Google’s Sandbox Group expands with funding from Schmidt, Benioff

  • Sandbox, Alphabet’s quantum software team, launches as an independent SaaS company.
  • Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt invests and joins Sandbox AQ board as chairman.
  • Marc Benioff and Thomas Tull are also among the investors.

Sandbox, the quantum technology group born within Alphabet, is spinning as an independent venture-backed SaaS company called Sandbox AQ.

The company plans to develop enterprise software that uses quantum technologies to “address pressing global challenges” and cites cybersecurity, drug development and clean energy among the areas it says can have an impact.

Sandbox AQ has also raised a series of investments, with the backing of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who is also joining the group as chairman. Breyer Capital, Thomas Tull, First Light Capital Group and Marc Benioff’s Time Ventures fund are also investing. The exact amount raised could not be learned, but Hidary told Insider the number was “well in the nine digits.”

Insider previously reported that Sandbox is preparing to leave Google’s parent company. It was originally created by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who appointed entrepreneur Jack Hidary to lead and build the team. Insiders Say It was known internally as “Sergey’s Sandbox”.

Unlike Google’s teams in Santa Barbara, which build quantum computers, Sandbox focuses on how quantum technology intersects with software and artificial intelligence. His work has included building more powerful medical sensors using quantum AI, and helping conventional software engineers use quantum computers.

Hidary, a polymath in computing, machine learning and quantum computing, will continue to lead the company as CEO and will be joined by a team of 55 employees, some of whom were part of [email protected] The company says it will use the new funding to hire more AI experts, physicists and engineers.

The company said its current customers include SoftBank Mobile, Vodafone Business and New York’s Mt. Sinai Health System.

“I am investing in Jack and Sandbox AQ because of the scalability of its enterprise software,” Marc Benioff said in an emailed statement. “Jack mimics the way harnessed the cloud computing era and applies it to the quantum technology era. »

Speaking to Insider, Jim Breyer, CEO of Breyer Capital, said there was a “tremendous opportunity” for quantum technology in medicine and healthcare, but said cybersecurity would be where Sandbox AQ could have the most immediate impact.

“I think the biggest use case over the next two years will be in building quantum secure networks,” he told Insider. “In this world where cybersecurity is more important than ever, quantum technology and quantum security will at some point be absolutely essential. »

Eric Schmidt has previously urged the United States to take action with AI and quantum computing to stay ahead of China.

Jim Breyer added that getting out of Alphabet would help Sandbox AQ “move quickly at startup pace,” which he says will be important for the company.

Breyer told Insider that Alphabet will continue to work closely with Sandbox AQ, but an Alphabet spokesperson confirmed the company has no financial interest in Sandbox AQ. “We were happy to help Jack transition to an independent company and look forward to seeing their progress,” the spokesperson added.

Sandbox AQ, however, announced an advisory board made up of Google and non-Google names, including Andrew Conrad, CEO of Alphabet’s Verily unit; Marc Porat, brother of Ruth Porat, CFO of Google; Wendy Tan White, CEO of Alphabet’s Intrinsic; Yossi Matias, vice president of research and engineering at Google; and Susan M. Gordon, former Senior Director of National Intelligence.

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