Xanadu’s Christian Weedbrook is raising another $200 million to build a quantum data centre

Xanadu quantum chip
The CEO of Canada's quantum unicorn is very optimistic about the country's innovation potential.

Recently on The BetaKit Podcast, we spoke with a German immigrant who has been fairly critical of Canada’s approach to innovation; he asked specifically for more courage and ambition

Today, we’re speaking with the Australian immigrant behind Canada’s quantum unicorn, Xanadu. His take? The vibes are good!

“We’ve been offered or at least suggested, ‘Why don’t you move your headquarters to the US?’ The only way we’ll move our headquarters outside of Toronto or Canada is if I get fired.”

Christian Weedbrook

Christian Weedbrook, CEO and founder of Xanadu, provides a refreshing perspective on the podcast this week relative to what BetaKit has been hearing en masse.

Some context: Weedbrook is a recent board member of Quantum Industry Canada and, so far, QIC and Xanadu have a pretty good track record of government support: $360 million CAD for a national quantum strategy; $40 million CAD to Xanadu through the feds’ Strategic Innovation Fund; and as Weedbrook put it, Xanadu is the “definition” of SR&ED credits. From his perspective, Canada is a pretty great place to build a quantum company.

Part of his optimism might be due to the fact that quantum just doesn’t face the level of attention that AI does right now—without the resulting fight for talent, froth in the market, or ScarJo fudge-ups

That’s because the tech, if you can believe it, is even earlier than AI. According to Weedbrook, nobody knows what the right approach is, even if he has a pretty good idea of the end goal: a quantum data centre.

What is a quantum data centre? don’t worry, we (he) explain it all on the podcast, traversing the spectrum of what the company offers now to what it hopes to offer one day soon… Soonish… OK, 2029.

Hey, quantum might currently be a smaller version of what we’re seeing in the AI sector, but they still need customers. And money, lots and lots of money.

Weedbrook was explicit on this podcast that his company is looking to raise another $100-200 million by year’s end or early next year—and hoping for an all-Canadian round, VC listeners take note (prior to the $40-million CAD SIF funding, Xanadu’s last institutional round was $100 million USD in 2022, led by Georgian).

Why? Hardware is hard. Quantum hardware is harder (and more expensive).

But it also contains a lot of promise. And maybe it’s just due to the stage of development but it currently doesn’t feel like the icky (or fraught) promise of AI. Again, the vibes are good right now.

So… who’s going to give Canada’s quantum unicorn a re-up? Let’s dig in.

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The BetaKit Podcast is hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Feature image courtesy Xanadu.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.

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