Quantum Technologies: Venture Capital and Industry meets Talent and Startups


“Hamburg is making great strides in the field of quantum technology and is expected to play a strong role in the future. In this, we benefit from the close and constructive exchange between business, science and society in Hamburg.” The words of Senator for Economic Affairs Dr. Melanie Leonhard could be felt all too well – as the “Venture Capital and Industry meets Talent and Startups” event in Hamburg once again demonstrated the strong role of the Hanseatic city in the topic of quantum technologies. Accordingly, it was crowded in the rooms of the Digital Hub in the Speicherstadt.

Startups, politicians, VC players, family offices, scientists and industry representatives met in the heart of Hamburg to discuss the possibilities of quantum computing, to discover synergies and to explore investment opportunities in promising deep-tech projects.

The location of the event, not far from the port of Hamburg, could hardly be more appropriate, because quantum computing could bring about a true revolution in logistics processes. Sea freight routes, port coordination and container sorting are very complex challenges with almost infinite variations and factors. Here, the use of quantum computing could provide a drastic increase in efficiency in the future.


Hamburg sets the pace

But that is just one example of many, emphasizes Economics Senator Dr. Melanie Leonhard. “We are proud that Hamburg can inspire startups in particular. Together, we are making Hamburg and the metropolitan region fit for the use of quantum technologies.”

To take advantage of these opportunities and possibilities, things are moving forward at a great pace in the northern German city-state. 34 million euros are being invested to build a robust network with the relevant expertise. Politicians in the Hanseatic city have made it clear that they are fully committed to innovation Research in the field. Within a year, HQIC and the DLR Innovation Center were established. 208.5 million euros in federal funding is available for projects that will be created in Hamburg.

Courage and knowledge in the region

The fact that this money is not hanging in a vacuum is due to the fact that a vital ecosystem has formed that can rely on a robust research base in the metropolitan region. This includes, for example, the University of Hamburg’s “Rymax 1 Quantum Optimizer,” one of a handful of next-generation quantum computers in the world. Such large-scale projects are often the result of close cooperation between science and industry. For example, the construction of the computer is supported by major players such as the Otto Group and HHLA. The list could easily be extended to include top projects by TUHH, DESY, DLR and the Fraunhofer Institutes. The latter have only recently announced that they will bundle their know-how in the “Fraunhofer Industrial Application Center Quantum Computing Hamburg”.


Great potential and exciting projects

But back to the venerable brick buildings in the Speicherstadt. Many of the participants had already attended the “3rd Exchange Forum Quantum Computing – Spin up” at the Hamburg Congress Center before, but there was no sign of tiredness. The words of Anna Christmann (BMWK), Prof. Dr. Lemmer (DLR Executive Board), HQCI CEO Alois Kritl and Dr.-Ing. Robert Axmann from QCI were listened to with great interest.

This was followed by a presentation from the largest quantum technology consortium in the industry, “QUTAC”, which was represented by Lufthansa Industry Solutions. In addition, Siemens, SAP, Merck, Airbus, ATOS and other industry representatives:inside were on hand to see the innovative quantum ideas of the startups.

According to Hamburg’s Senator for Economic Affairs, Dr. Melanie Leonhard, six startups had the chance to pitch their products and ideas. All VC representatives quickly realized the immense potential of the startups’ concepts (e.g. Anachqor, NoisyLabs, Diatope, XeedQ, Kiutra). So it was no wonder that young entrepreneurs and venture capital representatives had a good chat over a cold drink afterwards. It was clear to both VCs and startups that great things can be achieved in Hamburg if the immense potential of basic research is turned into applications.

Creating application maturity with VC


The evening clearly showed that there is great interest in moving developments from research towards market maturity and in relying more on venture capital for this purpose. Because the fact is that startups are the innovation engine for transferring basic research into practice.

It is not for nothing that Anna Christmann, Aerospace Coordinator and Representative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection for the Digital Economy and Startups, says: “For European sovereignty, we must ensure that our companies have access to state-of-the-art quantum computing hardware and software. To this end, we particularly support start-ups, which are a driving force of innovation in the highly dynamic environment.”