Last week, the Canadian federal government announced funding for four Waterloo-based quantum technology businesses and organizations totaling $41 million. Delivered through the Strategic Innovation Fund, this money further strengthens Canada’s position in the world of quantum computing and machine learning and further affirms Waterloo’s nickname “Quantum Valley.”
The four quantum investments include:
- Quantum Valley Ideas Lab – a non-profit organization spun off from Quantum Valley Investments – which funds quantum technology companies – is developing a new facility that will create new quantum-related products and businesses. A $20 million investment will help staff the facility with researchers, engineers and technology experts.
- Cognitive Systems – this quantum security company uses a home’s wireless network to detect motion and will use the $7.3 million investment to integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning into its software.
- ISARA Corp – a pioneer in quantum-safe encryption methods, this $7.2 million investment will help this quantum company develop new approaches to protecting information in personal and digital transactions, which include applications in industries such as banking, government and automotive technologies.
- High Q Technologies – a $6.5 million investment will help this quantum company to develop new medical devices that will enable potentially life-saving treatments for illnesses such as cystic fibrosis.
Waterloo already has a global reputation as a leader in quantum technology and research. Home to a complete theory to commercialization ecosystem, visionaries like Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin have invested more than $480 million in organizations like Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo and Quantum Valley Investments over the last 20 years.
It was recently reported that the University of Waterloo is also the only Canadian university in the IBM Q Network collaboration, which is a community of Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, startups and research labs working to advance and explore practical applications for quantum computing.
New discoveries in quantum physics will soon power exciting technologies with the potential to change the world, especially in areas such as security and communication. In fact, some experts believe that quantum codebreaking is so near at hand that companies that aren’t preparing for it face a significant threat.
Waterloo is quickly becoming a focal point for companies looking to develop new quantum products, incorporate quantum technology into their existing products or address the potential security threat posed by quantum computers. Local companies, including ISARA, High Q Technologies and Cognitive Systems, are just a small sample of the growing cluster of quantum businesses finding success in Waterloo.
“Their success also adds to the collective experience and talent density for the Canadian tech industry… and helps validate the viability of a quantum industry in Canada, building an international brand that will help us attract researchers, entrepreneurs and venture capital,” said Mike Lazaridis, one of the founders of BlackBerry, at the funding announcement (as reported by the Waterloo Region Record).
This announcement comes on the heels of another $18 million investment in Waterloo-based tech hub Communitech to help launch tech startups onto the global stage, and an additional $6.8 million for three additional Waterloo-based companies.