CQT spin-off for space-based quantum communications, SpeQtral, announces seed funding

The company has raised 1.9 million US dollars from international and SG-based investors
30 April 2019

SpeQtral launches with a team of six, five of whom are linked to the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore. Pictured from left to right are Lum Chune Yang, Robert Bedington, David Mitlyng, Antia Lamas-Linares, Alex Lohrmann and Tom Vergoossen.

SpeQtral, a spin-off from the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore, has announced seed funding from US and Singapore-based investors totaling US$1.9 million (about S$2.6 million). The company is developing space-based quantum communication systems: using small satellites, it aims to deliver encryption keys via quantum signals.This quantum technology offers unprecedented security from eavesdropping and will enable the next generation of secure communication networks.

SpeQtral has licensed from NUS the IP and know-how necessary to develop compact quantum light sources. The company has also hired former CQT researchers to its team.

SpeQtral’s $1.9 million seed round was led by Space Capital, the venture fund of Space Angels, the world’s leading space investors. Space Angels also participated in the round. Further investment from the US came from Shasta Ventures. In Singapore, Golden Gate Ventures and SGInnovate are investors.

"I admire the SpeQtral team's vision in launching a business for space-based quantum communication. It is a pleasure to see colleagues take this step to build from decades of research towards a global commercial network," says Artur Ekert, Director of CQT and co-inventor of quantum cryptography.

"Quantum technology is an exciting frontier with limitless potential," said Steve Leonard, Founding CEO, SGInnovate. "The scientists behind the formation of SpeQtral have done years of research in quantum communication, and are now turning that research into a commercial technology. We are thrilled to come in at an early part of their journey.”

The SpeQtral team, soon to expand, begins with:

  • Lum Chune Yang - Co-founder and CEO, CQT Industry Relations Advisor
  • Robert Bedington - Co-founder and CTO, former CQT Senior Research Fellow
  • David Mitlyng - COO
  • Antia Lamas-Linares - Chief Quantum Scientist, and former CQT Principal Investigator
  • Alex Lohrmann - Quantum Director (consultant), and CQT Research Fellow,
  • Tom Vergoossen - Lead Systems Engineer, and former CQT Research Assistant

The seed funding round, which was oversubscribed, will give SpeQtral the capital necessary to kick off a commercially-focused space-to-ground cubesat quantum communication demonstration mission, expand the team and open offices in Singapore and the United States, and develop further advances in quantum communication technology. The Singapore office will be located in the Science Park near the NUS Campus.

SpeQtral is the second spin-off from CQT to announce seed-funding, after Horizon Quantum Computing led by former Principal Investigator Joseph Fitzsimons closed a seed round in November 2018. Two startups established by CQT alumni have also received funding through the Entrepreneur First programme. Find more details in CQT's 2018 Annual Report. A listing of spin-offs and startups with CQT links is at www.quantumlah.org/page/key/spinoffs.