Venture

Zapata Computing Raises $38M As Quantum Computing Nears

Boston-based quantum computing software-maker Zapata Computing closed a $38 million Series B as the promise of the next generation of computing gets closer.

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The new round was led by Comcast Ventures, Pitango and Prelude Ventures, with the support of existing investors BASF Venture Capital, Robert Bosch Venture Capital and The Engine Accelerator Fund, as well as new investors, including Ahren Innovation Capital, Alumni Ventures Group, Honeywell Venture Capital, ITOCHU Corp. and Merck Global Health Innovation Fund.

While the full potential of quantum computing has yet to be realized, Zapata founder and CEO Christopher Savoie said it is only a matter of time before the new computing method–based on the principles of quantum theory and explains the behavior of energy and material on an atomic or subatomic level–is used in fields such as energy, supply chain optimization and any industry using chemistry.

Zapata’s software attempts to allow users to take advantage of advancements in near-term quantum computing, Savoie said. The platform allows enterprises to improve data and compute workflows on current high-performance computers with the capability to eventually move to commercial quantum computing, he added.

“We’ve looked at both software and hardware players in quantum computing,” said Prem Tumkosit, managing director of the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund. “But Zapata can provide near-term and long-term return.”

Zapata started working with customers in 2018 and has several “seven-figure engagements” with companies, Savoie said. The company also is partnering with hardware providers, including IBM, Honeywell and College Park, Maryland-based IonQ to accelerate the adoption of quantum computing.

The company will use its new cash for more research and development on the platform, meeting increased customer demand, and adding to its staff of more than 50 employees, he added.

Quantum computing startups have been attractive to investors this year. In April, it was reported Palo Alto, California-based PsiQuantum had raised $215 million. In June, IonQ announced it had raised a Series B round, bringing the company’s total amount raised to $84 million.

“Quantum computing’s time is happening,” Savoie said.

Zapata has raised more than $64 million since being founded in 2017.

Note: An earlier version of this article contained incorrect information about the amount of funding Zapata raised.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

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