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ARM founder helps raise £30m for quantum computing start-up

Chris Ballance Oxford Ionics.jpg

Oxford Ionics, which is developing proprietary electronics for quantum computing, has raised £30 million in Series A funding.

The company’s new funders include Hermann Hauser, founder of chip company ARM, and the round was led by Oxford Science Enterprises and Braavos Investment Advisers.

Dr Chris Ballance (pictured), co-founder of Oxford Ionics, said: “If we’re to identify and unlock the true power and potential of quantum computing we need to crack the critical issues that are holding it back – scalability, integration and performance. Our unique trapped-ion approach has been developed to address all three.”

Their processor integrates into semiconductor chips by combining leading qubit technology – trapped ions – with patented electronic qubit control (EQC) technology.

The company had already raised £10 million when Capacity interviewed Ballance in July 2022. Then he said: “I expect the first customers will offer cloud access.” He said that early applications will be in financial markets, and that Oxford Ionics is working with a data centre company that he would not name. “We have a few select partnerships with customers.”

Today the company said the Oxford Ionics processor can be integrated into any semiconductor chip, meaning that any of the current semiconductor fabs around the world could manufacture Oxford Ionics chip, at scale, instantly.

Ballance said today: “At Oxford Ionics, we’re focused on building technologies that will help quantum computing finish the race, not just take small, incremental steps. Our latest round of funding, and the knowledge, insight and expertise of our new investors bring us even closer to this goal.”

The company said this latest funding round will be used to further its expansion with the hiring of people in roles across the company’s functions. It is looking for software developers and engineers to designers, scientists and a growing back-office team.

Will Goodlad, principal at Oxford Science Enterprises, one of the investors, said: “Through its unique approach, developed by some of the world’s best minds in the quantum space, Oxford Ionics is laying the foundations to finally make quantum computing a scalable, integrable and viable option.”

Niels Nielsen, co-founder of 2xN, another investor in the Series A round, said: “Quantum computing opens up the next frontier in computing power for many industries, yet getting there requires the development of qubit technologies that can be built at a massive scale. All without sacrificing power, and while keeping error levels to a minimum.”

Goodlad added: “Building on more than a decade at the forefront of this sector, Chris, Tom [Harty, co-founder with Ballance] and the team have been able to demonstrate, time and again, that their work in the lab can, and will, extend to the real world and we’re thrilled to be joining them on this journey.”

Ballance and Harty are both physics graduates and PhDs from Oxford University. They set up Oxford Ionics in March 2019.