Business / Computer science / Software

IonQ is set to make its public trading debut. Here’s a look at the quantum computing company’s 2021 highlights

The College Park-based company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange as of Friday, and is set to raise $635M. Since announcing the deal in March, it added a host of partnerships to explore industry uses of quantum computing.

IonQ's Kai Hudek in the lab. (Courtesy photo)

This week, College Park, Maryland quantum computing company IonQ is officially going public.

Following a merger with dMY Technology Group Inc. III, which is a special purpose acquisition company based in Las Vegas, the firm will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, Oct. 1. The merger was officially approved on Tuesday by dMY III stockholders.

The company will be trading under the symbol ‘IONQ’, and CEO Peter Chapman said it is expected to raise $635 million, with an additional $132 million in outstanding warrants. Of this, $350 million will be raised through private investment in public equity (PIPE) funding from investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company, Silver Lake, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, MSD Partners, Hyundai and Kia.

Founded in 2015 by University of Maryland College Park professor Dr. Chris Monroe and Duke University professor Dr. Jungsang Kim, IonQ specializes in trapped ion quantum computing. Drawing on two decades of research, the company is working to create more powerful computers than those currently available, and apply the technology to solving foundational problems in new ways.

IonQ first announced plans to go public earlier this year, estimating that the company would be valued at $2 billion when the deal closed. Chapman told that the IPO will make IonQ more competitive in talent recruiting and help it to reach the manufacturing stage with its products, particularly in quantum networking.

“This was not actually a liquidity event for us,” Chapman said. “Most people when they get to an IPO, they’re thinking about how can they cash out there. But there isn’t anyone actually cashing out. We just thought of this as a means to an end on how to raise money.”

Going forward, Chapman said the company expects to double its 90-person team, which is spread across offices in College Park, Seattle and Boston.

Since it announced the IPO in March, 2021 has been a banner year for IonQ. It has landed partnerships that will help to further explore real-world applications of quantum computing with GE Research, the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology, Goldman Sachs and QCWare, Google, Accenture and Softbank. It is teaming with the University of Maryland on a new lab in College Park.

When it comes to tech advances, the company launched what it says is the industry’s first reconfigurable multicore quantum architecture, as well as designed and launched a chipset known as Evaporated Glass Traps. This year also brought its second research credit program cohort, which offers free credits to academics building novel quantum algorithms (Want to know more about quantum’s rise out of the lab? Check out our explainer here).

“[Going public] will lift all the boats in quantum computing in this sense that we can show that it can be done in quantum now, and that’s probably good for the entire industry,” Chapman said.

Nir Minerbi, CEO and cofounder of Classiq, a fellow quantum company, agrees, although he thinks there’s still more work to be done in the industry.

“Organizations understand that the ability to extract true business value from quantum computing grows as more qubits with higher quality are available,” said Minerbi in a statement. “IonQ’s funding is good news for the industry and their quantum roadmap is encouraging as well.”

As the company moves into the new year, Chapman said IonQ will be expanding into the drug discovery, materials science and battery industries. But, he noted, the possibilities with quantum computing offer plenty of new, yet-to-be-discovered options, as well.

“Every day at the company is fun. You have a customer that’s doing something that has never been done before,” Chapman said. “It’s a pretty exciting place to be.”

Companies: IonQ

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