IonQ, an early-stage company developing quantum computing for commercial applications, today announced completion of a $20 million series B round led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and GV (formerly Google Ventures), with participation from new strategic investors. Building on the pioneering work of world-renowned experts at the University of Maryland and Duke University, IonQ plans to bring general-purpose quantum computers to market by late 2018.
"Efforts to harness quantum mechanics to accelerate computation have gained tremendous momentum in recent years, fueled by significant scientific progress and growing interest—and investment—by some of the world's largest governments, organizations and technology companies," said David Moehring, PhD, CEO of IonQ. "While there is much yet to be discovered about specific applications, there is a massive market clamoring for practical quantum computers. Building on the groundbreaking work of Chris Monroe and Jungsang Kim, IonQ's mission is to make reliable, scalable quantum computing a reality."
IonQ's team comprises some of the world's foremost experts in the field of quantum computing. Co-founders Chris Monroe of University of Maryland and Jungsang Kim of Duke University are longtime collaborators, well-known for their pioneering work in ion-trap experiments. Ion trapping is the hallmark of IonQ's approach and a key differentiator from other efforts underway. Moehring, who joined as CEO in 2016, was most recently at U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), charged with oversight of government-sponsored quantum computing initiatives.
"There is simply no team in the world with more expertise in trapped ion technology, or with greater understanding of the broader quantum computing landscape," said Ron Bernal, Venture Partner at NEA and a member of IonQ's board of directors. "We are incredibly excited to partner with Dave, Chris and Jungsang as they advance the field of quantum computing and develop a platform for its commercial applications."
IonQ's trapped ions represent one of multiple approaches being explored to power a quantum computer. Most large technology companies initiating quantum computing research attempt to leverage their core semiconductor technology by developing superconducting qubits. IonQ believes trapped ion technology, which uses lasers to cool and isolate individual ions, will prevail because trapped ions are identical, more stable, can be better controlled, and are therefore likely to scale with better performance and greater predictability.
"Quantum computers are the next giant leap in the ability to process information, and IonQ's promising approach builds on nearly two decades of research by highly regarded physicists and engineers in the field," said Blake Byers, General Partner at GV and a member of IonQ's board of directors. "Quantum computers have the potential to solve data-intensive problems in areas like healthcare, machine learning, and cryptography, and we're excited to partner with IonQ as it accelerates development."
IonQ has raised approximately $22 million in total, with an earlier $2 million invested by NEA in 2016. The company has demonstrated significant momentum over the last year, adding several new board members and strategic advisors, expanding its product development team, and attracting growing interest from both the scientific and startup communities. In addition to Bernal and Byers, new board members include Jeong Kim, former president of Bell Labs, and Andrew Schoen, Principal at NEA. John Preskill, the Director of the Institute for Quantum Information at Caltech, and Jagdeep Singh, founder and CEO of QuantumScape, Lightera Networks, and Infinera, are serving as advisors to the company.
IonQ is developing world-leading general-purpose quantum information processors. Our unique trapped ion approach combines unmatched physical performance, perfect qubit replication, optical networkability, and highly-optimized algorithms to create a quantum computer that is as scalable as it is powerful, and that will support a broad array of applications across a variety of industries. IonQ is headquartered in College Park, MD and backed by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and GV (formerly Google Ventures). Co-founders Christopher Monroe and Jungsang Kim are leading experts in the field of trapped-ion quantum computing. Professors Monroe and Kim also maintain large academic research groups at the University of Maryland and Duke University, respectively, with a combined government funding of roughly $10M per year. This pioneering work is the cornerstone of IonQ's uniquely scalable technology.
About Quantum Computing
Quantum computing represents a radical departure from classical computing and has the potential to overcome these limitations by embracing uniquely quantum phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, that emerge at atomic scale. Quantum computers' ability to perform incredibly complex calculations and data processing exponentially faster than classical computers opens up a world of possible commercial and scientific applications. The potential is staggering, and though we are still in the early days of quantum computing, we anticipate that the technology will transform industries and facilitate breakthroughs in areas as disparate as machine learning, molecular interaction simulation, cryptography, financial analysis, logistics optimization, and big data search.