2020 – The year of Quantum
The world came to a standstill in 2020, but the Quantum story continued to accelerate. IQM became one of the fastest-growing companies in the quantum computing sector.
We ended 2020 with an international team of 50+ quantum engineers and the number of employees in total is 80+ working in Espoo, Finland, and Munich, Germany.
IQM has secured over €71M of funding from private investors and public entities.
IQM highlights of 2020
IQM hit several significant milestones which was also covered in global media. IQM was featured in dozens of articles all over the world during 2020. A quick recap of these milestones include:
- In March 2020, we started our Germany operations and established a subsidiary in Munich. One of our key technical goals with this move is to create a co-design hub for intertwining the hardware and software development in order to target specific industry applications. We are also looking forward to collaborating closely with the German ecosystem of quantum experts including academia, research, startups and industry.
- In June 2020, we were awarded a €2.5M grant and up to €15M of equity investment for our Series A round from the EIC Accelerator program, for the development of quantum computers benefiting the industry and the society at large. We also unveiled our first quantum computer design.
- In June 2020, we announced the formation of a partnership with Atos and CSC – IT Center for Science to create the first comprehensive 100% European quantum ecosystem which includes a simulator, universal programming environment and the quantum hardware. The partnership aims to accelerate the commercialization of European quantum technologies.
- In September 2020, IQM staff published a quantum computer breakthrough in Nature about a new high-speed nanoscale radiation detector which is now on par with the best quantum computer readers. Many IQM employees co-authored the research carried out at Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
- In November 2020, we announced raising €39M in Series A funding, bringing the total amount of funding raised to date to €71M. This ranked among the highest fundraising rounds by a European deep-tech startup within a year.
- In November 2020, Finland selects IQM to build its first quantum computer; to deliver a 50-qubit machine by 2024. IQM and VTT entered into an agreement to establish a co-innovation partnership and the government of Finland granted the project €20,7M funding.
- In November 2020, our CEO Jan Goetz was featured in Germany’s “40 under 40”.
- In November-December 2020, IQM Co-founder Prof. Mikko Möttönen receives the prestigious Nokia Foundation award and the Väisälä prize 2020.
Quantum computing has started to gain strong interest from governments and national authorities, institutions, business leaders and private equity worldwide, and the year 2020 was an exceptional year for all related quantum in this regard.
After Google’s late 2019 quantum related article in the scientific journal Nature, and the following media coverage, things started to move very fast. The potential of the second quantum revolution with scientists efficiently controlling quantum effects, and ultimately bringing quantum computing to life, was rising to the limelight.
The swift technological advances of today and the great potential of quantum computing are the reasons why every major industry and leading organization has started to invest in quantum computing and build the critical quantum competencies.
A level playing field
Quantum computing does have an extremely high barrier of entry though, and there is a tremendous shortage for top-tier talent mostly consisting of postdoctoral scientists and quantum engineers. Also, the competition over this expertise can be fierce in the coming years.
Even though this rapidly emerging new industry is based on exceedingly complicated science and engineering, it is important to realize that it is nonetheless a level playing field for anyone, and not just for the top corporations and economies of the world. In this respect, we might start to see surprises and fundamental shifts in the concentration of knowledge and skills in the upcoming years.
Global competition over quantum leadership will become ever more important in the coming years, and the EU has a great standing in this regard so far.
Opportunity for the EU nation states
Today, there is a growing number of companies and institutions dipping their toes in quantum computing by forming collaborations and partnerships between quantum startups and academia as they make their transition out of research into the industry.
It is estimated that Europe has approximately 69 quantum computing related startups founded since the year 2010 1, whereas in the United States the number is 53 currently 2. Perhaps this difference can be explained by the quality of the European academic research on quantum technologies. Also, according to a study 3, most of the scientific research papers on quantum physics have come from Europe.
The strong commitment to fundamental scientific research and engineering in Europe has many times proven to successfully bear fruit. The cooperation between the research and commercial industries has yielded supersonic commercial airplanes, bullet trains and the massive EU-lead international collaboration to build the world’s largest and highest-energy particle collider, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
If the EU can also decisively build, for instance a significant global aerospace pioneer Airbus, similar great cooperation between the research and commercial industries could be applied to build quantum computers as well. It is an opportunity for the EU nation states to collaborate, move faster and eventually be more successful together, and thus ensure access to this important new technology in the field of quantum computing.
1 EU: Alex Kiltz, The European Quantum Computing Startup Landscape:
2 USA: Tracxn, Quantum Computing Startups in United States:
3 Quantum Technologies Flagship High-level Steering Committee, Quantum Technologies Flagship Final Report:
Technologies that revolutionize the world
IQM is helping companies and organizations to develop a strong capability in quantum computing. We have a unique way of utilizing design thinking in our approach to quantum leadership.
Our creative approach is to bring application-specific problem solving to a multitude of industries by also understanding the industry problems in a profound way. Through combining hardware and software design in developing quantum processors, we can bring application-specific capabilities to our clients.
This approach is one of a kind as it offers entirely new avenues for health care, machine learning, financial modeling, materials science, and chemistry, and it has the potential to massively speed up discoveries and breakthroughs in science and engineering.
Quantum computing is more and more regarded as a disruptive technology, one that holds a great promise of revolutionizing many industries and bring well-being to each one of us.
The way ahead
We continue to build world-leading quantum computers for the well-being of humankind, now and for the future. And in this quest, we continue to bring together people with extraordinary ambition and talent.
Working at IQM means that you can work on the hardest challenges that we currently have in the world. You also collaborate with global scientific communities and have the freedom to truly change the world.
When we are creating something so unique, there are no crazy ideas, no limits, just sparkles of innovation.
This year, let’s discover the next breakthroughs together!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Henrikki Mäkynen is an experienced marketer and an entrepreneurial driven pragmatist. With over 15-years’ of experience, Henrikki is keen on inventing new products, designing digital services, building companies and investing in private equity.
Currently, Henrikki is helping IQM on its mission to build quantum computers for the well-being of humankind, now and for the future.