Why Sandbox AQ breaks away from Google

Sandbox AQ has reached the age of reason. This division of the Alphabet group, specialized in quantum computing, has become an independent start-up, after a nine-figure fundraising (the exact amount has not been disclosed) from several major Silicon Valley investors, including Breyer Capital, T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. and Guggenheim Partners LLC.

Despite its independence, the startup will naturally retain important ties to the Alphabet Group, as illustrated by the fact that Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, serves as chairman within the new structure.

A way to attract more capital

Founded six years ago, Sandbox AQ currently employs 55 people, mostly engineers, a number that should grow rapidly with the new fundraising. ” The fact of being independent will notably allow us to attract capital from outside, and therefore to grow more quickly. “said Jack Hidary, CEO of the young shoot, in an official press release.

The quantum market is indeed booming: according to Gartner, by next year, 20% of multinationals will devote part of their budget to quantum projects, compared to less than 1% in 2018.

From cryptography to health, including geolocation

Sandbox AQ is particularly interested in the application of quantum computing in three areas. The first is that of cryptography, where the start-up already offers a post-quantum cryptography offer, aimed at anticipating the day when the unparalleled computing capacities of quantum computing will make current methods obsolete. It already has several customers for this service, including operators Vodafone Business and Softbank Mobile, as well as the Wix platform.

The start-up is also interested in health, where quantum technology could make it possible to cross-reference data from different sources (electronic health records, imaging, wearables, research papers, etc.) to support the establishment of diagnoses or to discover new drugs. A partnership with the Mount Sinai Health System, the network of hospitals in the city of New York, has been established with this in mind.

Quantum computer: Amazon is working hard to catch up

Finally, the company is also working on creating a new navigation system based on geophysical signals (such as slight variations in the earth’s magnetic field and gravity) rather than satellites. A device that could, according to Sandbox, assist autonomous driving software, or even supplement the GNSS systems currently used when their signal is jammed (especially in times of conflict, as is currently the case in Ukraine).

The golden age of quantum

After long years of gestation, the quantum computing sector is now booming. Two weeks ago, the young French shoot Alice & Bob announced a record fundraising for the French ecosystem, coupled with a small technological revolution to limit the calculation errors made by a quantum computer. In January, another French company, Pasqal, merged with the Dutch Qu&Co to more quickly develop business opportunities for multinationals.

On Tuesday, researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel announced that they had built their own machine, underlining the ambitions of the Jewish state in this area. Earlier this month, California start-up Rigetti Computing went public, while Canada’s D-Wave plans to do the same. Another example is Microsoft, which last week demonstrated the underlying physics for creating topological qubits, which would prove to be more stable than the qubits currently in use. A discovery that the computer giant presented as a major step on the road to designing this type of qubits.