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Quantum memory start-up memQ raises $2M in seed funding

By Dan O'Shea posted 16 Feb 2023

Funding continues to flow into the quantum community for all levels of start-ups. Q-CTRL recently added $27.4 million to its Series B round, Oxford Ionics brought in $36.5 million in its Series A funding round, and there is still activity happening at the seed level, too, as Chicago-based quantum memory startup memQ this week announced today a $2 million seed funding round. 

The round was led by Quantonation, which has invested in several sector companies, Exposition Ventures, and the George Schultz Innovation Fund. The young company said it will use the funds to accelerate the development of an on-chip quantum repeater built on the company’s solid-state platform, enabling the quantum internet.

Quantum memory, something like traditional memory storage but for storing quantum states, is needed to support the distribution of quantum entanglement and the creation of advanced applications.

“Quantum memory is an important computing element that a number of existing quantum computing hardware companies need but they are forced to engineer around it because there are no efficient solutions available,” said Manish Singh, memQ co-founder and CEO, in a statement. “The market does not yet have a way of storing and manipulating quantum information at long timescales. That’s the central problem we are solving and our technology will be the critical step in advancing the field of quantum computing and quantum communication.”

A major advantage of memQ’s technology, the company said, is that it supports the scalability  and compatibility with existing telecom infrastructure that is necessary for quantum networking to advance. Regarding scalability, memQ offers native scalability from the silicon-on-insulator platform –- the standard for integrated photonics today, the company said. Regarding compatibility with existing networks, memQ said it achieves this by using erbium qubits operating at the wavelength of light used in optical fiber networks.

memQ is just the latest company to emerge from the quantum hotbed of the Chicago area, and like Super.tech before it, was spun out of the University of Chicago. It was co-founded in 2021 by Singh (Ph.D.) in partnership with Sean Sullivan (Ph.D.) and Supratik Guha, professor in UChicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. The company is currently incubated at the Duality accelerator program at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

“This investment in memQ is Quantonation’s first operation in the leading Chicago quantum ecosystem, where we found obviously best-in-class science and a very talented founding team supported by strong regional initiatives,” said Christophe Jurczak, founding partner at Quantonation. “This is a model for grooming world leaders in quantum technologies. On the technical side, we are excited to start working with memQ on a very promising emerging platform, rare-earth ions, with a potential for integration and scale.”

memQ previously received non-dilutive funding from the Department of Energy (DOE) through Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI), the entrepreneurship program at Argonne National Laboratory.

Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.

Categories: quantum computing

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