(ZDNet) According to market data analyst Pitchbook, this year has already seen $1.02 billion worth of private money funneled into the quantum computing industry — more than the three previous years combined, even with still another few months to go in 2021. This compares to a mere $187.5 million invested in the industry only two years ago and a total of $93.5 million all the way back in 2015.
Quantum computing startups have increased from a handful in 2013 to nearly 200 in 2020. And with growth has come a clearer timeline for when quantum computers might start delivering on their extraordinary promises.
“Quantum computing has been around since the 1980s, but over the past few years, we’ve come closer to both scaling the technology to a point where it can be used in real life as well as identifying initial use cases,” Itzik Parnafes, general partner at Battery Ventures, tells ZDNet.
According to Pitchbook, the field is so active that there could be some early use cases emerging in as little as three to five years, even if the technology is yet to be fully mature.
“While a so-called fault-tolerant universal quantum computer might be years away because we need more science to reach this point, we already have quantum computing architectures that will solve problems of interest for end-users in this time frame,” Christophe Jurczac, managing partner of deep physics venture fund Quantonation, told ZDNet.
Jurczac acknowledges the risk of over-hyping quantum computing, but he also stresses that the industry is at a stage where it most needs VC cash. “We need more investors and more funding, and also more projects,” says Jurczac. “It is just the beginning and referring to the value creation that’s expected in the long-term – up to $850 billion according to a recent report by BCG — I think that we should not be surprised that we see such deals, especially for late-stage companies.”