Karlsruhe, Germany — HQS Quantum Simulations enables chemical and materials scientists with quantum chemical and advanced materials simulations using mid-term NISQ processors. UVC Partners, HTGF and btov lead the seed funding round.
From the development of more powerful batteries to highly efficient solar cells, the search for new materials with specifically predefined properties is crucial. Until now, our ability to develop new materials using simulation tools has been limited by the lack of sufficient computing power. The development of new materials requires an understanding of material properties at the atomic level, where the laws of physics are governed by quantum mechanics. Even supercomputing centers can solve, at most, tiny quantum problems. However, with the advent of quantum computing, our ability to develop entirely new materials will change dramatically.
HQS provides the software to facilitate the coming revolution in computer-aided materials design. HQS is a spin-off of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and offers software for quantum computers. It was founded in 2017 by Dr. Iris Schwenk, Dr. Sebastian Zanker, Dr. Jan Reiner and Dr. Michael Marthaler.
The four founders had worked together at KIT for four years and then took the step of closing the gap between science and industry. Originally backed by angel investors Friedrich Hoepfner and Manfred Ziegler, HQS has now closed a seed round of €2.3 million with experienced deep tech investors UVC Partners, HTGF and btov.
“At HQS, we drive innovation by bringing together a group of outstanding scientists from physics, chemistry and quantum information in a work environment that combines creativity with a clear focus on product development,” says COO Iris Schwenk. HQS is looking to significantly expand its team in the coming quarters and invites top talent with expertise to apply.
“HQS’ broad expertise in quantum decoherence, noisy quantum gates, and solid-state physics makes them ideally suited to transfer quantum chemical and advanced materials simulations to mid-term NISQ processors. We look forward to when these simulations eventually lead to superior results that realize a quantum advantage,” says Christian Reitberger of the btov Industrial Technologies team.
HQS has well-established collaborations with BASF, Bosch and Merck. These collaborations link the chemical industry, which has been very successful in Germany for more than a century, with a highly innovative field of the future. Quantum computing can massively increase the speed of materials development, making it a critical technology for the chemical industry.
“HQS’ proximity to strong innovative companies in the chemical industry has been of great benefit. It has allowed us to develop our products with a clear view of what our customers actually need. We are very pleased that our development is now supported by three investors who have the patience needed for a complex field like quantum computing,” says CEO Michael Marthaler.
“The team at HQS combines leading technical and business skills, making them well positioned to make quantum computing accessible to their industrial customers,” said Benjamin Erhart, partner at UVC Partners.
Yann Fiebig, Senior Investment Manager at HTGF adds: “The developments in quantum computing over the last few years open up unimagined opportunities in a wide range of industries. With this strong investor consortium, HQS has found the right partners to open up quantum simulations entrepreneurially.”
About HQS Quantum Simulations
HQS Quantum Simulations predicts material properties using quantum computers. We accelerate development cycles in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Quantum computers can perform calculations impossible for even the most powerful supercomputers. Current quantum computers suffer from intrinsic faults that limit their performance. At HQS, we develop algorithms for quantum computers that can deal with these errors and enable our customers to benefit from the performance advantage of quantum computers earlier than their competitors. In addition, we offer customized simulation solutions for conventional computers with an integration of high-end simulation methods and the possibility to use the upcoming quantum computers.
About btov Partners
btov Partners, founded in 2000, is a European venture capital firm founded and funded by serial entrepreneurs and business angels, focusing on industrial technologies and digital leaders in the European economy. The company manages an investment volume of 420 million euros and reviews over 3,000 investment opportunities annually. The btov Industrial Technologies team supports industrially relevant companies ranging from hardware companies with embedded software to application and infrastructure software providers for various industry segments. The focus is on robotics & autonomous vehicles, industry 4.0 and industrial IoT, cyber-physical security, electronics & photonics, additive manufacturing, energy conversion and storage, and medical and quantum technologies. Past investments include Blacklane, Data Artisans, DeepL, Dyemansion, Effect Photonics, Electrochaea, ORCAM, Quanta, Raisin, SumUp, Volocopter and XING. For more information, visit www.btov.vc/industrial-technologies.
About Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners
Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners (UVC Partners) is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests specifically in technology-based startups in the Industrial Technologies, Enterprise Software and Mobility sectors. Per investment round € 0.5 — 3 million are invested and in successful investments up to € 12 million in total.
Portfolio companies benefit from the extensive investment and exit experience of the management team and from the close cooperation with UnternehmerTUM, Europe’s leading innovation and start-up center. With its more than 180 employees and more than 100 industry partners, UnternehmerTUM has many years of experience in building young companies. Through the partnership, UVC Partners can offer startups unique access to talent, customers and partners. The portfolio includes investments such as FlixBus, Carjump (Free2Move), KONUX, Blickfeld, 3YOURMIND and Vimcar.
About Hoepfner Bräu
Founded in 1798 as a home brewery, Hoepfner Bräu now works as a developer of high-end real estate and as a business angel for hi-tech startups. Hoepfner founded CyberForum, now Europe’s leading network for hi-tech startups, and was the first European Investment Fund partner at the European Angel Fund (EAF). Hoepfner has been supporting HQS since the end of 2018. https://hoepfner-braeu.de/hoepfner-strategie/beteiligungen/
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
The seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) finances technology startups with growth potential. With a total volume of EUR 895.5 million distributed across three funds and an international partner network, HTGF has already supported more than 550 startups since 2005. His team of experienced investment managers and startup experts supports the young companies with know-how, entrepreneurial spirit and passion. The focus is on high-tech start-ups in the software, media and Internet sectors, as well as hardware, automation, healthcare, chemicals and life sciences. More than EUR 2 billion in capital has been invested in the HTGF portfolio by external investors in more than 1,400 follow-on financing rounds to date. The fund has also successfully sold shares in more than 100 companies.
Investors in the public-private partnership include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, KfW Capital, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the business enterprises ALTANA, BASF, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, B.Braun, Robert Bosch, BÜFA, CEWE, Deutsche Post DHL, Dräger, Drillisch AG, EVONIK, EWE AG, FOND OF, Haniel, Hettich, Knauf, Körber, LANXESS, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT, Postbank, QIAGEN, RWE Generation SE, SAP, Schufa, Schwarz Gruppe, STIHL, Thüga, Vector Informatik, WACKER and Wilh. Werhahn KG.