We’ve talked before about the amazing potential for quantum computing and even gave you 3 ways to invest in perhaps the most talked about quantum computing company there is, D-Wave Systems. Before we get too excited about what we can do with quantum computers, we need the actual hardware itself which is what D-Wave brings to the table. We also wrote about two other quantum computing companies; QxBranch and Rigetti Computing. While Rigetti is working on hardware, QxBranch sees themselves as the world’s first quantum computing software company. As it turns out, there are at least 7 more players in this space aside from the 3 startups we’ve already written about.
For now, we’re going to omit from our list any companies involved in quantum encryption or quantum cryptography. Security applications for quantum computing deserve their own article which is a topic we’ll explore soon enough. So without further ado, here are 7 more companies working on quantum computing applications.
Founded in 2012, Canadian company 1QBit is said to be the world’s first “pure-play” quantum computing software company. 1QBit received their first seed funding round in 2013 and by 2014 they had hired 30 employees, took in a Series A funding round for an undisclosed amount, and most importantly announced a partnership with D-Wave which lives in their same city, Vancouver British Colombia. According to an article by BC Business, 1Qbit acts as a consultant of sorts for companies that want to use D-Wave hardware but can’t just go installing their legacy applications on a quantum computer. The Company is working with a number of undisclosed customers including a Fortune-50 company.
First spun out of Cambridge University in 2001, Optalysys has taken in $850,000 from investors that include DARPA (U.S. Department of Defense) to develop optical processors that will outperform traditional silicon technologies for a fraction of the price and power consumption. Optical systems use light instead of electricity and are a promising approach to quantum computation. In April of 2015, Optalysys announced a scalable optical processing prototype that performs mathematical functions like second-order derivatives in parallel and at the speed of light. Primary applications for this technology will be in “big data” and computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
Founded in 2014, QC Ware has taken in an undisclosed amount to develop “cloud based” optimization software that runs on quantum computers. This is actually quite interesting so bear with us here. Optimization problems as an example would be Amazon trying to figure out the best way to route a day’s worth of shipping. You need optimization to figure out the best routes for all your packages. Optimizations can be solved using binary integer programming where variables can be a 1 or 0. Remember how quantum computers can be a zero, a one, or somewhere in between? Therein lies the problem they are trying to solve. Among the CEO’s accomplishments is a solo swim across the English Channel solo, so definitely a risk taker.
Founded in 2014, Cambridge Quantum Computing has taken in a sizable $50 million in Series A funding to develop the first quantum computing operating system called “ti|ket>”. They are actually using a supercomputer to simulate a quantum computer so perhaps they have plans in the future to shell out some of that funding round for an actual D-Wave system (around $10 million). As you would expect, the company is run by some very bright minds from Cambridge University.
These guys aren’t really a quantum computing company but it’s likely most people will categorize them as such because of their name so we’ll include them in our list. Founded in 2013, this Japanese startup has already taken in a Series B funding round of $20.5 million from mainly Japanese investors that included Mitsubishi. Stated simply, these guys want to use the powers of quantum mechanics for DNA sequencing, a method that is aptly named “Quantum Sequencing”. Here’s the techie lingo:
The tunneling effect, or quantum tunneling, is a phenomenon whereby a microscopic particle uses quantum effects to “tunnel through” a potential energy barrier. We use the dependence of current magnitude on the physical properties of an object to decrypt DNA sequence information.
So, not quantum computing but still cool nonetheless.
Magiq is a “quantum commercialization company” founded in 1999 and which sold the world’s first commercial quantum cryptography system in 2002. MagiQ’s development of high-performance, compact RF solutions for quantum computing research led to the QuantumWave line of instruments and to the creation of a subsidiary called Cambridge Instruments. Like Optalysys, their research is also sponsored by DARPA. This is what you might consider to be a “picks and shovels” play on quantum computing.
This last company doesn’t even have a website but we’re going to spell out what we know so far which isn’t much. Eagle Power Technology is a North Carolina based company that closed a $750,000 seed funding round just a few months ago from 11 investors. According to the LinkedIn profile of the CEO, David Eichhorn, they are working on “synthetic diamond development for quantum computing“.
So there you have it. If we count D-Wave, QxBranch, and Rigetti Computing, that gives us a total of 10 companies we’ve talked about so far that are working on this exciting new disruptive technology. Stay tuned for a future article on some startups involved in quantum encryption and quantum cryptography.
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