A quantum computing start-up spun out of the University of Cambridge has secured over £3m in seed funding.

Riverlane was founded by Dr Steve Brierley, Senior Research Fellow in Applied Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.

Brierley has over a decade of research experience in quantum information and computation, investigating the theory of quantum systems, architectures for quantum computers and quantum algorithms.

The start-up is now working with leading academics and companies on critical early use cases for its software, such as developing new battery materials and drug treatments.

Riverlane will use its seed funding to demonstrate its technology across a range of quantum computing hardware platforms, focused on early adopters in materials design and drug discovery. It will also expand its team of quantum software researchers and computational physicists.

The round was led by venture capital investors Cambridge Innovation Capital and Amadeus Capital Partners, with the participation of Cambridge Enterprise.

Brierley said the seed funding had come at a critical time for quantum computing.

“Computers are central to the design of many new products but when we try to model systems at the level of individual atoms, the rules that govern their behaviour are fundamentally different.

“Even huge supercomputers are limited to approximations and as a result, the design of new drugs and materials remains primarily a laboratory rather than a computational exercise. Riverlane’s software aims to unleash the huge potential of quantum computers.”

Andrew Williamson, managing partner at investor CIC said: “Riverlane is changing the way we think about computation at the most fundamental level. Founder and CEO Steve Brierley and his team are developing state-of-the-art algorithms that can run on a range of quantum computing hardware platforms.

“These algorithms can be applied to a number of applications such as drug–protein interactions, biomolecule folding and materials science at a molecular level. This is the sort of cutting-edge technology at which Cambridge excels and at CIC we are delighted to be involved with such an exciting company from the outset.”