Rivest–Shamir–Adleman and elliptic curve cryptography might not be on the top of your dinner conversation topics, but unless you’ve subscribed to the print edition of Tech.eu, you’re using one of these services right now, as just about every organisation, government, and device on this planet is reliant on public-key cryptography. But for all the benefits this encryption provider offers when staring in the face of large-scale quantum computers, that iron cladding is as useful as muslin cloth.
Recogising the threat that quantum computers pose to the status quo, everything from medical records to national intelligence, intellectual property, and financial transactions, Oxford University spinout PQShield emerged from stealth in mid-2020, announcing a modest £5.5 million in funding promising further rollout of its System on Chip (SoC) solution.
Fast forward 18 months, months that have seen a dramatic rise in cyberattacks, and PQShield has raised the shields once again, this time with a robust $20 million raise in a Series A round led by 13 year Tiger Global veteran Lee Fixel’s firm, Addition, with additional support provided by existing investors Oxford Science Enterprises (formerly OSI) and Crane.
The startups’ post-quantum cryptographic offer comes in a variety of formats, ready to secure a variety of needs and uses. PQShield’s solutions include ready-made and tailored hardware cryptography IPs for both low and high-end devices (secure elements, hardware security modules (HSMs) IoT firmware, public key infrastructure (PKI); server technologies; and last but not least, end-to-end encrypted messaging platforms.
The newest round of funding will be used to continue product development, and drive international expansion and recruitment efforts as the company reports strong demand from sectors including semiconductor, defense, automotive OEM, industrial IoT, and technology consulting.
“As new cryptographic standards are finalised and rolled out, the scale of demand for quantum-ready solutions cannot be understated. From software to hardware, no industry is immune to the quantum threat, and as powerful quantum machines move ever closer, so does the risk of them falling into the wrong hands,” commented CEO and founder Dr. Ali El Kaafarani.
On the investment, Fixel commented, “Thanks to an industry-leading team, decades of combined experience, and a best-in-class product offering, PQShield has quickly emerged as a front runner and true authority in post-quantum cryptography for hardware and software, a field with enormous market potential. PQShield is already helping to define the future of information security, and we are excited to support their ongoing growth.”