Oxford Ionics raises £30m with participation from Prosus Ventures

Oxford Ionics raises £30m to unlock the scalability of quantum computers with its world-record-breaking quantum processor technology

  • Oxford Ionics’ processor integrates into semiconductor chips by combining leading qubit technology – trapped ions – with patented Electronic Qubit Control (EQC) technology. 
  • Trapped ions have powered the highest-performing quantum systems to date. Of those systems, Oxford Ionics’ holds multiple world records for quantum gate error rates, quantum coherence times, and quantum networking performance. 
  • The funding was led by Oxford Science Enterprises and Braavos Investment Advisers, with Lansdowne Partners, Prosus Ventures, Torch Partners, Hermann Hauser and 2xN. 
  • It will enable Oxford Ionics to build out its team, which already has 10 PhDs and 130+ peer-reviewed publications between them, and help bring its technology to market.

9th January 2023: Oxford Ionics – the multi-world record-breaking startup solving the critical scalability issues facing the future of quantum computing – has raised £30 million in Series A funding from some of the world’s leading quantum and tech investors. Oxford Science Enterprises and Braavos Investment Advisers led the round. Lansdowne Partners, Prosus Ventures, 2xN, Torch Partners and Hermann Hauser (founder of chip giant ARM) also participated. 

Founded in 2019 by Dr Chris Ballance and Dr Tom Harty, Oxford Ionics takes a unique approach to designing and scaling one of the most promising quantum computing technologies – trapped ions. As multiple technologies vie for position in our race for a quantum future, trapped ions have long proved superior. The highest-performing quantum systems to date have all been powered by trapped ions, and of those systems, Oxford Ionics’ has been shown to outperform the others consistently

In tests, Oxford Ionics’ trapped ion technology holds world records for the highest-performance quantum operations, longest quantum coherence time, and highest-performance quantum network. It has also achieved the highest performance ever demonstrated while using chips manufactured on a semiconductor production line. 

Dr Chris Ballance, the 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. 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.” 

Record-breaking dominance

Oxford Ionics’ record-breaking dominance stems from the firm’s pioneering approach. Until now, trapped ion systems have largely relied on lasers to control qubits. This approach performs well for small processors but becomes untenable and error-prone as the size of the processor scales and the number of qubits increases.

Instead of lasers, Oxford Ionics’ trapped ion processors use a proprietary, patented Electronic Qubit Control (EQC) system to control the qubits. This allows them to combine the unrivalled quantum performance of individual atoms with the scalability and reliability of electronics integrated into silicon chips.

Not only does this approach deliver the highest level of performance possible, but it also does so in a way that makes the Oxford Ionics processors integrable and scalable as standard – a first for any quantum computing technology. The startup has even proven the potential of this approach in a real-world environment via its partnership with semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies AG on its standard production line.

World-record breaking tech

Such is the team’s authority in this space, Dr Chris Ballance’s research into experimental quantum key distribution was cited in the scientific release that accompanied this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics. Today, the Oxford Ionics team is made up of the brightest minds across the quantum sector who, between them, have over 100 years of expertise in this space, 10 PhDs and more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

This team has grown 10-fold over the past three years, and it’s its combination of pioneering vision and deep expertise that has seen it attract some of the leading quantum and tech investors of the past three decades. Before co-founding the quantum-inspired venture capital firm 2xN, investor Niels Nielsen was an early backer and former chairman of Cambridge Quantum. Cambridge Quantum recently merged with Honeywell Quantum Solutions to form Quantinuum, one of the world’s largest integrated quantum computing companies. Fellow Oxford Ionics investor Hermann Hauser founded chip giant ARM and was an early backer of quantum technologies.

This latest funding round will be used to further Oxford Ionics’ expansion with the hiring of people in roles across the company’s functions. From software developers and engineers to designers, scientists and a growing back-office team. Oxford Ionics’ current vacancies can be found here.

Will Goodlad from Oxford Science Enterprises 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. Building on more than a decade at the forefront of this sector, Chris, Tom 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.”

Niels Nielsen, co-founder of 2xN 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. Oxford Ionics’ EQC technology offers a path to bringing the power and potential of trapped ion qubits and integrating it into classical semiconductor processes.”

Oxford Ionics’ latest funding round takes the total raised by the startup to £37 million.


About Prosus:

Prosus is a global consumer internet group and one of the largest technology investors in the world. Operating and investing globally in markets with long-term growth potential, Prosus builds leading consumer internet companies that empower people and enrich communities.

The group is focused on building meaningful businesses in the online classifieds, food delivery, payments and fintech, and education technology sectors in markets including India and Brazil. Through its ventures team, Prosus invests in areas including health, logistics, blockchain, and social commerce. Prosus actively seeks new opportunities to partner with exceptional entrepreneurs who are using technology to improve people’s everyday lives.

Every day, billions of customers use the products and services of companies that Prosus has invested in, acquired or built, including 99minutos,  Airmeet, Aruna, AutoTrader, Autovit.ro, Azos, BandLab, Bibit, Bilt, Biome Makers, Borneo, Brainly, BUX, BYJU'S, Bykea, Captain Fresh, Codecademy, Collective Benefits, Creditas, DappRadar, DeHaat, Detect Technologies, dott, EduMe, ElasticRun, eMAG, Endowus, Eruditus, EVERY, Facily, Flink, Foodics, Good Glamm Group, GoodHabitz, GoStudent, Honor, iFood, Imovirtual, IndiGG, Klar, Kovi, LazyPay, letgo, Luno, Mensa Brands, Meesho, merXu, Movile, Oda, OLX, Otodom, OTOMOTO, Oxford Ionics, PaySense, PayU, Pharmeasy, Platzi, Property24, Quick Ride, Red Dot Payment, Republic, Sharebite, Shipper, ShopUp, SoloLearn, SpotDraft, Stack Overflow, Standvirtual, Spendflow, Superside, Swiggy, Thndr, Tonik, Ula, Urban Company, Vegrow, Virgio, watchTowr, and Wayflyer.

Hundreds of millions of people have made the platforms of Prosus’s associates a part of their daily lives. For listed companies where we have an interest, please see: Tencent, Delivery Hero, Remitly, Trip.com, Udemy, Skillsoft, and SimilarWeb.

Today, Prosus companies and associates help improve the lives of more than two billion people around the world.

Prosus has a primary listing on Euronext Amsterdam (AEX:PRX) and secondary listings on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (XJSE:PRX) and a2X Markets (PRX.AJ). Prosus is majority-owned by Naspers.

For more information, please visit www.prosus.com.

About Prosus

Prosus is a global consumer internet group and one of the largest technology investors in the world. Operating and investing globally in markets with long-term growth potential, Prosus builds leading consumer internet companies that empower people and enrich communities.

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