Canadian Manufacturing

Blackberry founders launch $100-million quantum computing fund

Former tech executives Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin believe that their investments and commercialization efforts will lead to new industries, jobs and value creation

WATERLOO, Ont.—Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, who together founded BlackBerry, have established a $100 million private fund that will provide financial and intellectual capital to develope and commercialize breakthroughs in quantum information science.

The fund, dubbed Quantum Valley Investments, is headquartered in Waterloo, Ont.

Lazaridis and Fregin think the research conducted by the Institute for Quantum Computing, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Waterloo Institute for Nano Technology could lead to transformative commercialization similar to the discoveries from the Nobel Prize-winning Bell Labs, which led to massive technology commercialization and ultimately created Silicon Valley.

The former tech executives believe that their investments and commercialization efforts will lead to new industries, jobs and value creation that will help transform the Waterloo Region into Canada’s “Quantum Valley.”

Labs around the world are racing to make transformative breakthroughs in quantum information science, and the research capability developed in the Waterloo region over the last 12 years make the location a big player.

“Nothing you see in the classical technology world can prepare you for what you will see in the quantum technology revolution,” says Lazaridis. “Our belief in the power of quantum physics to transform society inspired us to develop a strategy some 12 years ago that led to the world-class quantum research capability that exists in Waterloo today. This combination of technology and business experience has given us a unique understanding and deep commitment that we believe will be instrumental to the success of both this Fund and the ‘Quantum Valley’.”

Fregin adds that Quantum Physics may indeed lead to technology which we may not have dreamed of yet.

“It gives me much satisfaction not only to participate in this endeavour with Mike, but also to help build on the groundwork that we have helped lay in Quantum Physics and Nanotechnology in this region, bringing commercialization one step closer to realization for the benefit of all people,” he said.

Gord Nixon, president and CEO of Royal Bank of Canada and Chair of the Ontario Jobs and Prosperity Council said initiative such as these are crucial.

“At a time, when international competition faced by Canadian companies has increased dramatically and the need for innovation in this country is key…these nation builders have once again put their money where their mouth is to help keep Canadian breakthroughs in Canada. These transformational initiatives are critical to our future competitiveness,” said Nixon.

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