Build the future of quantum computing with Quanscient

June 21, 2024
Juha Riippi, CEO of Quanscient, shares his professional journey, the importance of a talented team, and the possibilities ahead in multiphysics quantum computing.

For Juha Riippi, CEO and co-founder of Quanscient (Tampere, Finland), a company focused on multiphysics simulations offered in the cloud and powered by quantum computing, a talented team has always been the backbone of a successful company. As Riipi points out: with a resolute team of diverse skill sets, a company can thrive. The people come first, he says, then a problem worth solving.

So was the case with Riippi’s own career path. After acquiring both technical and business expertise from positions early in his career, he met a talented team grappling with the potential opportunities in quantum computing—a topic that fascinated Riippi. Now, as CEO of Quanscient, he is enthusiastic about simplifying complex multiphysics problems and making them accessible to consumers.

Early days

Riippi attended Tampere University in Finland, where he did not have grand career plans and simply gravitated his studies toward his interests. Riippi majored in embedded systems and was drawn to the software side and chose to focus on software engineering programs.

After graduating, Riippi landed a job as a programmer for a small consulting company working on mobile projects (fun fact: many projects were golf-related). But it was his next job that grew his business expertise exponentially and enabled him to gain the complete skillset necessary to be the successful CEO he is today.

In 2009, Riippi joined Vincit, a digital technology company. He recalls being employee number 21 (of what is now more than 1000), so it was a small, tight-knit team developing primarily mobile software, growing the company, and having fun.

What started out as a job leading a team of software developers grew as the company grew. Soon, Riippi was wearing many hats, many of which were not technical in nature, and helped grow his business acumen. He managed customer projects, led sales, improved internal workflow, managed customer communications, acted as human resources and hiring staff, worked in management consulting, and more. Riippi found his niche: The interface of technology and business and uncovering how technology can be applied for real value.

Telecom bust, digital transformation

As a young company, Vincit built software and a substantial portion of the business was subcontracting for Nokia, which was the worldwide leader in cell phones. Then, the telecom bubble burst. Vincit lost a large part of their revenue stream from Nokia, and it was necessary to redefine themselves. To survive, Vincit expanded its offerings to more diverse digital products (beyond mobile) and acquired new customers—many less technologically savvy than Nokia.

This was an important transition: Riipi’s role became primarily client-driven. He began collaborating with companies who had great ideas, but not the technical expertise to build them or even the ability to articulate exactly what was needed. Riippi’s diverse skills allowed him to step into a form of management consulting, providing insights and advice to customers to shape their solutions. He explored the problem and imagined ways Vincit could solve it. In short, he closed the gap between what the customer knew and what the company could achieve for them—a foreshadowing of the work that would come with Quanscient.

Professional love at first sight

When Quanscient came into the picture, Riipi knew it was a match meant to be. Valtteri Lahtinen, one of the four cofounders of Quanscient, is a lead researcher responsible for quantum algorithm development. Before the company was founded, he was confident there was a business opportunity in quantum computing, but knew he needed a CEO to manage more of the business aspects of the company. This is when a mutual friend introduced him to Riippi, and they set a lunch meeting. Also at the meeting was Asser Lähdemäki, cofounder and lead software architect for Quanscient.

Up to this point, by his own admission, Riippi was not well versed in quantum computing. Before meeting with these industry luminaries, he dove into researching and learning as much as possible. It turns out, this effort took him back to his university days when his love of learning drove his ambition; the more he explored, the more enthralled he became. With his software background to support him, Riippi was able to make connections between traditional programming and how it applied in the quantum realm. He could imagine the use cases and saw possibilities users did not even know were feasible.

After their lunch discussion, Riippi knew he had found his people. He immediately connected with Lahtinen and Lähdemäki and was fully committed from that first meeting. As luck would have it, around the same time Alexandre Halbach, final cofounder and CTO (who had been working on multiphysics simulation algorithms for years), approached Lahtinen about job networking. Lahtinen took the chance to ask Halbach if he wanted to start a company. With his “yes,” the Quanscient leadership team was born.

With the right team of people in place, the problem to solve became clear. Quanscient would focus on multiphysics and have two technical pillars: the simulation software offered in the cloud, and the development and implementation of quantum algorithms to allow unparalleled speed and accuracy.

Emergence of cloud-based multiphysics simulations

As Riippi explored the ins and outs of the company’s scientific base from a business standpoint, he noticed a deficiency in multiphysics simulations—the work was primarily done through desktop software products. Not only did a company need to own expensive software, but it ran on the desktop and consumed a high amount of memory that bottlenecked output. Furthermore, the algebraic solvers were limited. The game-changer, Riippi realized, was their superior algorithms could be made available in the cloud.

Today, this is just what Quanscient offers: a cloud-native multiphysics simulation backed by a performant and modern algorithmic library. Quanscient can solve problems 10x faster in 10x more complex simulations. Offering the algorithms in the cloud allows multiple simulations to be run in parallel without any impact on speed. This hyper-fast speed is something not otherwise available and benefits researchers who are working tricky multiphysics calculations in electromagnetics, mechanics, or fluid dynamics. In fact, Quanscient has a keen focus on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), superconductors, and electric motors.

What the future holds

Quanscient has mastered the opportunity for multiphysics algorithms in the cloud and now has its sights set on quantum. The team’s research and development on quantum-native algorithms show tremendous potential for simulating systems larger and more complex than ever imaginable with great precision. This is particularly true within the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) field (think: aerodynamic simulations, weather and climate modeling, geological modeling). Quanscient has already demonstrated the potential of these quantum simulation methods on real hardware with accurate results.

The team continues to research and test (moving from 2D to 3D simulations on quantum computers) and is driving toward a roadmap where simulations can solve what was previously infeasible. While quantum computing hardware is not ready for commercial usage yet, Quanscient will be at the forefront when it comes.

In this nascent stage, Riippi finds himself imagining potential use cases where quantum algorithm simulators can be beneficial—beyond CFD. Riippi’s ultimate goal is for their users to have a hybrid multiphysics solution where the quantum algorithms are integrated into the cloud product.

As the quantum side of the business grows, the company will need more staff. Riippi believes in finding the right individuals to meet the demand. His people-first mentality means he’s committed to fostering a positive culture where people enjoy working. Quanscient’s top values are fun, trust, excellence, and compassion.

A look back and advice 

Riipi believes he had good vision from the start, feels very fortunate, and wouldn’t change much about his career trajectory—except perhaps focusing more on business in his early studies and helping Quanscient narrow its focus sooner. He’s also quick to point out that the way it worked out was extremely educational and these learnings have led him to where he is now.

Words of wisdom to the next generation of entrepreneurs? It probably comes as no surprise given his emphasis on people, but Riipi says: “Build and trust a strong team, then just go for it. The worst that can happen is you fail, but you have learned and made friends along the way and can pick up and try again with their support. When it comes down to it, what more could you ask for in a career?”

About the Author

Jose Pozo | Chief Technology Officer, Optica

Jose Pozo joined Optica in March 2022, and has spent more than 25 years working in photonics. He earned a PhD in quantum physics from the University of Bristol (U.K.), and an M.Sc. and B.Eng. in telecom engineering from UPNA, Spain / VUB (Belgium). Prior to joining the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC) in 2015 as CTO, Jose was a Senior Photonics Technology Consultant with PNO Consultants, with some of the main accounts such as CERN, Thales, and TE Connectivity. He has worked at TNO, The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, and as a postdoctoral researcher at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, where he contributed to the early development of EFFECT Photonics.

Sponsored Recommendations

Optical Power Meters for Diverse Applications

April 30, 2024
Bench-top single channel to multichannel power meters, Santec has the power measurement platforms to meet your requirements.

Request a quote: Micro 3D Printed Part or microArch micro-precision 3D printers

April 11, 2024
See the results for yourself! We'll print a benchmark part so that you can assess our quality. Just send us your file and we'll get to work.

Request a Micro 3D Printed Benchmark Part: Send us your file.

April 11, 2024
See the results for yourself! We'll print a benchmark part so that you can assess our quality. Just send us your file and we'll get to work.

Request a free Micro 3D Printed sample part

April 11, 2024
The best way to understand the part quality we can achieve is by seeing it first-hand. Request a free 3D printed high-precision sample part.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!