£3.1m for UK PCIe quantum security

June 09, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
£3.1m for UK PCIe quantum security startup
KETS Quantum Security in Bristol has raised £3.1m (€3.6m) for international expansion of its PCIe-based quantum security technology.

KETS, based in Bristol, UK, is rolling out a PCIe quantum security card with its photonic chip for data centres and telecoms infrastructure, backed by Quantonation and Speedinvest, with participation from Mustard Seed MAZE.

The new funding follows a £2m round in 2018 and will be used to accelerate development, production, and delivery of first products. It will also allow KETS to expand key first trials of the technology in real-world applications and environments that are already in development.

“We will have our QKD system in Q2 and we are keen to get it to customers as soon as possible.  All of the individual subsystems are working on the lab bench. To facilitate getting it into customers hands quickly we are producing a 1U rack-mounted version first that allows us to quickly assemble all of those existing subsystems into a first unit,” Chris Erven, CEO of KETS Quantum Security told eeNews Europe.

“In parallel we are also combining these subsystems onto  more tightly integrated PCBs to allow us to quickly move onto the graphics card format that we have always had as our main target,” he said.

“We are incredibly excited to close this new round of funding. The funds will be used to deploy our technology in key testbeds and build real world use-cases and applications,  to complete the initial product work and continue to evolve it to into next generation form factors, and to move from small scale production to making hundreds or more to satisfy demand.”

The KETS chip-based encryption development kit supports quantum key distribution (QKD) and quantum number generation (QNG). One key area is data centre back-ups to protect banking information in the cloud and allow telecommunications providers to flexibly and securely control their networks and alert them to new attacks on their systems.

“We are aiming to trial this in  a telecoms testbed with partners including BT through our AQuaSeC grant, as well as doing demos with defence customers. A big thrust for us is showing it working in infrastructure,” said Erven.

Erven says KETS will continue to expand into the global marketplace beyond its first international office, set up in Paris in January .

“One project of huge interest to us is the QCI (Quantum Communications Infrastructure). This project is aiming to build a quantum-safe network across Europe. It’s an ideal place to trial our kit and when you think of the distances and number of units involved in building a network across Europe, a chip-based more highly integrated approach is the only thing that makes sense,” he said.

“We were very excited to announce KETS’ first international office in Paris. This office  support KETS’  involvement in the ParisQCI network, with work gearing up  in late Q2 for this two year project.”

“We showed our QNRG product in February last year at Thales’ Cyber@StationF Demo Day in Paris. It received significant interest and we continue to pursue a PoC on it as we speak.We have continued to evolve it a couple of times now and are about to start testing and demoing it in earnest with partners now.”

“We are in a feasibility study with Airbus, called ViSatQT, on what a quantum-safe satellite service will look like and putting the business case together. Space is an incredibly interesting proposition for quantum. We are exploring a number of different demos. Our GPU form factor is small enough to already make these systems and services much more practice, and we plan to shrink and integrate it even further.”

“The next step is to build a demonstrator with space-qualified parts and that requires testing. Because our quantum chips are monolithic (a single, solid component) they should be much more robust to things like the vibrations of launch. We are not anticipating any problems, but still have to show the formal qualification. We are already in discussion on projects and I can see demonstrations starting by the end of the year.”

“KETS is reaching a key point in its story, with products that will now be available to deploy, bringing clients the world’s first on-chip, quantum-secured solutions protecting against the future threat of quantum computers,” said Olivier Tonneau from Quantonation, which also announced backing of a French quantum computer startup yesterday to roll out its products.

“We love the fact that we have been able to maintain our base in Bristol,” said Erven at KETS. “We design the chips here in the same city where we first demonstrated them at the University of Bristol. We are working with packaging companies and PCB manufacturers within the UK and EU to enable us to offer sovereign capability. And then  we do final assembly in Bristol. Not every start-up has to be based in a London-like city, and Bristol has a huge entrepreneurial heart and great work force in the surrounding area that we can tap into.”

“KETS is developing technology with a vision to solve some of the global cybersecurity challenges faced by the largest organisations by combining the power of quantum encryption technologies with the scalability and practicality of integrated, chip-based quantum photonics. Bristol is leading the world on building quantum technology hardware, and Speedinvest is excited to be backing great deep tech entrepreneurs here,” said Rick Hao from Speedinvest.

www.kets-quantum.com

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Picture: 
The team at KETS Quantum Security

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