By Jane Lanhee Lee
OAKLAND, Calif (Reuters) - Singapore-based software startup Horizon Quantum Computing on Friday said it raised $18.1 million to expand its engineering team and speed up product development.
The company, founded in 2018, created a programming language called Helium for quantum computers, designed to make it easier to tackle complex problems.
Today to use quantum computers developers either have to program in terms of elementary operations, or instead rely on pre-written programs from other software makers, said Horizon Chief Executive Joe Fitzsimons.
Quantum computers, based on quantum physics, could potentially perform some calculations millions of times faster than the current fastest super computers. But they are mostly still in research mode and have yet to create an advantage over classic computers for anything significant.
While there are over an estimated 100 million software developers, Fitzsimons said there are only a few hundred who would be able to program quantum computers from scratch, and that banks and pharmaceutical companies will want to develop their own code rather than rely on pre-written ones.
"In some sense their algorithms are part of their competitive edge. So how do you enable them to do that development while recognizing that the talent pool is very, very, very small for this area?" said Fitzsimons.
To help alleviate the talent shortage, the company plans to create a translation layer that will make it possible for software developers using classical computer programming languages such as C++ or Python to use those languages for quantum computers directly.
Horizon Quantum Computing said it is also planning to open its first European offices in Ireland, where it is building its new engineering center.
The company said Sequoia Capital India, China's Tencent Holdings Ltd, and Singapore government's tech investment firm SGInnovate were among the investors funding this round. The company has so far raised a total of about $21 million.
(Reporting By Jane Lanhee Lee; Editing by Bill Berkrot)