The University of Maryland has launched a new business development arm to nurture quantum-focused startups. The Quantum Startup Foundry—created through an initial $25 million investment from the university's newly established Discovery Fund, and with key funding from the state of Maryland—will support new businesses in the quantum technology field.
University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines announced the Quantum Startup Foundry at an event honoring UMD's inventions, startups, mentors and student entrepreneurs. Pines said the quantum technology field stands "poised to disrupt everything from cybersecurity and energy, to medical discoveries and the financial field."
The new Quantum Startup Foundry is also backed by a $10 million capital investment for quantum facilities and supported by UMD's status as one of the world's leading centers for quantum science research. The Quantum Startup Foundry will help cement UMD's and the region's position as "the Capital of Quantum," said President Pines.
The Quantum Startup Foundry also draws from the Mid-Atlantic Quantum Alliance (MQA)—comprised of universities, major corporations, startups, and government labs. The 24-member MQA is a rapidly growing hub of quantum technology research, development, innovation and education organized and facilitated by UMD. For more than a year, Mid-Atlantic Quantum Alliance workgroups have been creating ways for MQA members to easily collaborate, team-up to pursue opportunities, educate the public about the promise of the second quantum revolution, and share resources, facilities, equipment, expertise and data.
The idea for the Quantum Startup Foundry grew from work of the MQA, according to UMD Chief Innovation Officer Julie Lenzer, who also leads the Quantum Startup Foundry (QSF). The advisory board members of the new QSF are all part of the alliance, said Lenzer.
Lenzer said that the QSF will work to enable quantum technology breakthroughs. The foundry will seek to launch and grow new startups and connect quantum businesses with mentors, existing companies, and infrastructure—all to create or advance technologies that use principles of quantum physics.
Lenzer said that through UMD's international incubator, the QSF also will be able to provide a landing spot for international quantum startups.
"While the promise of quantum may seem far off, it's not," Lenzer said. "The future is quantum, and it starts now."