Today Rigetti Computing closed a deal to acquire Shoal spin-out company, QxBranch. The deal will combine the cloud-based, quantum-classical computing being developed by Rigetti with the quantum software and analytical capabilities of QxBranch to create a ‘full stack’ hardware-to-application-software capability to lead the commercialisation of quantum computing.
Commenting on the acquisition, Shoal and QxBranch founder Shaun Wilson said,
‘Shoal congratulates Rigetti on what we see as the astute acquisition of QxBranch. We are very pleased that the idea that Shoal conceived and incubated, applying application-focused systems engineering to what was, in 2012, embryonic quantum computing technology, has resulted in a robust quantum-enabled analytical capability in QxBranch that is now recognised across many industries. Combining this with Rigetti’s fast-developing quantum computing hardware technology should drive leadership in the commercialisation of quantum computing.
The acquisition of QxBranch by an industry leader like Rigetti is yet another R&D and investment success for Shoal and our backers in Australia and overseas, particularly for our major seed investor, Ramornie Capital. This success gives us the confidence to keep taking risk and investing in new technology in Australia and elsewhere.’
QxBranch was spun-out of Shoal in late 2014 and funded by Ramornie and other significant investors as an independent company. This came after a two-year R&D effort by Shoal directly supported by Lockheed Martin and enabled by Shoal’s extensive experience in complex systems engineering and high-fidelity modelling and simulation. Over the past five years, QxBranch has garnered major brand-name clients world-wide across the finance, insurance, cyber-security, biotech, energy, sports, pharmaceutical, and military research industries. QxBranch has offices in Washington, DC, London and Adelaide, Australia.
In early 2016, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia announced a partnership with QxBranch to develop a quantum computer simulator, modelled on the hardware being developed at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. A year later, the simulator was released for use, allowing Commonwealth Bank staff to design and evaluate software and algorithms concurrently with quantum computing hardware development. In November 2016, QxBranch, in partnership with UBS, was won a major project under the Innovate UK Quantum Technologies Innovation Fund under the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.
Last year, QxBranch partnered with Scandinavian financial services investment house, New Nordic Advisers to launch London-based cyber-risk insurance company, Envelop Risk. The new company combines the analytical capability of QxBranch with deep cyber-risk and insurance industry knowledge. Envelop Risk, which began writing cyber-risk insurance policies late last year, is expected to be a significant disruptor of the business insurance market.