Inside Quantum Technology

What’s Ahead for PsiQuantum with $3.1 Billion Valuation?

(NextPlatform) NextPlatform opens by asking, “Why is it that a quantum upstart few have heard of has managed to capture $665 million to date and over a $3 Billion valuation?”

And continues, “If we had been placing bets about which quantum computing startup would be the first to raise a billion dollars three years ago, D-Wave and Rigetti might have topped the list. The former has raised $256 million since its inception in 1999 and since its inception in 2013, Rigetti has rounded up just shy of $200 million.”

It might have something to do with manufacturing scalability and reliability, as NextPlatform described in a chat with GlobalFoundries and the startup, PsiQuantum, in May. It might also be because the high sights they’ve set—building a fault-tolerant, million-qubit quantum system—seem to have grounding in manufacturable, scalable reality with GF as a partner that has already made its own investments in superconducting materials, photonics, and quantum system making.

In NextPlatform’s conversation with PsiQuantum, it became clear they’re playing the long game. As Pete Shadbolt, PsiQuantum CSO tells us, the startup has a “handful” of paying customers even without a functioning quantum system. These customers are looking at algorithms in chemistry and finance. “We’ll spend the next few years continuing to develop the technology to the point where it’s useful. That’s expensive. We have 150 people, most in Silicon Valley, and we do novel semiconductor process development, for instance, we have been putting superconducting photon detectors into large R&D like GlobalFoundries. That’s expensive. We’re building a big machine, we’ll spend all this money building the quantum computer.”

The company has a sizable list of patents ranging from novel materials to photonic operations. “We’ve been patenting our work since the founding of the company, patenting across entire technical spectrum, all the way to basic semiconductor processing to materials development up to quantum algorithms and everything in between—packaging, devices, photonics, CMOS electronics, cryogenic systems, error correcting codes,” Shadbolt says.

NextPlatform writes, “We are making the bold prediction that one of the most noteworthy quantum acquisitions of the 2020s will be Microsoft buying PsiQuantum. … Microsoft has made its own investments in building its own machines. With the GlobalFoundries partnership and assumed manufacturability and usability, the first cloud to provide this kind of service could own the future of quantum…”

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