While “product-market fit” may have become the mantra for many tech companies and investors, we believe there are still plenty of companies out there with their eyes set on building true game-changing technologies. In our Game Changers report, we identified 8 categories of innovation that could have the greatest impact on how we live. Among these is next-gen computing — specifically, quantum computers and DNA data-writing technologies, which have the potential to fast-track innovation across industries.
Quantum computers can solve real-world problems much faster than traditional computers — and their capacity is only increasing. Meanwhile, using synthetic DNA to store vastly more data than a typical chip has the potential to revolutionize computers’ memory capacity.
In our report, we identified 5 startups taking computing to the next level through quantum computing and DNA-based data writing. The top five next-gen computing game changers are Twist Bioscience, Rigetti Computing, Cambridge Quantum Computing, KnuEdge, and Optalysys. On the vanguard of computing research, many companies in the category are at the grant, seed, or Series A stage, with the notable exception of the later-stage DNA computer tech company Twist Bioscience.
Twist Bioscience’s synthesized DNA could help pioneer DNA computing, which writes data into synthetic nucleotides. DNA can last 2000+ years without deterioration, and a single gram can store almost 1T gigabytes of data. Twist is partnered with Microsoft to develop this innovative DNA computer technology.
Total Funding: $135.8M
Select Investors: DARPA, ARCH Venture Partners, Yuri Milner, Illumina, Paladin Capital Group
Rigetti Computing is aiming to build a solid state quantum processor for the world’s first quantum supercomputer. Competing with the well-funded startup D-Wave, currently the only company to offer large-scale superconducting qubit chips, Rigetti plans to eventually set up a quantum-powered cloud computing service to tackle difficult computing problems such as chemistry simulations.
Total Funding: $5M
Select Investors: Data Collective, Felicis Ventures, Susa Ventures, Y Combinator
Cambridge Quantum Computing is building a quantum operating system and developing quantum algorithms, with a specific focus on quantum cryptography for its secure currency platform. Quantum encryption techniques will be necessary as current encryption will be rendered useless (quantum computers will be powerful enough to brute-force break classical encryption methods).
Total Funding: $50M
Select Investors: Grupo Arcano
Founder (and former NASA Chief) Dan Goldin surprised the world by announcing $100M in angel funding for his 10-year-old stealth chip company. KnuEdge plans to make chips inspired by human neural networks to power artificial intelligence.
Total Funding: $100M
Select Investors: Various angels
A University of Cambridge spinout, Optalysys develops optical computing hardware for Big Data supercomputers, using light rather than electricity for processor intensive math functions.
Total Funding: $1M
Select Investors: DARPA
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