Inside Quantum Technology

Rigetti shows Q4 revenue growth, keeps focus on quality

Rigetti Computing, in its first earnings call since laying off 28% of its employees in early February, reiterated that the company’s short-term energies will go into improving quality and fidelity.

As the company looks to get back on track after late 2022 chaos that saw the departure of company founder Chad Rigetti and eventually led to layoffs, Rigetti reported fourth quarter 2022 revenue of $6.1 million, compared to $1.8 million in the same period in 2021. However, the company’s main focus is now on quality.

“The quality of qubits right now is critical, in my opinion across the whole industry,” said Rigetti CEO Subodh Kulkarni during last week’s earnings call. “And this is not just a Rigetti statement. All of us need to improve the quality of qubits before we go up in just the number of qubits.”

Kulkarni said Rigetti’s primary goal during the next few months is to work on improving fidelity for the company’s 84-qubit Ankaa-1 chip, “with a goal to reach Median 2-qubit fidelity of 98%, and anticipate making it available for select customers in mid-2023.” The company’s Ankaa-2 processor is expected by the fourth quarter of this year. 

Kulkarni added, “Assuming we reach Ankaa-1 Median 2-Q fidelity of 99%, which we currently expect to reach in 2024, we plan to move to tiling four Ankaa chips to enable the three 336-qubit Lyra system.”

The company also provided a clearer picture of where it stands in terms of cash on hand. Rigetti CFO Jeffrey Bertelsen, who joined the company last month, said that as of Dec. 31, 2022, Rigetti had cash, cash equivalents and available-for-sale investments of $142.8 million, and it next anticipates needing to seek more funding by “late 2024 or 2025.”

The company has about $22.7 million in capital expenses during 2022. During the first quarter of this year, Rigetti expects a roughly $1.4 million restructuring charge related to severance and temporary insurance coverage for laid-off employees.

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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