Colorado startup ColdQuanta, which is at the forefront of developing quantum technology systems based around laser-cooled atoms, has closed a new round of seed funding worth $10 milllion.
While there are a few different ways to create quantum systems for computing and other applications, ColdQuanta has based its approach around laser-cooled atoms. Founded by CTO Dana Anderson back in 2007 as a spin-out from the University of Colorado, the company won a series of government contracts, before securing initial seed funding in July 2018.
“Over the past 18 months, ColdQuanta has also been awarded over $7 million of US government contracts for a variety of applications of ColdQuanta’s cold atom technology,” added the firm. “This brings ColdQuanta’s cumulative research and development funding from government contracts and grants to approximately $30 million.”
Describing those contracts, which include last month’s $1 million grant from NASA to shrink quantum apparatus by an order of magnitude, as instrumental to the company advancing its quantum technology, CEO Bo Ewald said:
“The latest commitment from our investors underscores the enormous potential of quantum systems, and of ColdQuanta’s opportunity to become a major provider of quantum technology across a wide spectrum of applications.”
Matthew Kinsella, the managing director at Maverick Ventures, said that since its initial investment ColdQuanta’s cold-atom approach had shown “highly compelling” results.
He added: “We believe that quantum systems will transform both industries and people’s lives in the future, and we see a major role for ColdQuanta in aiding this transformation.”
Laser industry connections
Among ColdQuanta’s executive team is chairman Timothy Day, one of the founders of quantum cascade laser (QCL) company Daylight Solutions. In 2017 the Italy-headquartered defense company Leonardo acquired Daylight in a deal valued at $150 million.
Also on the board of ColdQuanta, and listed in the company’s latest filing with the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), is Dirk Müller, the director of strategic marketing at laser giant Coherent.
Speaking at the LASER World of Photonics trade show in Munich, Germany, earlier this year, Anderson described the current state-of-the-art in quantum systems as “primitive”, akin to the early days of the transistor.
But he also predicted that future developments in the field would be largely a matter of engineering – rather than requiring significant scientific breakthroughs – and said that photonics components would be critical for making quantum applications not just possible, but practical.
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