Quantum technology company IQM Finland exports Finnish deep tech expertise with the help of Business Finland
IQM Finland, a Finnish manufacturer of quantum computer chips located in Mankkaa, Espoo, makes the impossible possible. In just a few years, the largest manufacturer of superconducting quantum computers in Europe has risen to the forefront of international quantum companies. IQM Finland has been a customer of Business Finland since the company was founded in 2018.
Case study 22.8.2022
IQM was recently granted the EU's Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) funding, which the company intends to use to develop a next-generation quantum computer for the commercialization phase.
IQM Finland is one of the few quantum companies that has been able to deliver a quantum computer to a customer's own premises. Finland's first quantum computer was built in cooperation between IQM and VTT, which was prominently covered in the media in November 2021. The 5-qubit quantum computer is a proof of Finnish expertise in building quantum computers and ensures Finland's position at the forefront of quantum technology.
Within the field of quantum computers, this development work means building a 50-qubit computer and a technological capability of up to 1.000 qubits. After this, the technology will have to take a leap that is still unknown even to IQM. In addition, large amounts of qubits require a programming language and algorithms of their own, and these algorithms are still greatly unknown. So there is plenty to explore.
The potential of quantum technology is enormous
With their unprecedented computing power, quantum computers are able to solve problems that are impossible for today's computers. Their potential in combating climate change, for example, is enormous. However, quantum technology requires a step by step approach.
– The quantum industry is still very new, and it will take several years of development until the first quantum computers can be put into practice. It has been great to support a deep tech company like IQM in its world conquest from its earliest days, says Account Lead Aki Ylönen from Business Finland.
In the past, IQM has received EUR 3.3 million funding from Business Finland, EUR 2.5 million funding from the EIC Accelerator program and capital funding of EUR 15 million for the actual commercialization phase. The funding was used to start up the company and the research activities, to recruit researchers and international experts, and to support the launch of the first production line.
In total, IQM has raised a total of EUR 105 million in funding from venture capitalists and other investors for the development of quantum computers.
A red-hot sector – IQM Finland has raised over EUR 100 million in funding
– Business Finland's funding played an important role during the startup phase. Governments already support the development of quantum technology with billions of euros in countries such as the United States and China. The role of venture capitalists will grow during the financing of the growth phase, says Juha Vartiainen, one of the founders of IQM and the company's chief operating officer, who also has a PhD in quantum computing.
Quantum technology could be used to address climate change
Quantum computation is fundamentally different from any technology developed for computation to date. Quantum computing is an area of quantum technology, with a particular focus on IT applications and the development of a quantum computer.
– High computing power is needed, for example, in the optimization of artificial intelligence and in molecular modeling. One of the major applications of quantum computation is a better understanding of certain naturally occurring chemical reactions, which would be of enormous importance in global food production, for example. The topic is red hot right now, says Vartiainen.
A good example of this is the production of fertilizers, which accounts for 2% of the world's energy consumption and 1.2% of CO2 emissions. Manufacturing completely new kinds of fertilizers would revolutionize the fertilizer market and cut emissions to almost zero.
To mention other examples, quantum computing could be used to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, design flight routes and determine the supply routes of large transport companies, improve the aerodynamics of aircraft and cars, develop forms of renewable energy production, such as wind power and fusion energy, and conduct battery research. The list is almost endless.
Quantum computing has an endless range of applications
A quantum campaign to boost the industry
Finland is investing extensively in other operators, besides IQM, and it is also building a quantum ecosystem. Business Finland is currently preparing a Quantum Computing campaign to accelerate the growth and internationalization of the Finnish quantum ecosystem. In particular, the aim is to fund the development and deployment of the necessary software stack and to support companies' experiments and demonstrations to solve major problems through quantum computing.
Photos: IQM Finland
- IQM Finland Oy was founded in 2018 as a spin-off between VTT and Aalto University
- Manufactures quantum computer chips in Espoo, where its head office is also located
- Has sold and built two 5-qubit quantum computers located in the customer's premises
- Designs software in addition to quantum computers
- Employs around 120 people
- RRF funding and funding from Business Finland and capital investments