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Leading Quantum Companies And Investors Speak Up For More Government Support, Supply Chain Security

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Insider Brief

  • In-Q-Tel (IQT) and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a division of First Citizens Bank, host 40 founders and investors to discuss the future of quantum technologies
  • Participants worry there are too many sole providers of equipment and emphasized the urgent need to diversify and secure quantum supply chains.
  • Quantum leaders say the industry faces threats from a range of sources — from China to generative AI.

At a recent event hosted by In-Q-Tel (IQT) and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a division of First Citizens Bank, 40 founders and investors gathered to discuss the future of quantum technologies, according to a news release.

The attendees, who represented leading venture capital-backed startups in quantum computing, networking, communication and sensing, collectively have raised $1.4 billion.

“We’re on the cusp of the greatest shift in computing since the advent of the PC,” said Gerald Brady, Managing Director at SVB. “However, the technology lead in quantum that the U.S. has relative to China has halved over the last five years, given the level of state support for quantum research and startups in China. The degree of collaboration and openness to come together as a group of startups and investors is a great start, but we are in an intense technology race which requires capital.”

Supply Chain Security

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Participants emphasized the urgent need to diversify and secure quantum supply chains, according to the release. Startups heavily rely on sole suppliers for critical components, often from countries with conflicting interests. Developing reliable sources for essential components like cryogenic refrigerators was highlighted as crucial for the industry’s stability.

George Hoyem, Executive Vice President of Investments at IQT, highlighted the strategic importance of quantum technology. “Quantum technology holds immense promise for groundbreaking advancements in fields like cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and materials science,” he said. “With China projected to allocate over four times the amount of money towards quantum than the U.S. is currently targeting, we must double down on supporting quantum companies as well as research and development in the next five years.”

Attendees also registered a strong consensus on the importance of collaboration, even among competitors. Ensuring the interoperability of quantum systems remains a significant challenge. Participants discussed the potential of common optical networking protocols to link quantum computers and sensors, which could advance the industry as a whole.

Government Funding

A critical issue raised was the lack of U.S. government funding reaching innovative quantum startups. While public funding for quantum innovation is more accessible in Europe, few U.S. firms have benefited from government programs. Attendees noted that the U.S. government’s procurement of quantum technology remains low, stressing the need for increased support, especially given China’s significant investment in the field.

The release stated that the discussion also touched on the competitive landscape, noting that emerging technologies like generative AI are drawing attention and funding away from quantum tech. This shift underscores the need for strong government support to ensure the growth of the quantum sector.

Overall, the event drove home the need for robust government support and industry collaboration to address supply chain issues and ensure interoperability in the quantum sector. Rather than helping a single company, or a single approach to quantum, members wanted to ensure the success of the quantum industry in general.

As one attendee remarked in the release, “What matters isn’t that any particular company wins; it’s that quantum wins.”

Venture-backed Quantum Companies in Attendance

The event featured representatives from several leading venture-backed quantum companies, including AOSense, Atom Computing, Atomionics, IonQ, Maybell Quantum, memQ, Q-CTRL, QC Ware, QphoX, QunaSys, Qunnect, Rigetti Computing, SandboxAQ, and Universal Quantum.

In-Q-Tel (IQT) is a non-profit strategic investment firm that identifies and invests in innovative technology solutions to support the mission of the U.S. intelligence community. Founded in 1999, IQT bridges the gap between the government and private sector by investing in early-stage companies developing cutting-edge technologies in areas such as cybersecurity, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing.

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is a high-tech commercial bank that primarily serves technology, life sciences, and venture capital clients. Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Santa Clara, California, SVB services include commercial banking, investment banking and asset management. SVB is most particularly known for its deep industry expertise and strong relationships within the technology and venture capital communities. The bank was acquired by First Citizens in 2023 and operates as a division of First Citizen.

Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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