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Quantum leap: Honeywell to invest up to $300M in UK-based Cambridge Quantum Computing

Ilyas Khan

American tech giant Honeywell is upping its bet on redefining the future of quantum computing by combining its own three-year-old group with British startup Cambridge Quantum Computing. Now, the company is pledging to invest up to $300 million (nearly £212 million) in the new venture. This investment round will reportedly be closed later this year.

Investment in quantum computing

The combined company will be pitted against the likes of major quantum computing players including IBM, Google, and Microsoft. Honeywell predicts the quantum computing market to be worth $1 trillion. Notably, IBM is already an investor in Cambridge Quantum Computing, a global player in this space.

Furthermore, Honeywell’s ion-based quantum computing hardware has already reached a quantum volume of 512. This is the highest ever volume measured on a commercial quantum computer to date.

“Since we first announced Honeywell’s quantum business in 2018, we have heard from many investors who have been eager to invest directly in our leading technologies at the forefront of this exciting and dynamic industry – now, they will be able to do so,” Adamczyk said in the announcement. “The new company will provide the best avenue for us to onboard new, diverse sources of capital at scale that will help drive rapid growth.”

Who will head the new venture?

With the announcement of the deal, Honeywell will own a majority of the new venture. Honeywell Chair and CEO Darius Adamczyk will be the chair of the new venture. Ilyas Khan, CEO and founder of CQC, will run the combined company. Tony Uttley, the president of Honeywell’s current quantum unit, will be the president of the combined firm. The combined firm will have more than 300 employees, including 100 with doctorates.

“Joining together into an exciting newly combined enterprise, HQS and CQC will become a global powerhouse that will develop and commercialize quantum solutions that address some of humanity’s greatest challenges, while driving the development of what will become a $1 trillion industry,” Khan said. “I am excited to lead a company that has the best people and technologies in the quantum computing industry and the best and boldest clients. Together we will lead the industry as it grows and matures, and create tangible, credible, provable and science-led advances.”

Aspirational growth plans

Honeywell believes that the combined company will offer the world’s highest-performing quantum computer and a full suite of quantum software. This will include the first and most advanced quantum operating system. These technologies will support customer needs for improved computation in diverse areas including cybersecurity, drug discovery and delivery, material science, finance, and optimization across all major industrial markets. Also, the company will focus on the advancement of natural language processing to fully leverage the possibilities of quantum artificial intelligence.