of two QC companies.
In 2014 and 2015, Fenox Venture Capital was part of two Seed rounds, including a dozen other VCs which invested $2.5M and $2.5M, respectively, in Rigetti Computing.
2018 saw the firm take part in a Series A financing deal worth $6.5M in QC Ware. Leading the round were Citi and Goldman Sachs, while existing investors Airbus Ventures and D. E. Shaw Ventures also participated.
10. Goldman Sachs
This venture capitalist firm needs no introduction. Founded back in 1869, Goldman Sachs is ‘a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm’. A unique aspect of the bank is that it has a team dedicated to quantum research, which can only help them make better decisions when investing in the space.
Leading the team is Paul Burchard, head of research in R&D and managing director at Goldman Sachs.
Canadian QC company D-Wave Systems, which has raised over $200M in capital since its inception in the late 1990s, received almost $30M (CAD) from the bank and half a dozen other VCs in a 2014 Venture round.
In the summer of 2018, Goldman Sachs took part in a Series A round valued at $6.5M in QC Ware, the Palo Alto-based quantum-computing-as-a-service company.
With a bottomless pit of money and know-how to boot, one thing for sure will be as QC becomes more popular, so will Goldman Sachs’ participation in the space in a financial context.
11. High-Tech Gründerfonds
A German venture capital firm founded in 2005, High-Tech Gründerfonds is a seed investor that finances in tech startups they believe have a high level of potential. With a total investment volume of €892.5m across three funds, they have invested in nearly 600 startups in their fifteen years of operation, High-Tech Gründerfonds is one of the main players in investment in Europe in the QC industry.
Leading the fund management team is managing partner Dr Alex von Frankenberg, who holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Ph.D. in business from the University of Mannheim.
The firm’s QC startup portfolio includes HQS Quantum Simulations, kiutra and Qnami.
Last year, High-Tech Gründerfonds was involved in a Seed round valued at €2.3M in HQS Quantum Simulations, a QC startup from Karlsruhe, which included four other investors.
Two other VC firms joined High-Tech Gründerfonds in a seven-figure Seed round investment in kiutra in the first half of 2019. Kiutra, a Bavarian startup, designs and builds turn-key refrigeration solutions based on quantum principles.
The last startup in the VC’s QC portfolio is Qnami, a Swiss startup based in Basle, which got a much-needed cash injection of CHF2.6M in a Seed round late in 2019. Three other VCs participated in the round with High-Tech Gründerfonds.
12. Lux Capital
With two QC companies on in its portfolio, the firm sees that future investment in quantum information science startups is the best tactic for long term ROI.
In its stable of startups are Rigetti Computing and QC guru and evangelist William ‘whurley’ Hurley’s brainchild QC Strangeworks.
In 2016, the firm was involved in a Series A round valued at $24M. Lux Capital was joined by a dozen other in the rounds which included such names as Andreessen Horowitz and Streamlined Ventures.
Two years later, Lux Capital invested $4M in Strangeworks (along with others) in a Seed round.
As per the company’s website where they state ‘Our team is willing to take a chance on something other investors do not see’, it is clear Lux Capital’s philosophy is investing in the future today. They obviously see something few others in the industry — at least at the moment — do. Let us hope the company’s foresight serves them well in the future, giving the QC startups and their people a chance to shine and Lux Capital a healthy ROI.
13. Osage University Partners
That says a lot about the intentions of the next VC on our list, Osage University Partners, based in Pennsylvania. Founded in 1990 by Yale-educated managing partner Robert Adelson, who has spent the vast majority of his career investing in early-stage growth companies. The firm, to date, has two QC startups that fill its healthy portfolio.
In 2017 the firm participated in a Series A Early Stage Venture round worth $20M in Christopher Monroe’s IonQ, which was led by New Enterprise Associates and GV. They also made a second investment of $55M in IonQ in late 2019 in a Series B round led by Samsung Catalyst and Mubadala.
14. Osage University Partners
Founded by CIO Alastair Kilgour and CEO Moray Wright in 2009, Parkwalk Advisors is a London-based venture capital firm whose main business is investing in hard science companies. Presently under its management portfolio, it has more than £250M of assets.
Parkwalk invests in startups that operate within many innovative sectors — these include big data, materials science, cleantech, medtech, and AI. But the investment doesn’t stop there. It is also into QC, too, where it’s leaving its mark with a portfolio that includes three British QC startups: Oxford Quantum Circuits, Phasecraft and Quantum Motion Technologies.
In 2017 Parkwalk Advisors was part of a $2.7M Series A Early Stage Venture round in Oxford Quantum Circuits.
The firm also took part in a £750K Pre-Seed round led by UCL Technology Fund in QC software developer Phasecraft in 2019.
On the investment in Phrasecraft, Neil Cameron, Investment Director at Parkwalk Investors, had this to say:
Leeds-based Quantum Motion Technologies was next to gain a much-needed undisclosed cash injection as part of a Seed round of equity funding from Parkwalk along with two other lead VC investors in late 2017.
15. Prelude Ventures
Prelude Ventures was founded in 2009 by husband and wife team Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons. The VC firm’s main intent is committed to ‘addressing climate change’. They have a portfolio of companies spread across the energy, advanced materials, manufacturing, advanced computing, logistics, and transportation industries while focussing specifically on entrepreneurs who see the bigger picture by creating business opportunities on a global scale while reducing ‘carbon intensity’.
The firm’s QC portfolio contains two startups, Atom Computing and Zapata Computing.
Last year the firm was also part of a Series A financing round, co-led by Comcast Ventures, in Zapata Computing which raised $21M for the Boston-based QC startup.
According to the firm’s website, [they] have invested in over 40 companies across advanced energy, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, advanced materials and manufacturing, and advanced computing since 2013.
16. Robert Bosch Venture Capital
Robert Bosch Venture Capital is as veritable as they come: the corporate venture capital subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH, a German multinational engineering and technology company, was founded in 1886. With a vast amount of experience, as well as having huge reserves of capital to invest in deep-tech projects, it is no wonder they have taken an interest in quantum computing.
The man in charge is Dr. Volkmar Denner, CEO of Robert Bosch GmbH, who leads a competent team spread across the globe in Silicon Valley, Europe, China and Israel. Managing Director of RBVC is Luis Llovera.
The firm’s portfolio includes two of the more well-known QC startups, IonQ and Zapata Computing.
According to the company’s website, ‘the initial amount of investment ranges from below EUR 500K for a seed funding to more than EUR 5m in an early-to-late-stage funding round’.
Last year, RBVC was part of a funding round in IonQ, along with New Enterprise Associates (NEA), GV, Samsung Catalyst Fund, and Mubadala Capital, that was north of $55M.
About the investment, RBVC Managing Director Dr. Ingo Ramesohl, said:
Earlier in 2019, RBVC was involved in $21M Series A round in Zapata Computing. The round was led by Comcast Ventures and Prelude Ventures.
The VC firm SGInnovate’s mission states:
The Singapore government-owned startup incubator/VC was founded in 2016. Headed by CEO Steve Leonard (who will be leaving later this year for pastures new at the Singularity University), SGInnovate wants scientists ‘to launch, prove, build, and scale Deep Tech innovations from Singapore for the world’.
As well two QC companies in its portfolio, the firm also has startups in several hard tech sectors, like AI in financial services, healthcare & operations, blockchain, medtech and mobility. With such a diverse portfolio of businesses, they surely know what they’re doing in all areas.
SGInnovate was the lead investor in a Seed round for an undisclosed amount that included four other investors in Singapore’s Horizon Quantum Computing back in 2018.
The firm was also involved in the $1.9M Seed round in startup SpeQtral in the spring of 2019, which was led by Space Capital. Space Angels, Shasta Ventures and Golden Gate Ventures also took part in the round.
18. Shasta Ventures
Shasta Ventures is a California-based venture capital firm founded in 2004 by managing directors Rob Coneybeer and Ravi Mohan, whose business model is styled as an ‘early-stage investor partnering with entrepreneurs who are building products that change the way we work’.
With over a hundred companies in its impressive portfolio — many of them in smart software and emerging platform — Shasta Ventures also has two QC startups on its books, Canadian startup ISARA Corporation and SpeQtral, based in Singapore.
In late 2018, Shasta Ventures was the lead investor in a $10M Series A round in Isara Corporation.
At around the same time, the firm also participated in a Seed round with a $1.9M investment in SpeQtral. The round was led by Space Capital. Space Angels and Golden Gate Ventures also took part.
It is obvious Shasta Ventures has some skin in the QC game. Let’s keep our fingers crossed their investments pays off.
19. Summer Capital
With fifteen companies in its portfolio at the time of writing, their eye for future trends in technology could be essential for future growth and that ever-important ROI.
Summer Capital’s investments in QC startups include Horizon Quantum Computing, QxBranch/Rigetti (Rigetti bought QXBranch) and Turing Quantum.
The firm was involved in a 2018 Seed round investment in Horizon Quantum Computing for an undisclosed amount. The round was led by SGInnovate.
In the summer of 2018, QXBranch (which in the summer of 2019 was acquired by Rigetti Computing), raised $8.5M in a Series A round. In it, Summer Capital was a minor investor.
Finally, there is Turing Quantum, a QC startup that seems to be in stealth mode. Summer Capital is reported to have a minority investment stake in the Greater New York area-based QC startup founded by CEO Michele Reilly in 2016.
20. Tim Draper
Tim Draper is to venture capital what Mark Zuckerberg is to social media: he’s a god. This American venture capital investor, founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson in 1985, has invested in many diverse companies from SpaceX to Twitter to Coinbase. When it comes to investing in deep tech, he’s a man in the know.
Draper’s QC portfolio contains two of the more well-known names in the QC startup world, Rigetti Computing and Xanadu.
In 2014, Tim Draper was involved in a Seed round in Berkely-based Rigetti Computing, which raised $2.5M in funding. Other investors in the round included Y Combinator, Pegasus Tech Ventures and Felicis Ventures.
In the summer of 2019, Xanadu — a Toronto-based QC startup in photonic quantum computing — raised CA$32M in a Series A round. Tim Draper took part in the financing which was led by OMERS Ventures.
Other Honourable Mentions are listed below. Watch this space for our full list and mapping.
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