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Could Quantum Computing be the Deep technology play of the decade?

January 9, 2021

Wall street typically looks ahead for its future investments, straining to invest in the latest technologies that might be revolutionary. But we have yet to see a first Quantum IPO – that is a pure-play quantum company brought to market. We are, however seeing large amounts of investment flowing into quantum start-ups and that those investors will expect a return.

The quantum ecosystem is hotting up (some even wish for hotter qubits), and that means more investors are coming around to the idea of investing in the quantum sector. We are still just a little before prime-time, but we are steadily getting to the point where we may see filing for a quantum IPO. After all, investors need an exit and we have seen massive investment inflows into companies such as PsiQuantum which raised over two hundred million dollars ($200m) of investment. Follow on funding will likely even be larger and one could see the need to float in order to provide the follow on investment required. We don’t quite know what will happen here, but we expect great things and one thing is for sure. We expect more visibility and more uptake from the worlds investors into the quantum field.

We often write about the developments from the major tech players on their quantum streams, and we can expect even more from these public companies. But will 2021 be the first Quantum IPO? Might we see on the start-ups we have covered list on a public market? Listing doesn’t have to be on the US stock exchanges which are notoriously expensive – we might see smaller exchanges such as the London Stock Exchange and its fledgeling market AIM provide the mechanism for a pure Quantum float.

You can learn more about how Photonic Chips work from Xanadu

In the UK there are a number of Quantum companies working on a variety of topics. We won’t be able to cover everyone, but we can at provide a sample of some of those companies and what they are working on. We are not saying that any of these have filed to IPO, but some of these could certainly decide to go down that route.

Quantum Companies in the United Kingdom

Below are some of the companies (not all) based in the United Kingdom that are working in the Quantum sector.

  • OQC (Oxford Quantum Circuits). Oxford Quantum Circuits was no surprise founded in Oxford as it’s name suggests. The company is focused on superconducting qubits and the control software to run them. the company has raised funding for their series A.
  • Riverlane. Making headlines for building the worlds first Quantum Operating system. Deltaflow.OS has now reached general release and the company has been supported by government and private finance.
  • CQC (Cambridge Quantum Computing). CQC (Cambridge Quantum Computing) is focused more on the software and tooling part of the Quantum scene. They have developed t|ket⟩™ which is an architecture agnostic quantum software stack. Designed to work in the NISQ (Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum) regime. Raised large amounts of VC funding > $50m.
  • ORCA. Working on Photonic memory devices. ORCA is based on research from Professor Ian Walmsley’s Ultra-fast and Non-linear Quantum Optics Group at the University of Oxford (UK).
  • Quantopicon. This new entry on our radar develops software for developing photonic chips, and if photonics turn out to be qubit platform of choice (Xanadu for example) then this company is set to make the shovels that help others do the digging.
  • KETS. Focused on security, or more precisely Quantum security. Emerging from University of Bristol, KETS provide ultra-low size, weight and power device that can be used to help the world communicate more securely. Funding is both public (via Innovate UK) and private.
  • Rahko. Pitching itself as a Quantum Machine Learning company, the company is based on getting applying quantum techniques in traditional industries such as drug discovery (for example with Merck). Focused on the nearer term applications, the company has expertise in helping companies become Quantum. The business has raised investment from the likes of Balderton Capital.
  • Universal Quantum. Based around Trapped Ions, this Brighton based spin out from the University of Sussex aims to harness massive numbers of Trapped Ions with their control mechanisms in order to scale up Quantum Computing. One of the founders, Professor Winfried Hensinger is Chief Scientist and is Director of the Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies. He is joined by Dr Sebastian Weidt who is functioning as the CEO of UQ. Both were and still are working as leading academics at the University of Sussex.
  • Phasecraft. Focused on the software and theory behind quantum computing. Phasecraft was founded by academics at the University of Bristol and UCL back in 2019. Raised around $4m from private investors.
Could London provide an environment for the first pure-play quantum computing company float?

Start up Quantum Companies in North America

This is not an exhaustive list of companies.

  • Xanadu. One of the most visible in the photonic space and Quantum Machine Learning. Based in Toronto Canada. We hear lots of great things about this company which is well placed to commercialize photonic based Quantum Computing and the nascent area of Quantum Machine Learning (QML).
  • Psi Quantum. A photonic based company that relocated from the UK to the US in search of a better funding environment. The company is fairly private, but having raised over $200m it certainly has aspirations.
  • Strangeworks. This Texan based company produces a quantum middle-ware that can help companies run on different underlying quantum hardware.
  • Rigetti. A very visible company with wide reaching partnerships working on super-conducting quantum computers. They have raised substantial investment which has been deployed into hardware and software. They were also behind one of the quantum languages: PyQuil.
  • IonQ. As the name suggests, this company is working on Trapped Ion machines which are accessible on a number of platforms including Microsoft and AWS (Amazon). The company has garnered almost $100m in investment.
  • D-wave (More a scale up). Working on a specific type of Quantum Computer named “Quantum Annealing”, which works fundamentally very different. D-wave have been one of the first to sell into the likes of Google and Lockheed Martin. The Canadian based company has steadily widened the reach of their machines by offering cloud services. This is one of the grand-daddies of the space – having existed for over two decades.
  • 1QBit. This Vancouver based company is firmly in the software world is aims to help companies formulate their problems in such as way that they can be exploited by Quantum computers. The company partners with Amazon and Microsoft.
  • QCWare. A relatively mature company at 6 or 7 years old, QCWare is aimed at the enterprise Quantum Computing market and is hardware agnostic.
  • ColdQuanta. As the name suggests, they are not room temperature qubits. Their technology is based on ultra-cold atoms cooled to a temperature of nearly absolute zero and then these atoms are manipulated by lasers into behaving as qubits. The Colorado-based company has a range of products that deliver to the cold atom community.
  • Zapata Computing. Proving the middle-ware which allows multiple types of hardware to be addressed – hardware agnostic. The company has raised around $70m.
  • Atomic Computing. Based around the concept of single atom Quantum Computers, the company is aimed at producing Quantum Hardware which is fundamentally different.
  • Atos. Has a range of interests including Quantum Machine Learning. Has come up with a scheme or metric to measure Quantum Computing rather than qubits or Quantum Volume: Q-score.
Toronto Canada is the home to Xanadu, which is working on photonic based Quantum Computing and Quantum Machine Learning.
Toronto Canada is the home to Xanadu, which is working on photonic based Quantum Computing and Quantum Machine Learning.

There are much larger more corporate public companies such as IBM, Google, Microsoft, Intel and even Honeywell involved in Quantum research and we have written about investing in these public entities – something that just about anyone with a brokerage account can do. In fact your pension fund might already be invested in Quantum, albeit indirectly.

This article is not investment advice and you must take appropriate advice before acting. We cannot take any responsibility for the accuracy or the actions as result of information within this article.