Super.tech is a Chicago-based quantum software startup that accelerates commercially-valuable applications of quantum computing.
Founded in 2020 by Pranav Gokhale, PhD ’20, and Fred Chong, Seymour Goodman Professor, University of Chicago Department of Computer Science, the company was spun out of pioneering quantum computing research from EPiQC, an NSF Expedition in Computing at the University, and is part of Argonne National Laboratory’s Chain Reaction Innovations program.
Gokhale grew up in Maryland and always had an interest in science and physics – a passion cultivated during his undergrad at Princeton where he met Margaret Martonosi, Hugh Trumbull Adams ’35 Professor of Computer Science.
Through her, he was connected with Chong and introduced to quantum research before taking a two-year break between undergrad and graduate school to work at software engineering startups in Silicon Valley.
“After that, I decided that I was ready to jump back into a research role,” said Gokhale, who last year completed his PhD in quantum computing. During this time, he and Chong filed two patents for their work, which is being commercialized via Super.tech.
“We knew there was commercial potential in the quantum space,” said Gokhale, noting that starting a company with the support of Chong was the natural next step. The two spent the first year researching and developing the core technology and were selected to participate in Argonne National Laboratory’s Chain Reaction Innovations program, a two-year fellowship program for innovators focused on clean energy and science technologies.
“We also spent a lot of time grant writing and received two SBIR grants from the government for our research,” added Gokhale. “The first year was very research-driven but with an eye toward commercialization.”
The company also in 2020 participated in the George Shultz Innovation Fund and received a $150,000 investment, which led to $350,000 in follow on funding from alumni. “The University of Chicago community has been really critical for us getting off the ground,” Gokhale said.
This past summer has been about turning this research into a product and Super.tech in August launched a beta app of its first product. The platform, called SuperstaQ, connects applications to quantum computers from IBM Quantum, IonQ, and Rigetti, and optimizes software across the system stack to boost the performance of the underlying quantum computers. Publicly announced beta users include research laboratories like Argonne and Berkeley, as well as companies like Morningstar.
Joining the Duality accelerator has been “really great as a platform for exploring the market side of things,” he said.
The company also is a member of the Chicago Quantum Exchange and a member of the IBM Quantum Network, an incubator that provides select startups with access to IBM’s quantum devices. In June it was recognized for proposing the best solution to a problem posed in IBM’s Quantum Open Science Challenge.
Since its incorporation a year ago, Super.tech has raised over $1 million non-dilutive funding from the Air Force, Department of Energy, and National Science Foundation.