ORCA Computing, a full-stack photonic quantum computing company, is reporting a banner day — announcing that it sold its first quantum computing system to the UK Ministry of Defence and, now, Sifted is reporting the startup closed a $15 million Series A funding round.
The London-based company is a a spinoff from the University of Oxford. Its 30-member team is spread across the globe with members based in the UK, Canada, US and Poland. The funds from the latest round will be used, in part, to double the size of that team, according to Sifted.
According to The Quantum Insider intelligence platform, this series is led by Octopus Ventures, and includes other investors Verve Ventures, Quantonation, Oxford Science Enterprises and Innovate UK. ORCA Computing reported on a pre-seed round in July 2020. Investors in that round included Atmos Ventures, Oxford Science Enterprises, Quantonation and Creative Destruction Lab.
ORCA CEO and co-founder Richard Murray told Sifted the investment will help roll out the photonic quantum computing system and software to allow companies and organizations develop future data processing capabilities. The goal also includes work on error-correction. Because quantum computers are so prone to errors, error-correction will be an absolute necessity to create devices that can work on real-world problems.
Tackling that challenge could unlock trillions of dollars in innovation, Zoë Reich, a fund manager at Octopus Ventures, told Sifted.
“Quantum computing holds the potential to transform trillion-dollar industries, from drug discovery to autonomous vehicles, but scaling a system to the qubits needed to execute significant quantum algorithms is an immense undertaking,” Reich told the publication. “We believe the ORCA team is delivering on that challenge.”
Learn more about ORCA in our exclusive interview with Richard Murray.