Draper Esprit leads $20m funding round in quantum computing firm

25 Jan 2021

Image: © James Thew/Stock.adobe.com

University of Cambridge spin-out Riverlane has raised $20m in funding to build Deltaflow, its operating system for quantum computers.

Interest in quantum computing continues to thrive, with breakthroughs happening regularly in the research area. In December 2020, for example, a team of researchers at Fermilab and partner institutions demonstrated sustained long-distance teleportation of qubits of photons.

Now, venture capital firm Draper Esprit has led a $20m Series A funding round in Riverlane, a quantum computing spin-out from the University of Cambridge.

Riverlane plans to use the funds to expand internationally and to build out Deltaflow, its operating system for quantum computing.

The quantum computing start-up, which was founded in 2017, said Deltaflow creates a solid platform for the rapid development forecasted in quantum hardware development across the pharmaceutical and materials industries.

Riverlane’s founder and CEO, Steve Brierley, said: “For a quantum ecosystem to thrive, we urgently need an operating system. An operating system makes quantum computers useful – it allows programs and applications to run on many different machines. Riverlane aims to make our operating system Deltaflow a global standard.”

Existing investors also joined the latest funding round, following a £3.25m seed round completed in June 2019. These include Cambridge Innovation Capital, University of Cambridge and Hermann Hauser’s Amadeus Capital Partners.

Amelia Armour, partner at Amadeus Capital Partners, said what makes the Deltaflow operating system exciting is that it is portable across all the different types of hardware.

“We are delighted to support Riverlane again as they expand their hardware-agnostic platform and create an ecosystem for application developers,” she said.

Stuart Chapman, director at Draper Esprit, added that Riverlane is showing what is already possible as quantum emerges into the commercial world. “Hardware manufacturers are already seeing the benefit from Deltaflow as Riverlane commercialise their technology. We look forward to seeing where Riverlane can go next,” he said.

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, Draper Esprit’s portfolio value was £702m as of 30 September 2020, compared with £703m at the end of March 2020.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic