VCs rush to get into the game of quantum computing • The Register
Venture capitalists are investing billions in quantum computing companies, betting that the technology will pay off big one day.
Rigetti, which makes quantum hardware, announced a $ 1.5 billion merger with Supernova Partners Acquisition Company II, a financial firm specializing in strategic acquisitions. Rigetti, which was valued at $ 1.04 billion before the transaction, will now be listed on the stock exchange.
Before Rigetti’s deal, quantum hardware and software companies raked in nearly $ 1.02 billion in venture capital investments this year, according to figures provided to The register by financial research firm PitchBook. This is a significant increase from the $ 684 million invested by venture capital firms in 2020 and $ 188 million in 2019.
Prior to the Rigetti deal, the biggest deal was a $ 450 million investment in PsiQuantum, valued at $ 3.15 billion, in a funding round led by venture capital firm BlackRock on July 27.
Quantum computers process information differently from classical computing. Quantum computers encode information into qubits and exponentially store more information as 1s, 0s, or a superposition of the two. These computers can evaluate the data simultaneously, while conventional computers evaluate the data sequentially, in layman’s terms.
Theoretically, this makes quantum computers considerably more powerful and enables applications such as drug discovery, which are limited by the constraints of classical computers.
No longer just the big players
Rigetti and PsiQuantum are startups in a growing field of quantum computer makers that includes heavyweights IBM and Google, which build superconducting quantum systems based on transmon qubits. D-Wave offers a flux-bit-based quantum annealing system to solve problems of limited size, but said this week that it is building a new superconducting system to solve larger problems.
Quantum computers are promising but still immature, with questions about stability, Linley Gwennap, president of the Linley Group, said in a research note last month.
“Solving the error rate problem will require substantially new approaches. If researchers can meet this challenge, quantum processors will be an excellent addition to conventional processors,” Gwennap wrote.
If the quantum ever works, there could be a huge market, hence the interest of venture capitalists, but the technology is years away from significant revenue, Gwennap said. The register.
The deals of SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Companies) like Supernova Partners tend to be very speculative, but the VC firm’s due diligence on Rigetti was more about the possible rewards if quantum computers lived up to. their hype.
Rigetti’s quantum technology is scalable, practical and manufacturable, said Michael Clifton, chief financial officer of Supernova, in a press conference this week in connection with the agreement.
“Quantum should be as big as mobile and the cloud have been over the past two decades,” said Clifton, adding that “we are focused on large addressable markets, differentiated technologies and great management teams. “.
Rigetti’s quantum computer is modular and scalable with qubit systems linked by faster interconnects. The company’s 2018 introduction system featured 8 qubits and will evolve it to an 80-qubit multi-chip system with high-density I / O and 3D signaling. The company’s roadmap includes a 1,000 qubit system in 2024 that “mitigates errors” and a 4,000 qubit system in 2026 with full error correction capabilities.
Rigetti designs and manufactures the chips for quantum computers in its own manufacturing facility, which helps speed up chip delivery. Amazon Deals access to Rigetti’s quantum hardware via AWS.
IT leaders in non-tech companies are taking quantum computing seriously, IDC said in May.
A investigation by the analyst house in April revealed that companies would allocate more than 19% of annual IT budgets to quantum computing in 2023, up from 7% in 2021. Investments would be made in quantum algorithms and systems available through the cloud for strengthen AI and cybersecurity. . ®