New Funding Round
Fresh off a round that topped up Aegiq’s funding to $4.9 million, not days before, The Quantum Insider sat down for a chat with the company’s CEO Maksym Sich at The Economist’s Commercialising Quantum conference.
A University of Sheffield spinoff that he co-founded along with Andrii Iamshanov and Scott Dufferwiel, Aegiq’s quantum photonics platform — based on high-performance single-photon sources — enables a wide variety of applications for quantum communications, quantum computing and imaging.
First of all, we asked Sich why Aegiq was set up. He pointed out it was a combination of great technology and a great opportunity.
“We have seen quantum tech developing since the early 2000s. I’ve been part of this since 2010. We saw the evolution and where it’s going. The other fact was I could get together a really good team,” said Sich on his early beginnings in the industry and the genesis of Aegiq.
On the startup’s technology and the targeted applications, Sich said the platform is a lynchpin for a range of applications.
“In a similar way that lasers are used everywhere,” Sich began, “from communications to therapy. From laser eye correction to manufacturing range finders and temperature sensors… It’s all using their own lasers. What we do is the same but in the quantum realm.”
With quantum a very expensive business, we moved the conversation on to Aegiq’s recent funding and how the cash injection would aid Sich and co in their commercial mission.
“It’s critical for any deep-tech company to assemble the core R&D team, to spend the money on the product development because it isn’t cheap”, said Sich, before adding that funding is essential to get you to your first technical milestone.
With the assembly of a crack R&D team crucial, we asked Sich whether recruitment was a problem in the quantum tech industry.
“I wouldn’t say it’s easy. Finding great people in any industry is not an easy job. And multiply the fact that there aren’t enough people qualified — or people who are even aware of quantum — and it is definitely a challenge,” said Sich. “We always try to send this message to include quantum in the curriculum at universities so that graduates, when they emerge, are at least aware and comfortable with it.”
To finish the interview, we asked Sich as a scientist — both professionally and at heart — did being a CEO mean he had little time to do more of the things he loved.
Sich’s answer was an expected one:
“This is part of the reason I said we needed a team from the very start. The amount of work that needs to be done, from fundraising to technical development, working with the government programs like Innovate UK, all this takes a lot of effort and time. This is why one cannot do it on their own, it’s nearly impossible.”
It was nearly lunchtime: Aegiq’s CEO — a busy man, naturally — said he hadn’t eaten since the day before. Respectful to his wishes, we finished the interview.
It’s apparent that Aegiq’s technology is promising — the two rounds of funding testimony enough there are venture capitalists who believe in what Sich, Iamshanov and Dufferwiel are doing.
Maksym Sich is CEO, Co-Founder of Aegiq and a Deeptech Entrepreneur. He obtained his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Sheffield, a BSc in Economics and Finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science.