The round was led by funds and accounts managed by Blackrock with participation from existing investors Baillie Gifford and M12 (Microsoft’s venture fund) along with new investors Blackbird Ventures and Temasek. This brings the total amount of funding to date to $665 million with a reported company valuation of $3.15 billion.
PsiQuantum has a stated goal of building a 1 million physical qubit error corrected quantum computer by the middle of the decade using their photonic qubit technology. Unlike most other quantum hardware companies, PsiQuantum is planning to skip over the NISQ era and go directly to creating an fully error corrected machine. If they can meet this milestone it would put them considerably ahead of other quantum providers such as IBM and Google who are targeting to have 1 million qubits by the end of the decade. The company currently has 150 employees and is partnering with semiconductor foundry GlobalFoundries that is manufacturing their chips. The company believes that by leveraging a high volume semiconductor manufacturing partner rather than building their own fab or relying on a university lab facility they can accelerate their developments because they will take advantage of the experience built up over decades of semiconductor manufacturing.
One of the challenges that we see for hardware startups is how to provide a complete solution to customers. To be commercially valuable to a customer, a company will need to have available a full stack including software, libraries, cloud services, applications engineering, high levels of computer availability and reliability, customers support, etc. This is one of the advantages that established classical computing companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Google may have because they know how to provide software, provide consulting services to customers, maintain data centers that provide reliable 24/7 operations and most importantly, already have thousands of customer relationships that go back decades. PsiQuantum has not revealed their plans in this area, but presumably, part of the $450 million will be used to develop these ancillary capabilities. It is important to note that M12, Microsoft’s venture capital arm, is one of their investors. So it may be possible for PsiQuantum to partner with Microsoft and utilize Microsoft’s Quantum Development Kit and Q# software along with other Microsoft assets to accelerate the commercialization activities much like they have partnered with GlobalFoundries to have their chips manufactured.
For more about PsiQuantum’s funding announcement, you can view a news release available on their website here.
July 27, 2021