Quantum startup Q-CTRL lands $39 million in Series B top up led by Salesforce Ventures

- February 1, 2023 3 MIN READ
Q-CTR founder Michael Biercuk
Q-CTR founder Michael Biercuk
  • Salesforce Ventures becomes new investor
  • Wallabies legend John Eales also backed Q-CTRL
  • A record A$74m was raised in the Series B
Sydney quantum software startup QCTRL has raised US$27.4 million (A$39m) in an extension of its Series B

Several new investors joined QCTRL’s cap table, including Salesforce Ventures, the VC arm of the US software giant. Other new investors include Alumni Ventures, ICM Allectus, Mindrock Capital, former General Dynamics Vice President Bill Lightfoot, and World Cup-winning former Wallabies captain John Eales.

Existing backers Airbus Ventures, Data Collective, Horizons, Main Sequence and Ridgeline Partners also participated.

Q–CTRL raised US$25 million (A$35m) in the first tranche of its Series B 14 months ago, led by Silicon Valley-based Airbus, taking the total in the round to $74 million, the largest among quantum software companies, according to Pitchbook data. Local VC Square Peg led 2019’s $22 million Series A.

The Salesforce Ventures backing comes as the company cuts 10% of its workforce, shutting its Sydney office and making its head of Australia, Mike Ferrari, redundant.The VC is now managing its Australian investment portfolio of 17 startups from its US headquarters.

Salesforce Ventures managing director Robert Keith said Q-CTRL’s technology “stands head-and-shoulders above the rest of the industry” in tackling the most foundational challenge in quantum computing.

“Q-CTRL’s products are essential for enterprise adoption of quantum computing, and their use of AI is delivering critical insights across hardware platforms that no one else can match,” he said.

“With their additional leadership in pioneering quantum sensors, we came to see Q-CTRL as one of the most consequential businesses in the sector for their ability to deliver value through quantum technology.”

Sydney University Professor Michael J. Biercuk founded Q-CTRL in 2017, pioneering the quantum infrastructure software segment. The startup’s quantum control infrastructure software for R&D professionals and quantum computing end users delivers the highest performance error-correcting and suppressing techniques globally, and provides a unique capability accelerating the pathway to the first useful quantum computers and quantum sensors.

Q-CTRL also built the world’s leading edtech platform for quantum computing, Black Opal, which can help anyone go from zero to programming real quantum computers in minutes a day.

Team grows 50%

Professor Biercuk plans to use the funding to double down on its technology and product engineering and invest in sales and marketing capacity. He hopes to build the team from 80 to around 120 this year, with offices in Sydney, Los Angeles and Berlin.

Q-CTRL has over 8,000 users, generating more than $15 million in bookings between its quantum computing and quantum sensing divisions in 2022. It counts Xerox PARC, Capgemini, and Transport for NSW among its customers.

“Our technical and product achievements are exceptional, and it’s thrilling to see such broad adoption of our products from some of the largest and most important technical and enterprise customers,” Biercuk said.

“With the world’s largest team of experts in quantum control and error suppression, we’ve established ourselves as the leading provider of some of the most important technology in this sector. Today’s additional validation from the investor community – especially while capital raises have been difficult to assemble – is a huge boost for our mission and ambition to truly make quantum technology useful.”

Biercuk explained that quantum computers promise huge strategic benefits to enterprise users struggling with difficult computational challenges, from finance to pharmaceuticals.

“However, quantum computers are unable to deliver on their promise because the hardware is susceptible to error and instability, making this the Achilles Heel of the field.,” he said.

“Q-CTRL has developed a unique technology that improves quantum hardware utility and performance by addressing the existential problem of hardware error.”

IDC, the US global market intelligence firm, analysed Q-CTRL’s emphasis on expanding performance and utility without the need to invest heavily in understanding new, complex software.

IDC Research Manager Heather West said hiring teams of specialists can be risky and expensive.

“Q-CTRL’s frictionless quantum infrastructure software has a shallow learning curve and allows CIOs and CTOs to become quantum ready today reducing enterprise risk,” she said.

“Q-CTRL anticipates that with its software, enterprises will be able to leverage the skills of their current IT developers to easily develop, optimize, and execute quantum algorithms, and obtain high levels of performance on any given hardware at a low net cost.”To learn more about Q-CTRL, please visit: