Quantum computing startup Xanadu nabs $32 mln in OV-led Series A


Photo courtesy of Xanadu

Xanadu, a Toronto-based photonic quantum computing and AI startup, has raised $32 million in a Series A financing.

The round brings the company’s total funding to date to $41 million, according to a news release.

The Series A was led by OMERS Ventures. OV, the venture arm of $97 billion Canadian pension fund OMERS, also led Xanadu’s seed financing last year.

OV was joined by new and existing investors. They included Georgian Partners, Radical Ventures, Real Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank and individual investor Tim Draper, founder of DFJ.

Launched in 2016 by CEO Christian Weedbrook, Xanadu is focused on leveraging the discovery that quantum computing can make use of photons, or particles of light, to rapidly perform complex calculations at room temperature.

Xanadu does this by designing and integrating quantum silicon photonic chips into existing hardware.

The funds raised will be used to bring to market a quantum cloud-computing platform able to create “an ecosystem comprising multiple industry solutions not offered on competing platforms,” the release said.

It will be outfitted with machine learning software, called Penny Lane, and another product called Strawberry Fields, which will be a main access point to Xanadu’s computers.

OV Managing Partner Sid Paquette, who sits on Xanadu’s board, said deployment of the quantum cloud-computing platform will unleash “creative approaches” from developers with the potential to “accelerate finance, quantum chemistry, material science and artificial intelligence.”

Xanadu’s team includes Seth Lloyd, an MIT professor and quantum computing expert, who joined last year as chief scientific advisor.

Weedbrook is also the founder of CipherQ, a Toronto-based cybersecurity startup.

Xanadu is one of the first investments of Radical Ventures’ new AI fund, targeted to raise about $470 million (US$350 million).