KARLSRUHE, Oct. 21, 2019 — From the development of more powerful batteries to highly efficient solar cells, finding new materials with specific predefined properties is of critical importance. So far our ability to design new materials using simulation tools has been limited by the lack of sufficient computational power. Designing new materials requires us to understand material properties on the atomic level where the laws of physics are governed by quantum mechanics. Even supercomputing centers can at most solve tiny quantum problems. However, with the rise of quantum computers, our capability to design completely new materials will change drastically. HQS provides the software to facilitate the coming revolution in computationally supported material design. HQS is a spin-off from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and provides software for quantum computers. It was founded in 2017 by Dr. Iris Schwenk, Dr. Sebastian Zanker, Dr. Jan Reiner and Dr. Michael Marthaler.
The four founders had worked together for four years at the KIT and then took the step to bridge the gap between academia and industrial applications. Initially backed by Angel investors Friedrich Hoepfner and Manfred Ziegler, HQS has now closed a seed round of €2.3 million (~$2.6 million) with experienced deep-tech investors UVC Partners, HTGF, and btov.
“At HQS we drive innovation by bringing together a group of exceptional scientists from physics, chemistry, and quantum information in a working environment that combines creativity with a clear focus on product development”, says COO Iris Schwenk. HQS seeks to substantially expand its team in the coming quarters and invites top talents with domain expertise to apply.
“HQS’ broad expertise in quantum decoherence, noisy quantum gates, and solid-state physics makes them ideally suited to bring quantum chemical and advanced material simulations to medium-term available NISQ processors. We are looking forward to these simulations eventually yielding superior results demonstrating quantum advantage”, says Christian Reitberger from the btov Industrial Technologies team.
HQS has well established collaborations with BASF, Bosch and Merck. These collaborations connect the chemistry industry, which has been hugely successful in Germany for more than a century, to a highly innovative field of the future. Quantum computers can massively enhance the speed of material development and is therefore a critical technology for the chemical sector.
“The close proximity of HQS to strong innovative companies in the chemical industry has been hugely beneficial. It has allowed us to develop our products with a clear view of what our customers actually need. We are very happy that our development is now supported by three investors that have the patience which is necessary for a complex field like quantum computing”, says CEO Michael Marthaler.
“The team of HQS unites leading technical and entrepreneurial skills and thus is well-positioned to make quantum computing accessible for its industrial customers,” states Benjamin Erhart, Partner with UVC Partners.
Yann Fiebig, Senior Investment Manager with HTGF continues: “The developments of recent years in the field of quantum computing showed the way for undreamt-of opportunities in various industries. With this strong investor consortium, HQS has found the right partners to open up quantum simulations for business.“
About HQS Quantum Simulations
HQS Quantum Simulations predicts material properties using quantum computers. We accelerate development cycles in the chemistry and pharma industries. Quantum computers can perform calculations impossible even for the most powerful supercomputers. Current quantum computers suffer from intrinsic errors that limit their performance. We at HQS develop algorithms for quantum computers that can deal with these errors and enable our customers to profit from the performance advantage of quantum computers earlier than their competitors. Furthermore, we offer individual simulation solutions for conventional computers with an integration of high-end simulation methods and the possibility to utilize the upcoming quantum computers.
About btov Partners
btov Partners, founded in 2000, is a European venture capital firm founded and funded by serial entrepreneurs and business angels focusing on industrial technologies and digital leaders of the European economy. The company manages assets of EUR 420 million and examines over 3,000 investment opportunities annually. The btov Industrial Technologies Team has backed companies ranging from component, module and systems hardware companies with embedded software to application and infrastructure software suppliers for industrial verticals. Its technology focus is on robotics & autonomous vehicles, industrial machine learning, Industry 4.0 and Industrial IoT, cyber-physical security, electronics & photonics, additive manufacturing, power conversion and storage, medical and quantum technologies. Past investments include Blacklane, Data Artisans, DeepL, DyeMansion, Effect Photonics, Electrochaea, NVision, ORCAM, Quanta, Raisin, SumUp, Volocopter and XING.
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven startups. With EUR 895.5 million in total investment volume across three funds and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge more than 550 startups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and startup experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech startups in a range of sectors, including software, media, internet, hardware, automation, health care, chemistry and life sciences.
About UVC Partners
Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners (UVC Partners) is a Munich- and Berlin-based early-stage venture capital firm that invests in technology-based startups in the areas of industrial technologies, enterprise software and mobility. The fund typically invests between €0.5 – 3m initially and up to €12m in total per company. Portfolio companies benefit from the extensive investment and exit experience of the management team as well as from the close cooperation with UnternehmerTUM, Europe’s leading innovation and business creation center. With over 180 employees and more than 100 industry partners, UnternehmerTUM can draw from many years of experience in establishing young companies. This cooperation enables UVC Partners to offer startups unique access to talent, industry customers, and other financial partners. The portfolio includes investments such as FlixBus, Carjump (Free2Move), KONUX, Blickfeld, 3YOURMIND and Vimcar.
About Hoepfner Bräu
Founded as a brewery in 1798, Hoepfner now concentrates on property development and business angel activities. Hoepfner founded CyberForum, Europe’s leading network for hi-tech startups, and was the first partner of the European Investment Fund in the European Angel Fund (EAF) and produced the first “exit” in Baden-Württemberg pre-seed program, supporting HQS since the end of 2018.
Source: HQS Quantum Simulations