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PsiQuantum Closes $450M Venture Round

PALO ALTO — PsiQuantum has raised $450 million in Series D funding to build what the company said will be the world’s first commercially viable quantum computer. The funding round was led by BlackRock, along with participation from insiders including Baillie Gifford and M12 – Microsoft’s venture fund – and new investors including Blackbird Ventures and Temasek.

The company has raised $665 million in funding to date.

PsiQuantum was founded in 2016 by quantum technologists with a company focus on quantum fault-tolerance and error correction, requiring at least 1 million physical qubits. The company includes a team of engineers and scientists working on the entire quantum computing stack, from the photonic and electronic chips through packaging and control electronics, cryogenic systems, quantum architecture and fault tolerance, to quantum applications. In May 2020, the company started manufacturing the silicon photonic and electronic chips that form the foundation of the Q1 system to deliver a fault-tolerant quantum computer.

“Quantum computing is the most profoundly world-changing technology uncovered to date,” said Jeremy O’Brien, CEO and co-founder of PsiQuantum. “It is my conviction that the way to bring this technology into reality is by using photonics. Our company was founded on the understanding that leveraging semiconductor manufacturing is the only way to deliver the million qubits that are known to be required for error correction, a prerequisite for commercially valuable quantum computing applications. This funding round is a major vote of confidence for that approach.”

PsiQuantum is exclusively focused on building a fault-tolerant quantum computer supported by a scalable manufacturing process. The company has developed a technology in which single photons (particles of light) are manipulated using photonic circuits which are patterned onto a silicon chip using standard semiconductor manufacturing processes. PsiQuantum is manufacturing quantum photonic chips, as well as the cryogenic electronic chips to control the qubits, using the advanced semiconductor tools in the production line of PsiQuantum’s manufacturing partner GlobalFoundries.

“A commercially viable, general-purpose quantum computer has the potential to create entirely new industries ready to address some the most urgent challenges we face, especially in climate, healthcare, and energy,” said Tony Kim, managing director at BlackRock. “To see this promising technology deployed within a reasonable time frame requires it to be built using a scalable manufacturing process. Silicon photonics combined with an advanced quantum architecture is the most promising approach we’ve seen to date.”

“We invested in PsiQuantum based on the strength of the company’s bold vision matched by a robust, disciplined, stepwise engineering plan to achieve that goal,” said Samir Kumar, managing director at Microsoft’s venture fund M12. “We are impressed by the technical progress we have seen in hardware development along with refinement of a novel quantum architecture ideally suited for photonics. PsiQuantum and Microsoft have a shared perspective on the need for a good number of logical qubits enabled by fault tolerance and error correction on 1 million-plus physical qubits when it comes to building a truly useful quantum computer.”

 

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