Quantum computing software startup Q-CTRL took home the 2023 Startup Daily Best in Tech Awards’ Most Innovative Startup award, sponsored by Dell for Startups. Here’s why they stood out in one of the event’s most competitive categories.
Q-CTRL has pioneered the quantum infrastructure software segment, and become the leading software company in the quantum sector.
It’s that innovation that impressed the judges at our inaugural Startup Daily Best in Tech Awards, which were held at The Establishment Ballroom in Sydney on September 6.
The software, developed by Sydney University Professor Michael J Biercuk and his team, is designed to improve the utility and performance of quantum hardware by tackling error-correction and suppression in calculations. That application has accelerated the pathway to the first useful quantum computers and quantum sensors in sectors such as sectors like finance, pharma, materials science and logistics, as well as defence.
Q-CTRL has also developed Black Opal, an edtech platform that enables users to quickly learn quantum computing.
Founded in 2017, Q-CTRL was Australia’s first venture-backed quantum tech startup.
It’s posted an impressive run of achievements and traction over the last 18 months, raising more than $42 million in funding, including from Salesforce Ventures. Former Wallabies captain John Eales is also an investor.
The company also landed a deal to deliver quantum sensing navigational technology for Australian Defence and AUKUS partners. Both Q-CRTL’s quantum sensing and quantum computing divisions signed multiple multi-million-dollar contracts with the public sector this year.
It also forged a partnership with hardware manufacturer Oxford Quantum Circuits and opened four new offices including its Sydney headquarters and others in the UK, Los Angeles and Berlin, with the team growing by 40 per cent of the past year to more than 100 people.
Founder and CEO Michael J Biercuk confessed to Startup Daily on the awards night that he hadn’t taken a holiday in 11 years and wished there were more hours in the day to achieve their goals.
“We want nothing less than to bring in the next computing revolution,” he said.
“If you look back, 30, 50, 70 years at how much the world has changed because of computing.
“We want to do the same thing with this totally new quantum technology. We want to make all of it work, and do it from our headquarters here in Sydney.”
Prof Biercuk said he was grateful for the recognition from Startup Daily and the judges for Most Innovative Startup.
“As a young tech startup, everyone at Q-CTRL is working really hard to deliver huge commercial and strategic advantages for Australia and its allies,” he said.
“We’ve assembled the best team in the world, drawing on Australia’s exceptional history as a research powerhouse in quantum computing. It’s thrilling that we’ve been able to build a business around our globally unique technology which is recognised not just in quantum technology circles, but across the broader tech ecosystem.”
Q-CTRL became an inaugural member of the IBM Quantum Network startup program since 2018, and its performance management software now runs natively on IBM quantum computers.
Prof Biercuk said there are more “very exciting things coming a little bit later in the year” but for now he’s going to “keep quiet for the moment”.
The Most Innovative Startup award recognises a startup that is changing the world for the better with their bold ideas. The other finalists in Q-CTRL’s category were:
- Hysata. Hysata is accelerating the world’s shift away from fossil fuels to green hydrogen by delivering the world’s most efficient, simple and reliable electrolyser. Hysata took home Startup of The Year.
- MGA Thermal. MGA Thermal is making 24/7 renewable energy a reality with a new form of energy storage for grid and industrial use.
This article is brought to you by Startup Daily, with the support of Dell Technologies.