(TheRegister) Venture capital firms are pouring billions into quantum computing companies.
Rigetti, which makes quantum hardware, announced a $1.5bn merger with Supernova Partners Acquisition Company II, a finance house focusing on strategic acquisitions. Deals by SPAC (special purpose acquisition companies) like Supernova Partners tend to be highly speculative, but the venture firm’s due diligence on Rigetti was more around the possible rewards if quantum computers live up to their hype.Rigetti, which was valued at $1.04bn before the deal, will now be publicly traded.
Before Rigetti’s deal, quantum computer hardware and software companies raked in close to $1.02bn from venture capital investments this year. That was a significant increase from $684m invested by VC firms in 2020, and $188m in 2019.
Prior to the Rigetti transaction, the biggest deal was a $450mn investment in PsiQuantum, which was valued at $3.15bn, in a round led by venture capital firm BlackRock on July 27.
Rigetti and PsiQuantum are startups in a growing field of quantum computer makers that includes heavyweights IBM and Google, which are building superconducting quantum systems based on transmon qubits. D-Wave offers a quantum-annealing system based on flux bits to solve limited-sized problems, but this week said it was building a new superconducting system to solve larger problems.