Chicago-based quantum accelerator seeks innovative startups for second cohort

Duality, the first accelerator program in the U.S. focused exclusively on supporting quantum startups, has opened applications for Cohort 2. Startups meeting the eligibility requirements have until March 25, 2022 to apply.

Startups accepted into the 12-month accelerator program get critical resources to accelerate their success, including $50,000 in non-dilutive funding, mentorship, business training, opportunities to access state-of-the-art facilities, dedicated office space, introductions to industry partners and investors, and more.

“Duality’s full spectrum of quantum venture acceleration services are powered by the collective expertise and networks of the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center, Chicago Quantum Exchange, University of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignArgonne, and P33, along with our corporate supporters,” said Chuck Vallurupalli, senior director of Duality. “It has been exciting to see Cohort 1 teams fully immerse in this unique quantum ecosystem, and we look forward to working with new companies as part of Cohort 2.”

To date, Duality corporate supporters include Amazon Web Services, Caruso VenturesLathrop GPM LLPMcDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & BerghoffSilicon Valley Bank, and Toptica Photonics. They provide financial support for the program and a combination of mentorship and other professional resources for Duality startups.

“We have here, through our partners, an exceptional combination of resources for startups working on tough technologies,” said Preeti Chalsani, deputy director of Duality. “As we look to accept the next group of companies into Cohort 2, we are interested in startups from anywhere in the world that are building businesses based on these technologies with a clear value proposition and competitive advantage.”

The Duality Technical Advisory Committee, announced earlier this month, will be actively involved in reviewing applications and selecting the next cohort for Duality. This advisory group provides ongoing guidance, technical recommendations, mentorship, and expertise to startups participating in Duality.

“Duality is a vital component of the innovation ecosystem that is forming to take quantum technologies from the lab to markets,” said Celia Merzbacher, executive director of the Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C) and a member of the Duality Technical Advisory Committee. “The program provides critical assistance to help participating companies grow and compete.”

“When I first heard about Duality and the fact that the entire quantum ecosystem in Illinois will be behind it to make it successful, I just jumped on the opportunity,” recalled Kanav Setia, cofounder and CEO of qBraid, a startup currently in Cohort 1 of Duality that won second place at the Q2B Startup Pitch Competition last week.

“I don’t think there is another place you can find that will have more to offer a quantum startup,” said Carol Scarlett, CEO of Axion Technologies, a company that participated in Argonne National Laboratory’s Chain Reaction Innovations prior to joining Cohort 1 of Duality.

“The biggest takeaway is that the Chicago area may become what Silicon Valley is for classical digital computers. The ecosystem is already huge, and on top of that, there is so much investment going in,” said Setia. “We are excited to be part of it.”

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