Advisors, Mentors, Consultants
Although the founders and early team members are the all-important elixirs to whether or not a startup has the potential to gain success, there are other factors too that mustn’t be overlooked in the slow rise to either consistent venture capital funding, an acquisition scenario or — though on rare occasions — that magical IPO.
One of them, and this is particularly important in companies striving to make it in the deep tech sectors like Quantum and AI, is the ability to attract top-notch scientific minds to act as advisors.
In general, advisors for other, less tech-based industries can be good for hiring and firing, legal issues or just to give the startup’s founders, CEOs etc. important industry knowledge and experience that they may lack.
Not in deep tech, though. In sectors like quantum, sooner or later the founders are going to need some outside help, even if they are technical/scientific founders themselves.
These specialists can come in the form of advisors (who are usually compensated with equity), informal, unpaid mentors or consultants, who though work similarly to advisors in their capacity are often external hires paid in cash to perform specific projects or tasks.
Whatever the outcome, they can be expensive, but worth it.
With the quantum tech industry growing exponentially in regard to cash invested by venture capitalists, government agencies spending on research and the number of startups sprouting up, the need for all these sectors (VCs, governments, private players) to find experts in the fields is unprecedented with the physics, mathematics, engineering and other STEM-based university faculties being the prime hunting ground for talent.
So, to give more insight into this, TQD has gathered a list of 126 individuals who act as either consultants or advisors for the numerous startups in quantum tech.
As usual, the list is non-exhaustive. I chose the ones included on the pretext because they work in some capacity for a startup rather than one of the bigger players like Google or IBM. Some, like Agnostiq, SheQuantum, Zapata Computing, and a few others have more than one individual represented (in SheQuantum’s case 14).
Why, you ask, would I do this and leave advisors out from other startups? The reason: availability of information on them. Academics, though not always (think Richard Feynman), can be a shy bunch (think Paul Dirac), and getting the right information by way of updated LinkedIn profiles, correct resumes, and deep and insightful university profiles is not always easy to get. Some of the more high-profile scientists on the list have excellent sources, comprehensive academic profiles and a healthy online presence — with them, it was a piece of cake.
For those I left out, I’m sorry. You’re still great!
Another point to make is that women make up 10 of the 126 advisors, not surprising really but a statistic that hopefully will change in the coming years.
Because of the length of this piece (close to 17,000 words), we have decided to publish it as six separate posts. Today’s: 1–21, will then be followed by five more: 22–42, 43–63, 64–84, 85–105, and finally, 106–126.
*All data correct as of late August 2021
1. Mark Schmidt: Scientific Advisor, 1QBit
First off we have Mark Schmidt, a Scientific Advisor at 1QBit. An Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia, his research focuses on ML and numerical optimization.
He is a Canada Research Chair, Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, CIFAR Canada AI Chair with the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), and was awarded the more recent SIAM/MOS Lagrange Prize in Continuous Optimization with Nicolas Le Roux and Francis Bach.
Schmidt obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia.
2. Miles Stoudenmire: Scientific Advisor, Agnostiq
Along with being the first of five Scientific Advisors at Agnostiq, a Toronto-based startup building a development platform for quantum computing to help enterprises solve mission-critical tasks, Edwin Stoudenmire is a Research Scientist at the Flatiron Institute Center for Computational Physics where he leads the tensor networks project and the development of the ITensor software.
Currently developing and applying tensor network algorithms (methods for compressing very high order tensors) to a variety of problems in condensed matter physics, quantum chemistry, and ML, Stoudenmire recently proposed a framework for using tensor networks to parameterize ML models (related to kernel learning / SVM models). This leads to scaling with the size of the training set that is only linear at training time and constant at test time. It also presents opportunities to better understand what the model is learned and how it will generalize to unseen data.
With a Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara, Stoudenmire was also a postdoctoral scholar at UC Irvine and the Perimeter Institute.
3. Anne Broadbent: Scientific Advisor, Agnostiq
The first woman included on the list, Anne Broadbent is a Scientific Advisor at Agnostiq. An Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Ottawa, Canada, where she holds the University Research Chair in Quantum Information Processing, she is best known for her work on ‘Blind Quantum Computing’ through her research on quantum complexity and cryptography can only help Agnostiq develop its quantum computing security software products and other applications further.
Broadbent was awarded the NSERC Doctoral Prize (2009), the John Charles Polanyi Prize in Physics (2010), the Ontario Early Researcher Award (2016) and the André Aisenstadt Mathematics Prize of the Centre de Recherches Mathématiques (2016). She is also a CIFAR Global Scholar Alumni and an affiliate member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, the Institute for Quantum Computing, and the Institut Transdisciplinaire d’Informatique Quantique.
She has a Ph.D. in Quantum Nonlocality, Cryptography and Complexity from the University of Montreal.
4. Aephraim Steinberg: Scientific Advisor, Agnostiq
A Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto, Aephraim Steinberg is yet another Scientific Advisor at Agnostiq who specializes in quantum optics, quantum information, entangled photons, ultracold atoms, and the foundations of Quantum Mechanics.
A founding member and past director of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Quantum Information and Quantum Control (CQIQC), an affiliate member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and Director of the CIFAR programme in Quantum Information Science, Steinberg’s awards include the APS Prize for best doctoral thesis in AMO Physics, the CAP Herzberg Medal and the Rutherford Medal in Physics from the Royal Society of Canada, as well as an NSERC Steacie Fellowship and a Connaught Foundation McLean Fellowship. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK), the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the Royal Society of Canada.
Steinberg obtained his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley
5. Juan Felipe Carrasquilla: Scientific Advisor, Agnostiq
Another Scientific Advisor at Agnostiq, Juan Felipe Carrasquilla’s research interests are in condensed matter physics, quantum computing and ML.
While working at Agnostiq, Carrasquilla is also a research scientist at the Vector Institute and was formerly a research scientist at D-Wave Systems Inc.
He completed his Ph.D. in Physics at SISSA, the International School for Advanced Studies in Italy.
6. Michele Mosca: Scientific Advisor, Agnostiq
Finalizing the quintet of Agnostiq’s scientific advisory board is Michele Mosca, a founder of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, a Professor in the Department of Combinatorics & Optimization of the Faculty of Mathematics and a founding member of Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.
Yet there’s more to come: he was also the founding Director of CryptoWorks21, a training program in quantum-safe cryptography, co-founded the ETSI-IQC workshop series in Quantum-Safe Cryptography which brings together a broad range of stakeholders working toward globally standardized quantum-safe cryptography, and co-founded evolutionQ, a quantum startup in quantum-safe cybersecurity products and services.
Mosca gained his D.Phil in Mathematics and Quantum Computing Algorithms from the University of Oxford.
7. Steven Touzard: External Consultant, Alice & Bob, Xanadu
Steven Touzard acts as an External Consultant at both French quantum startup Alice & Bob and Canadian concern, Xanadu, one of the world’s leading photonic quantum hardware providers.
An expert in experimental quantum mechanics, microwave engineering and cryogenics, after spending six years at Yale doing his Ph.D. in superconducting circuits, he joined Travis Nicholson’s lab in CQT as a Research Fellow. Nowadays, he is working on cold atoms, essentially changing fields from what he was doing for his Ph.D.
8. Don Towsley: Scientific Advisor, Aliro
Don Towsley is a Scientific Advisor at quantum networking platform company, Aliro. A Distinguished Professor in the College of Information & Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts — Amherst, over the years his Towsley’s research has focused on Internet protocols — especially the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), for which he and his team developed a theoretical understanding that has led to various advances such as the active queue management controller, PIE, and to the development of multipath TCP. In recent years Towsley has shifted his focus to quantum networks where he and his collaborators have developed new routing algorithms and quantum switch designs.
For his work in networking, Don has received many awards including the 2007 IEEE Koji Kobayashi Award and several lifetime achievement prizes.
Towsley gained his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Texas — Austin.
9. Nick Pullen, Scientific Advisor, Board Member, ApexQubit
Nick Pullen is the first of four Scientific Advisors and Board Members contributing to the efforts of biotechnology company harnessing its proprietary technology for the discovery of new medicines to treat patients with undruggable diseases, ApexQubit. A pharmaceutical leader, Pullen has 15+ years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry working for the likes of Pfizer, Roche and Celgene.
Pullen gained a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Southampton and currently serves as Vice President at Bristol Myers Squibb.
10. Barry Sanders, Scientific Advisor, Board Member, ApexQubit
Along with his duties at ApexQubit, Barry Sanders is Director of the Institute for Quantum Science and Technology at the University of Calgary, Lead Investigator of the Alberta Major Innovation Fund Project, where he focuses on quantum information, especially implementations and mathematical methods. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (U.K.), the Optical Society of America, the American Physical Society, the Royal Society of Canada, and a Sr. Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, as well as being Distinguished Chair Professor at the University of Science and Technology of China.
Sanders obtained his Ph.D. in Physics from Imperial College London.
11. Andris Ambainis, Scientific Advisor, Board Member, ApexQubit
While holding down roles as Scientific Advisor and Board Member at ApexQubit, Andris Ambainis is a world-renowned computer scientist active in the fields of quantum information theory and quantum computing who has contributed immensely to the fields of quantum information processing and foundations of quantum mechanics, mostly through his work on quantum walks and lower bounds for quantum query complexity.
Ambainis has held past positions at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo. He is currently a professor in the Faculty of Computing at the University of Latvia.
He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
12. Denis Farnosov, Co-founder, Scientific Advisor, Board Member, ApexQubit
The final person working tirelessly at ApexQubit is Denis Farnsonov, not only a Scientific Advisor and Board Member but, on a more personal note, a Co-founder of the Berkeley, California-based startup.
An entrepreneur by default and software engineer by education, Farnosov has more than a decade’s experience in leading IT and scientific teams across sectors. He is a lifelong learner with a passion for technology and science.
Farnosov obtained his Master’s in Data Science from UC San Diego.
13. Vladimir Algara García: Research Consultant, aQuantum
Vladimir Algara García is the first of two Research Consultants at Madrid-based quantum software engineering and programming startup aQuantum.
A Senior IT Project Manager and Software Architect at Alhambra IT, Algara García has more than 20 years of experience as a project manager, specializing in software engineering and optimizing databases with an ability to coordinate diverse teams and resources to complete objectives related to project management.
14. José María Ochoa Carriches: Cybersecurity Research Consultant, aQuantum
As well as carrying out his duties as a Cybersecurity Research Consultant at aQuantum, José María Ochoa Carriches is a Director of Cybersecurity of Alhambra IT (OneseQ) and Co-Director of LAB SEC_BlockChain. Since 2018, he has been a member of the Cloud Security Operational Committee (CSA) of the ISMS forum, and a member of the cybersecurity group for “cybersecurity awareness” of INCIBE (National Cybersecurity Institute). He collaborates as a guest professor in various courses and workshops on cybersecurity and awareness in the “educational field” with the UAM (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid).
15. Daryl Burns: Consultant and Co-Inventor, Arqit
Prior to his advisory role at Arqit, Daryl Burns worked for GCHQ, the UK’s intelligence, cyber and security agency for 34 years, most recently as the Chief of Research and Innovation and the Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor for National Security.
As an expert in cryptography and cyber security, Burns specialized in cryptologic research, analysis and design, including applications and engineering for very large-scale infrastructure. In recent years, he was responsible for steering GCHQ’s extensive programme of research and innovation. Burns retired from Government service in 2019 and is now pursuing his second career in the private sector, advising a range of clients on security protocols and their implementation, with a particular focus on quantum technologies on digital security and in human understanding of AI.
Burns gained an MA in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge.
16. Alison Vincent (She/Her): Advisory Board, Arqit
Alison Vincent is an experienced IT Industry thought leader with recent roles including Group Chief Information Security Officer at HSBC and Chief Technology Officer at Cisco. In the past, she also held technical leadership roles in NDS, Micro Focus and IBM.
She has experience in cybersecurity, research and development, strategy execution, product management, and business development, with particular expertise in digital strategy, innovation, and mergers and acquisitions. Vincent is a Non-Executive Director for BytesTechnology Group Plc, SEI Investments (Europe) Ltd, Synectics Plc and Connected Places Catapult. She is a Lay Member of Council at Southampton University and is a Technical Adviser to Telesoft Technologies Ltd, Cybertonica Ltd and UMotif Ltd.
They are a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the British Computer Society and a Fellow of the Institution of Technology and Engineering.
Vincent obtained a Ph.D. in Cryptography and Combinatorics from London University.
17. Geoffrey Taylor CB: Advisor and Co-Founder, Arqit
Along with being a Co-founder of quantum encryption Platform-as-a-Service startup, Arqit, Geoffrey Taylor is also an Advisor on the board, too.
Before co-founding Arqit, Taylor spent a 43-year career at GCHQ, in the last 22 years as a Main Board Director. Taylor was made a Companion of The Order of the Bath in 2006 for contribution to national security and economic well-being of the UK and in 2016 was awarded the US National Security Agency Director’s Medal for outstanding contribution to UK-US Special Relationship.
Taylor obtained his Ph.D. in Quantum Molecular Dynamics from Leicester University.
18. Andrew Yeomans: Advisor and Co-Founder, Arqit
The last of four scientific advisors on the Arqit board, Andrew Yeomans — like Geoffrey Taylor — is a Co-Founder of the startup. At the company, Yeomans assists with cyber innovation.
Yeomans has led information security engineering, architecture and strategy in financial services for 18 years. He was on the management board of the Jericho Forum, an international information security thought-leadership group solving the security issues of a collaborative deperimeterized world. Prior to this, Yeomans led IBM’s European technical sales for internet security. He is co-author of Java Network Security, the first book to cover secure multi-tier Java applications. He has worked with UNIX and Open-Source software since 1985, and managed and ran IBM’s Scientific and Technical Computing group’s UNIX network.
Yeomans has an MA in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Cambridge.
19. Dmitry Green: Advisor, Aspen Quantum Consulting
Quantum physicist Dmitry Green is a Scientific Advisor at Aspen Quantum Consulting, a consultancy firm made up of leading experts in legal, financial and quantum mechanics.
Green has spent his career in financial services in New York, where he has held a variety of senior roles. His responsibilities have spanned technology, portfolio construction, risk management and product management. Most recently, he was Managing Director and Chief Risk Officer at Mariner Investment Group, where he served on the Investment Committee and oversaw fixed income, private credit and equity portfolios. Prior to that, he was VP at BlackRock in Advisory Services and Quantitative Credit. Green started his career at McKinsey, where he was an Engagement Manager focused on financial institutions and manufacturing firms, such as chemicals.
In parallel, Green has continued to publish original research in quantum mechanics; his work on Majorana fermions is one of the foundational papers in topological quantum computing with 3,000 citations.
He was awarded fellowships by the NSF, Yale, and the Winston Churchill Foundation, where he is currently a Trustee.
Green gained his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics at Yale.
20. Jun Ye: Scientific Advisor, Atom Computing
A Fellow of JILA and a Fellow of NIST and specialist in atomic, molecular and optical physics, Jun Ye is a Scientific Advisor at one of the world’s most innovative QC startups, Atom Computing.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and a Fellow of the Optical Society of America. Jun Ye’s research focuses on the frontiers of light-matter interactions and includes precision measurement, quantum physics and ultracold matter, and much more.
Jun Ye has co-authored over 350 papers and has delivered over 550 invited talks. He obtained his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Colorado Boulder.
21. Michael Harries (He/Him): Investor, Advisor, Aurora
A Deep Tech investor and technologist, Michael Harries is an Investor and Advisor AT Toronto-based startup Aurora. Focused on early-stage commercialization of deep technologies, particularly AI and robotics, Harries is currently a partner at the Robotics Hub, an early-stage VC fund focused on emerging robotics and frontier technologies.
A former CTO of Kyndi Inc, a quantum-inspired natural language understanding company, Harries was also founder and CTO for Citrix Startup Accelerator, an industry-leading enterprise accelerator focused on discontinuous innovation in the enterprise infrastructure space.
Harries earned his Ph.D. in AI at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
Part Two coming soon!
The Quantum Insider (TQI)
Just in case this list hasn’t satisfied your cravings for data on scientific advisors in the quantum space, you can pop on over to The Quantum Insider (TQI), TQD’s very own data platform. Here you can find deep and insightful information on all aspects of the QIS industry.
TQI is an invaluable resource for journalists, researchers, investors, companies, and government agencies looking to extend their knowledge of the growing quantum tech ecosystem!
Deep Tech Insider (DTI)
Interested in other niches of deep tech? Good, TQD team has that covered, too: Check out the Deep Tech Insider, the best place for news on all that is happening in the world of deep tech.