Strangeworks, an Austin-based quantum computing software company, closed a $4 million seed round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Additional investors include Ecliptic Capital, GreatPoint Ventures, Lux Capital, BoxGroup and Amplify Partners. Three individuals participated in the round: Bob Beauchamp, chairman of the board of BMC Software; Charles Stonehill, chairman of the board of Julius Baer Group AG and board member of AXA Equitable Holdings Inc.; and Jon Soberg, who led the seed round in the previous company led by Strangeworks founder and CEO William Hurley, Honest Dollar, which was acquired by Goldman Sachs.
Strangeworks was founded with the goal of humanizing and delivering quantum computing, in addition to other revolutionary unconventional computing frameworks, to stakeholders in a variety of industries.
Strangeworks will design and deliver tools for software developers and researchers, and systems management infrastructure for IT administrators and CIOs.
At launch Strangeworks will focus on providing quantum tools to four industry verticals: aerospace, energy, finance and pharmaceuticals. The company will initially debut a subscription service to its developer and system management tools via the Strangeworks unconventional computing platform. William Hurley, who is known as whurley, is joined by Justin Youens, David Cardona, and several additional members of the original Honest Dollar team.
“I’ve been working with whurley and the Strangeworks team for several months now, and I’m confident that their approach to building a business around quantum and other forms of unconventional computing is the most audacious and forward-thinking I’ve seen,” said Adam Goldberg, partner at Lightspeed. “Strangeworks has enormous potential and I’m excited that Lightspeed has partnered with such an accomplished team.”
“We are at the dawn of the commercial quantum era, and by combining an experienced team with a smart go to market approach, Strangeworks is well positioned to lead in this fast-growing industry,” said Ray Lane, managing partner, GreatPoint Ventures. “Our investment in whurley and his team expresses our confidence in their leadership of this nascent industry.”
“I led the seed round in Honest Dollar, which has brought retirement products to a grossly underserved market and is thriving at Goldman Sachs after the very good exit,” said Jon Soberg. “Strangeworks is doing something similar by making a rare and valuable resource – quantum computing in this case – available to more people who can benefit from it. I’m proud and excited to work with whurley, Justin, David, and the team again.”
Strangeworks has already cemented partnerships with leaders in the quantum computing industry, including a role in the IBM Q Network, a worldwide community dedicated to advancing quantum computing. The team has also partnered with Stack Overflow to build the best of breed quantum community by changing the stigma that quantum computing is unwelcoming. Together, they launched Quantum Computing Stack Exchange, a question and answer site for engineers, scientists, programmers, and computing professionals interested in quantum.
As part of Strangeworks’ mission to bring quantum computing to all, the company is leading the IEEE’s Quantum Computing Standards Workgroup to develop the world’s first quantum computing standards for nomenclature (PAR 7130) and performance benchmark testing (PAR 7131).
Strangeworks has also partnered with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to create the CERN Entrepreneurship Student Programme (CESP). This program will send ten Master’s students from across the globe for a five-week residency at CERN this summer, with the goal of cultivating a culture of entrepreneurship and to nurture a younger generation of high-tech entrepreneurs.