AI And Quantum Computing Startup SandboxAQ Snags $500M

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Nearly a year after spinning out of tech giant Alphabet, AI and quantum computing startup SandboxAQ has raised a $500 million round.

The round was first reported by Reuters.

Spun out last March, SandboxAQ is examining the related effects of both AI and quantum — which is where the company gets “AQ” — to develop commercial products for telecom, financial services, health care, security and other computationally intensive sectors.

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One aspect of security the startup is looking at is how companies and the government can replace current public-key cryptography algorithms with algorithms that are resistant to quantum computer-based attacks. Quantum computing is a level of compute much faster and at a level superior to classical computers that examines quantum states to perform computation.

The U.S. government has flagged quantum computing as a key technology that is important for national security reasons.

SandboxAQ has already signed up more than 15 enterprise and government customers, according to the Reuters report.

The team

SandboxAQ was housed inside of Alphabet for six years before spinning out last year. It was announced then that the company — with 55 engineers, scientists and technologists — would be led by serial entrepreneur and CEO Jack Hidary. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt serves as chairman.

At the time, the company said it had received a “nine-figure” investment, but an exact dollar figure was not released. Investors named then included Breyer Capital, Eric Schmidt, Thomas Tull, First Light Capital Group, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Guggenheim Investments, Time Ventures, Section 32, Parkway Venture Capital and other funds and investors.

Venture dollars in quantum computing hit a record level in 2021 with more than $800 million, according to Crunchbase. Last year, that number stayed pretty even, hitting $770 million despite venture dollars being down in many other sectors.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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