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Quantum boffins and bread-heads form new VC fund

Place your very, very, long range bets here

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Most pundits put prime-time commercial-grade quantum computing at some distance in the future, with only a few notable exceptions. While D-Wave is selling computers it says use a process known as quantum annealing, and there exists a handful of companies selling kit for quantum key distribution, we're not even scratching the surface.

That's not deterred a bunch of investors who operate under the fund handle "QWave" from finding a slew of PhDs to help them place their bets and announcing its first round of funding offers.

QWave is not exclusively devoted to the quantum world. Qwave's announcement gives its interests as developing technologies “based on material sciences and physics”, including “quantum information processing, meta-materials and nano-photonics”.

Recipients sharing $US7 million of funding include:

  • Photonic meta-material specialist Nano-Meta, whose technology fits into the quantum optics, sensing and biomedical markets; and
  • Clifton, an Estonian outfit with an epitaxy process for manufacturing high-voltage GaAs devices;
  • Centice, whose technology focuses on chemical sensing for detecting drugs and explosives.

QWave says the patches it's working are ill-served by venture capital. That probably makes physics and materials sciences attractive from a few angles: they won't have the instant overvaluation that comes with Silicon Valley cool-factor, and rather than climbing over other VCs' bodies for anything worthwhile, QWave gets to at least start by cherry-picking the market.

The fund's scientific advisory board includes “professors and scientists from Harvard, Purdue and quantum centres around the world, including Canada, Russia and Singapore”, QWave says. ®

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