An early investor in Google, Uber and Snapchat has backed a UK-based quantum computing startup in one of the largest funding rounds the emerging industry has ever seen. Cambridge Quantum Computing Limited (CQCL) will receive up to $50m (£32m) over the next three years from Grupo Arcano, a global investor founded by Alberto Chang Rajii.

"We are excited and very pleased to become investors into Cambridge Quantum Computing," Grupo Arcano stated. "In agreeing to invest up to $50m in the course of the next two to three years, we will be supporting cutting edge development in a sector that has the potential for real global impact."

What is quantum computing?

Quantum computers replace traditional bits that are used in digital communications with quantum bits, or qubits. Potential applications can be found in a variety of fields, from medicine to space travel.

Qubits exist in a state of superposition, meaning they can be in both states at once (zero and one), rather than being restricted to a single binary state in the way traditional computers function.


Earlier this year, CQCL unveiled the first operating system that can be used with quantum computers, signalling a significant step towards creating a practical version of the ultra powerful machines. Quantum computers have been widely touted as holding revolutionary potential in a variety of fields due to their immense processing power.

It is hoped that CQCL's t|ket> operating system will aid the commercialisation of the nascent technology by allowing users to control what operations a quantum computer can perform.

Governments, companies and organisations are currently developing the technology in the belief that it could be the future of computing, capable of sating the world's ever-growing technological appetite.

The CIA, Google and NASA have all set up labs to explore the nascent technology, while earlier this year the UK government outlined a £270m strategy into quantum technology growth through the UK National Quantum Technology Programme.

"Quantum computing has developed rapidly in the past 24 months, and we intend to build on our existing position by accelerating the further development of t|ket>, our operating system, as well as enhancing our activity around platforms that can be used to create a quantum processor," CQCL said in a statement.

"During the past six months in particular there have been almost weekly announcements about advances in a whole variety of areas that merely skim the surface of progress in key engineering processes."