BlackBerry inventors pump $100 million into quantum technologies

BlackBerry inventors Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin are pairing again to launch a $100 million fund to incubate and commercialize quantum science technologies capable of spearheading the next wave of computing.

Lazaridis, who stepped down as co-CEO of BlackBerry in January, 2012, is known for his passion for physics.

Last year, he launched the Quantum-Nano Centre, a research facility in Waterloo, Canada, to promote discoveries in emerging technologies underpinning quantum computing. He said he wanted Waterloo to become the hub of quantum technology.

"Nothing you see in the classical technology world can prepare you for what you will see in the quantum technology revolution," Lazaridis said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Our belief in the power of quantum physics to transform society inspired us to develop a strategy some 12 years ago that led to the world-class quantum research capability that exists."

Known as Quantum Valley Investments, the private fund would provide financial and intellectual resources to inventors and entrepreneurs working on quantum technologies.

Advocates for quantum computing technology say it works orders of magnitude faster than classical computing and has the potential to revolutionize fields such as drug development.

While the discipline has remained mainly an academic concept since its introduction 30 years ago, investors have begun to see commercial opportunities.

In 2012, D-Wave Systems, a Vancouver-based company working on quantum-computing applications received $30 million from Inc founder Jeff Bezos's venture investments and an investment arm of the Central Intelligence Agency.

A quantum computer should be able to tap the peculiar properties of matter itself to do calculations at the atomic level, doing away with the need for a transistor and allowing it to do massive numbers of calculations simultaneously.

(Reporting by Himank Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Paul Tait)