16 Aug 2021
5 minute read

Quantum startups leap from lab to launch with IBM incubator

Startups that join the network can apply to access more advanced devices for projects that would benefit from a larger qubit count.

Quantum startups leap from lab to launch with IBM incubator

A healthy quantum ecosystem needs more than a few successful quantum computing players—it requires a variety of business, academic, and government interests working together to realize quantum computing's greatest potential. Central to that future, then, is a vibrant startup community—perhaps the most adventurous players of all—to tackle some of the highest risk challenges we foresee arising along the way. IBM Quantum is committed to fostering the startup community through our IBM Quantum Network.

The IBM Quantum Network includes dozens of startups that we think will benefit most from personalized access to our systems. Startups who join the network can apply to access more advanced devices for projects that would benefit from a larger qubit count.

“We're working to make sure the IBM Quantum Network is the premiere startup incubator in the quantum computing space,” said Aparna Prabhakar, vice president of the IBM Quantum Partner Ecosystem. “Our startup members are playing a vital role in bringing quantum computing from the lab to the commercial sector.”

An interview process ensures that candidate startups are grounded in legitimate knowledge with the potential to push the field of quantum computing forward. Startups joining the network enter a community of knowledge sharing among fellow IBM Quantum Network members. Members have the chance to demonstrate their tools to others at startup Demo Days, while we hold Startup Office Hours that answer questions related to various aspects of Qiskit that may impact a startup's work. We also host social events in order to network with other members of the quantum startup ecosystem.

One such startup, Super.tech is launching their own offering based on research on IBM Quantum systems, to increase the performance of developers’ quantum programs.

IBM Quantum supported Super.tech’s launch with on-call assistance from researchers on the team, as well as dedicated access to the deepest level of our processors via the OpenPulse interface.

“The Quantum Network has provided us access to IBM Researchers, as well as advanced features of the systems that aren't available from other platforms,” said Fred Chong, Super.tech co-founder and University of Chicago professor in the department of Computer Science. “Together, we were able to get the most out of IBM Quantum devices in order to develop our platform.”

Super.tech actively participated in the IBM Quantum and Qiskit communities. Chong has long collaborated with IBM researchers, while co-founder and Chong's Ph.D. advisee Pranav Gokhale performed his Ph.D. research on IBM Quantum hardware. The two were early collaborators in optimizing quantum circuit compiling using the OpenPulse control interface, were part of a team that won a 2019 IBM Quantum Award for best paper, and Gokhale also submitted the top-ranking submission in the IBM Quantum Open Science Prize's The SWAP gate swaps the quantum state of two qubits.SWAP gate challenge.

“Super.tech represents the successes of active members of our IBM Quantum and Qiskit community,” said Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and vice president of Quantum Computing. “I’m eager to see how Super.tech will benefit the IBM Quantum and Qiskit communities, as well as the quantum ecosystem overall.”

How to startup in quantum computing

The access offered to IBM Quantum Network startup members allows startups like Super.tech to advance quantum computing at the deepest level, creating hardware-aware software solutions for faster code execution time or qubit error mitigation. Super.tech’s platform connects quantum developers' applications to hardware, and incorporates the group's proprietary pulse-level optimization scheme in order to generate meaningful performance gains for developers’ code.

“It’s unique that IBM hardware exposes the pulse-level interface,” said Gokhale. “The fact that we can go below the level of traditional quantum gates was really valuable to us.”

The IBM Quantum Network is helping to lay the groundwork for the nascent quantum industry, and startups like Super.tech represent some of the exciting ideas we can expect to come out of the program. We're looking forward to seeing how their platform develops—and how we can work with Super.tech and other Startup Network members to shape the future of quantum computing.

For more about how we can help your startup, email IBM Quantum Global Lead for Startups, Stefan Elrington.


16 Aug 2021





  1. Note 1The SWAP gate swaps the quantum state of two qubits. ↩︎