(WallStreetJournal) startup PsiQuantum Corp. has landed a $450 million investment led by funds and accounts managed by BlackRock Inc., amid increased investor interest in the next-generation computing technique.
Tony Kim, managing director at BlackRock, said in a statement that PsiQuantum’s technological approach is the “most promising” the firm has seen to date. The firm declined to make executives available for an interview.
The funds will be used to expand its team, which currently has about 150 people, and to build a 1 million-quantum-bit machine, said Jeremy O’Brien, co-founder and chief executive of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company.
PsiQuantum has raised $665 million since its founding in 2016 and its Series D funding brings its valuation to $3.15 billion, Dr. O’Brien said. The investment is validation of the company’s approach to building its quantum computer, which will use particles of light to store information, he said.
The company is building the machine with help from GlobalFoundries Inc., one of the largest specialist chip-production companies, Dr. O’Brien said. GlobalFoundries sells chips to more than 250 customers globally, including the U.S. Defense Department and companies such as Qualcomm Inc., Broadcom Inc., Bosch and Intel Corp. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Intel is in talks to buy GlobalFoundries for about $30 billion.
PsiQuantum plans to build its machine using photons, or particles of light, as qubits. One of the advantages of this method is that it could help the machine perform reliable calculations without errors, said Peter Shadbolt, co-founder and chief strategy officer.
One of the challenges that PsiQuantum will need to overcome is that it will need to introduce new, higher-performance components into its existing manufacturing process. One example of such a component is a more efficient waveguide, which is used to route photons inside the chip. “We’re putting new devices into the chip that we don’t have today,” Dr. Shadbolt said.