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Quantinuum’s new CCO says firm will stay true to its scientific mission

By Dan O'Shea posted 16 Sep 2022

Several quantum technology firms have hired executives lately whose priorities will be marketing, sales and commercialization of their firm’s technology innovations. These hirings mark a significant step in the maturity of these companies, but also may lead to some concerns about innovative firms getting away from their R&D roots. However, at least in the case of Quantinuum that will not happen, according to the company’s new chief commercial officer.

I do not see Quantinuum ever truly shifting focus to a true commercial model in which sales and or revenue become more important than the science and true mission of the company,” said Nathan Cobb, recently hired as CCO of Quantinuum. “R&D and true science will always be at the very core of what we do and who we are.”

He added even as Quantinuum has stayed true to its innovative roots–which extend at least in part back to Cambridge Quantum Computing, the start-up that Honeywell merged its quantum business with to create Quantinuum–the company still has take many steps to build out an infrastructure “for immediate and massive scale.”

Cobb hinted that Quantinuum may still have the spirit of a start-up, an environment with many top subject matter experts in their respective areas, each with strong–and not always aligned–opinions in any conversation. However, he added, “…the unity of this team is unparalleled in my experience. While there is work to be done, the ability of the team to unify toward common goals should make this easier.”

Cobb has worked at firms such as SAP that have had a strong enterprise focus. It is a market that many quantum companies would like to tap into, although it has not been clear that enterprises in some sectors are ready to spend. Cobb said the main challenge for Quantinuum will not be getting them to open their wallets, but getting them to open their eyes and minds.

“The key will be educating the market and potential customers in what Quantinuum can actually do,” he said. “Quantinuum has been diligent in preserving the accuracy and integrity of its capabilities and technical achievements. When potential customers see the proof of the advantages we offer, I do not see budget as being a barrier.”

Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.

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