Orange Quantum Systems, a quantum technology startup, has secured €1.5 million in pre-seed funding led by Cottonwood Technology Fund and QDNL Participations.
5 September 2023 – Delft, Netherlands
Orange Quantum Systems [hereafter: Orange QS] operates on the frontier of the rapidly developing quantum industry. As quantum chip development moves from the lab into industrial fabrication facilities (‘fabs’), the ability to test quantum chips becomes even more of a bottleneck than it is today. Currently, testing a small quantum chip requires weeks, using a cryogenic lab facility and a team of dedicated quantum engineers. Testing in an industrial setting only makes the requirements of the cryogenic test environment more stringent, while at the same time demanding much shorter test times per chip.
Orange QS builds quantum chip test equipment to tackle this challenge, providing an easy, affordable and fast alternative to in-house testing solutions that its industry customers would otherwise have to build themselves. This approach is well-known in the semiconductor industry, where companies focus on building test equipment. Doing this for quantum chips, however, requires quantum expertise, which sets Orange QS apart.
“Testing quantum chips is an expensive, slow, and difficult process, because it relies on a high-tech lab environment, manual workflows, and PhD-level operators. If the quantum computing value chain wants to increase the number of high-quality qubits per quantum chip, it will need industry-level foundry processes combined with fast test equipment,” explains Dr. ir. Adriaan Rol, Director Research & Development at Orange QS.
Orange QS supports the emerging quantum chip industry’s transition from ‘lab to fab’ by reducing the test cost per qubit significantly.
The story so far
Orange QS was founded as a spinout from TNO (the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) in 2020, on what turned out to be a significant day for the burgeoning European quantum industry.
“We announced Orange QS in April 2020, on the same day as the launch of the Quantum Inspire, the first publicly accessible quantum computer in Europe. The founders all contributed in different ways to the Quantum Inspire. During the development of the computer, we realized how big a bottleneck it was to test a new quantum chip,” says Garrelt Alberts, Managing Director at Orange QS.
Although this is the company’s first external funding, it already operates commercially in the market for quantum chip R&D tools and has bootstrapped for its first three years through product sales and subsidized projects. In that time, the company has grown to a full-time team of 17, and established its own cryogenic lab facilities.
Earlier this year in Las Vegas, Orange QS launched the Orange Rack for the US quantum chip R&D market; a complete room temperature equipment stack that guarantees automation of quantum chip testing. This automation uses the Quantum Diagnostics Libraries, a suite of proprietary software libraries for automated qubit testing that can also be licensed separate from the Orange Rack.
In addition to the new investment round, Orange QS has secured a grant from the European Innovation Council’s EIC Accelerator this summer.
The new funds will be used to develop Orange QS’ next generation of quantum chip test equipment. They will combine their products built for the R&D market and embed new key innovations. This next generation of equipment will be the first turnkey solution optimized for high-speed qubit testing, targeting the emerging quantum industry market.
“By providing rapid and accurate testing of quantum devices, Orange QS is filling a crucial need for the emerging quantum computing industry. This technology will catalyze many more innovations in the Dutch quantum ecosystem and strengthen the country’s position as a leader in this field. I look forward to propelling this transformative quantum platform forward together,” said Ton van ‘t Noordende, Managing Director of QDNL Participations
“We think Orange QS has chosen a very unique position in the quantum supply chain, and we are very excited that this team is able to be the global winner in quantum diagnostics and testing”, said Alain le Loux, General Partner at Cottonwood Technology Fund.
About Orange QS: Orange QS builds test equipment to test quantum chips. The Dutch company was founded in 2020 as a QuTech spin-off. Located in Delft, the Netherlands, the team has grown to 17 full-time employees and has been delivering software and equipment for R&D into quantum chips for three years. Orange QS has top advisors with experience at ASML and NXP, as well as David DiVincenzo, a distinguished scientist in the field of quantum information. Together with an EIC Accelerator grant and a VC-backed investment round, this allows Orange QS to deliver test equipment to the emerging global quantum industry. Find out more at https://orangeqs.com
About QDNL Participations: Backed by Quantum Delta NL, QDNL Participations will invest €15 million into early-stage Dutch quantum computing startups in the coming years. The QDNL Participations fund provides the bridge between the grant-giving phase of research and the ‘patient capital’ phase of venture investment. QDNL Participations provides impactful business and commercial support to transform potentially great technical ideas into obviously great investable companies, helping brilliant technical minds organize leading talent to bring their ideas into the world for the benefit of humanity. Find out more at https://www.qdnlparticipations.nl
About Cottonwood Technology Fund: Cottonwood Technology Fund is a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage technology companies. The firm has a focus on deep-tech startups in the areas of cleantech, medtech, robotics, photonics, nanotechnology, advanced materials and sensor technology. Cottonwood Technology Fund has offices in the United States and the Netherlands. The investment in Orange Quantum Systems is managed by the Cottonwood Dutch Seed Fund vehicle, which includes financial Dutch government support from RVO.
Current and prior investments include Skorpios Technologies, Sarcos Robotics (NASDAQ: STRC), Exagen (NASDAQ: XGN), BayoTech, Sencure, Infinitum Electric, Flexiramics, FibeRio (acquired by Clarcor), xF Technologies, TriLumina (acquired by Lumentum), SoundEnergy, OPNT, BioFlyte, Circular Genomics, SmartNanotubes Technologies and Reyedar. Visit https://www.cottonwood.vc for more information.