Alumna Zhanet Zaharieva and team raise £2 million in pre-seed funding to innovate the security of encryption keys

quantum dice team, five people, three are stood up and two sat down on chairs with a blue background.

Quantum Dice team

St Cross alumna Zhanet Zaharieva (DPhil Materials Science, 2018) is a member of the team co-founders of Quantum Dice – the University of Oxford Spinout, which has raised £2 million in pre-seed funding to innovate the security of encryption keys.

Quantum dice aims to secure a connected future by leveraging integrated photonics technology to develop the world’s first compact and continuously self-certifying Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) device for encryption and cybersecurity.

The technology has wide commercial applications ranging from encrypting highly sensitive data to performing simulations based on research conducted by Prof. Ian Walmsley's Quantum Optics group in the Oxford Physics department. Using manufacturing-friendly optical circuits, Quantum Dice rely on its patented source-device independent self-certification (DISC™) protocol. DISC™ allows for live continuous verification of the security of the output numbers rather than simply relying on statistical analysis.

Founded in April 2020, Quantum Dice is a spinout from the University of Oxford’s Department of Physics where the DISC™ protocol was originally developed in Oxford’s world-leading Quantum Optics research group headed by Prof. Ian Walmsley. This initial QRNG prototype was already breaking records with its extremely fast generation rate of 8.05 Gbps of quantum-secure randomness. Quantum Dice was co-founded by Zhanet Zaharieva, George Dunlop, Mar-ko Mayr, Ramy Shelbaya, and Wenmiao Yu, all from the winning team of the inaugural Student Entrepreneurs’ Programme (StEP) organised by Oxford Science Enterprises, the Oxford Foundry and Oxford University Innovation.

In the short time since it was established, Quantum Dice has already gained international recognition: it graduated from the Creative Destruction Lab’s world-renowned quantum accelerator in Toronto; was named one of Thames Valley 2021 game changers; and was selected as one of fourteen international finalists with the most promising future technologies in OneWeb’s 2021 Innovation Challenge, amongst other achievements. Quantum Dice is also the first company to be awarded funding through Innovate UK’s Investor Partnership Programme.