Bleximo Corp., a startup that is bringing quantum computing from the research lab to industry, has announced the close of a $1.5 million seed round. Eniac Ventures led the investment, with participation from Boost VC, Creative Ventures, KEC Ventures, and Gyan Kapur. Alexei Marchenkov, a Cohort Four Cyclotron Road fellow and a leading quantum expert, founded Bleximo in 2017.
Bleximo is focused on solving high-value business, engineering, and scientific problems that are impractical or impossible to solve on conventional digital computers alone. It will use the funds to build scalable prototypes of superconducting quantum processors with application-specific architectures.
“Hardware innovation is always challenging, but conceptualizing and building quantum computers? That’s mind-boggling-hard,” said Ilan Gur, executive director of Cyclotron Road. “There are only a handful of people in the world with the cross-discipline technical capabilities to do this, and even fewer with the entrepreneurial drive to make it happen. Alexei is a world-class quantum physicist who understands hardware and is 100% focused on advancing his tech to solve practical industry problems and change the world—we are very proud to support him as a Cyclotron Road fellow."
Modern high-performance computing is often done on general-purpose digital processors, but specialized ones, such as graphics processing units (GPUs) or tensor processing units (TPUs), do some tasks substantially faster. A similar paradigm for solving problems using the current level of quantum technology, dubbed noisy intermediate scale quantum (NISQ), is a hybrid quantum-classical approach, where quantum co-processors complement high-performance computing systems to run algorithms that require huge computational resources.
Bleximo combines general purpose processors and NISQ application-specific quantum coprocessors, which it calls quantum accelerators, to build systems for specific business and engineering domains. Its initial focus is to speed up simulations of new materials and molecules for drug development, but the underlying technology is almost directly applicable to optimization and machine learning problems in many industries, including energy, finance, e-commerce, manufacturing, and security.
Marchenkov says being embedded at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and within the UC Berkeley research ecosystem, with its tremendous facilities and scientific and engineering expertise, puts Bleximo on a fast track to reaching its goals and will amplify the impact of this seed round.
“As big data problems such as AI, drug discovery, cryptography and others grow in complexity, quantum computing will play a key role in unlocking these technologies and markets,” said Vic Singh, founding general partner at Eniac Ventures. “At Eniac, we believe general quantum computing is still far away, but Bleximo’s approach of building vertical quantum computing architecture will bring this nascent technology to the mainstream in a more practical way—much like vertical AI is here today before general AI. We are excited to support founder Alexei Marchenkov, a recognized expert in quantum computing, and the Bleximo team to help build this reality.”
Eniac Ventures specializes in seed, startup, and early venture investments.
TechCrunch reporter Frederic Lardinois broke news of the funding on September 25th, noting that should a market emerge for the type of specialized quantum co-processors Marchenkov is developing, Bleximo is well-positioned to capitalize on it.
“We are incredibly inspired by the support from Eniac Ventures as well as the participating funds,” said Alexei Marchenkov. “Taming quantum effects to do useful calculations is a hard challenge, but Bleximo’s team firmly believes that only hard problems are worth working on.”