Quanscient: Shaping the Future of Multiphysics Simulations

From developing electric motors, optimizing steel structures, and designing antennas, multiphysics simulations are crucial for manufacturing novel hardware, reducing the need for prototyping, and eventually saving costs. However, most of these simulations are run today on local clusters, requiring significant CapEx expenditure before benefiting from them.

The Finnish startup Quanscient addresses this bottleneck by moving multiphysics simulations to the cloud, helping customers get their products to market faster and more efficiently. It also develops new quantum algorithms to be among the first to utilize (NISQ) quantum computers for commercial applications.

Founded in September 2021 by CEO Juha Riippi, Chief Science Officer Valtteri Lahtinen, CTO Alexandre Halbach, and Chief Software Architect Asser Lähdemäki, Quanscient raised a pre-seed round in December 2021 from First Fellow Partners and several business angels, including Samppa Lahtinen and Teemu Jokinen. It went through the Intel Ignite program.

Learn more about the future of multiphysics simulations from our interview with the CEO, Juha Riippi, and Chief Science Officer, Valtteri Lahtinen: 

Why Did You Start Quanscient?

Most of us met during our studies: Valterri studied with Asser and then got to know Alexandre from graduate research. We gathered more than ten years of experience employing finite element methods to solve simulation problems. In particular, our CTO Alexandre started and maintained Sparselizard, an open-source finite-element C++ library. 

While it was great for academic research, at some point, we realized that we have a larger impact by developing an actual product for finite-element simulations based on his open-source library. 

Fortunately, we met Juha through a common friend, and when he joined in, we finally got started founding Quanscient. He had previously worked in tech consulting, gathering lots of experience building stuff for clients, but was now keen to build something on his own. How cool would it be to build the software that physicists use, e.g., to plan fusion reactors, and be a tiny part of making fusion a reality?

How Do You Shape the Future of Multiphysics Simulations?

Before you build a physical product, you start by creating a computational model and simulating its behavior in various environments. E.g., building an airplane is expensive, and testing a plane model in a wind tunnel is too—that’s why you do extensive aerodynamic simulations up front to figure out whether it will fly. 

Using performant finite-element software, we saw a massive opportunity to make multiphysics simulations, from aerodynamics and electrodynamics to statics, much faster and cheaper. By moving most of the physical product design into the digital space, we can minimize the need for prototyping and accelerate bringing a product to market. 

Unlike established finite-element software like COMSOL, which runs on desktop computers or local clusters, our simulations run in the cloud, using as few or as many resources as needed. Thus, they are up to 200x faster than on-premise solutions. 

At the same time, we’re developing our own quantum algorithms: a) accelerating linear algebra operations and b) developing algorithms for computational fluid dynamics based on quantum lattice Boltzmann methods. The main challenge is to make the quantum algorithms resilient to the inherent noise of current NISQ computers and make them as shallow as possible and avoid having too many two-qubit gates. 

However, while most quantum computing startups are still struggling to find commercially viable use cases, we have already developed a great product for multiphysics simulations and can still be among the first to employ quantum algorithms once the hardware is ready. 

How Did You Evaluate Your Startup Idea?

From our previous academic work, we have extensive experience with multiphysics simulations and the limitations of existing software. We then talked to many potential customers about use cases and cloud scaling for our software. Recently, one customer told us that this will revolutionize the way they work.  

What Advice Would You Give Fellow Deep Tech Founders?

When fundraising, almost no one cares about your technology—most people won’t get it anyway. Come up with a version of your story that you could tell to a random drunken person in a bar!

And if you’re into academia, don’t hesitate to take the leap and found a company—it’s great for your learning curve and can have an actual impact beyond citation numbers.