Netherlands-based Quantum Delta NL, the public-private foundation, has unveiled a €2M micro fund called ‘LightSpeed Fund 1’ which will focus on supporting early stage quantum startups.
According to the foundation, the fund is part of Quantum Delta NL’s strategic roadmap to increase the number of successful quantum startups in the Netherlands. Currently, there are seven quantum startups in the Netherlands, and Quantum Delta NL expects the number to increase to 100 by 2027.
In June, Quantum Delta NL launched LightSpeed, a programme that connects Dutch quantum startups in all phases, wherein the startups receive tailored assistance and guidance to increase their businesses and optimise their attractiveness to top-tier investors. For LightSpeed, European and American funds were brought in to support startups.
LightSpeed Fund 1
Besides the launch of the micro fund, Quantum Delta NL has decided to award pre-seed tickets amounting to €50,000 each to early-stage startups in the field of quantum technology.
The company further mentions in a statement that LightSpeed adopts a straightforward, founder-friendly approach and fills the gap in the earliest stage for quantum technology startups: the SAFE note (Simple Agreement for Future Equity).
This approach gives startups more flexibility that is a very much needed aspect in the earliest stages of startups in the quantum technology space as development timelines and road to profitability goes beyond classic startups.
According to Quantum Delta NL, the investment need not be repaid, as with a traditional convertible loan or note, if a startup fails to advance.
Quantum Delta NL has currently allocated €2M for the pre-seed tickets and plans to award five to 15 tickets in fiscal year 2021/2022 and 35 to 40 tickets over the total period. The company plans to further increase the budget after Phase 1 of the National Growth Fund Programme is underway.
Meet the quantum startups
Delft-based startup and participant in the LightSpeed programme, QuantWare, was the first to tap into the microfund as part of a larger investment round. QuantWare is a spinout of QuTech and part of the Quantum Delft ecosystem which develops high-performance quantum processors.
Alessandro Bruno, Director of Engineering at QuantWare, says, “The support from this fund and LightSpeed will allow us to bring our quantum processors to market. In doing so, we are making quantum accessible to more parties. In this way, we can make a crucial contribution that allows the Dutch quantum ecosystem to build on its current lead.”
Delft, Netherlands-based quantum tech company QphoX which recently raised €2M, has also been backed by LightSpeed.
Plans and ambitions
Quantum Delta NL is the public-private partnership of global tech companies, government agencies, and all major quantum research centres in the Netherlands.
Earlier this year, in April, was awarded €615M from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy to power the advancement of quantum technology.
According to McKinsey, the programme will lead to a contribution to the gross domestic product of €5B to €7B and 30,000 high-quality jobs in the Netherlands.
This programme fuels the further development of the first European quantum computer and a quantum internet which is mainly accessible to end users in business and social sectors, including education.
Freeke Heijman, director Quantum Delta NL, says, “We want the knowledge from the scientific labs to lead to new businesses in the Netherlands and Europe. With LightSpeed and this fund, promising initiatives will get an unprecedented acceleration to scale up their idea to a startup or scale-up.”