Duality, the nation’s first accelerator exclusively for quantum companies, has accepted five startups from across the globe into the second cohort of the year-long accelerator based in Chicago, IL.
Duality is led by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago and the Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE), along with founding partners, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Argonne National Laboratory, and P33.
“Illinois is proud to welcome the second cohort of quantum startups to the nation’s preeminent research corridor in the field, yet another testament to the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois’ leadership in this sector,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Quantum will be the defining feature of the 21st century’s technological advancements, and I’ve directed $200 million in state funding to facilitate Illinois’ global leadership in the quantum race. I want to also thank our powerhouse universities as well as our national laboratories and private sector partners for making that leadership possible – as demonstrated by Duality’s first cohort, the success is only beginning.”
Launched in April 2021, Duality is a first-of-its-kind accelerator aimed at supporting next-generation startups focused on quantum science and technology. The 12-month program provides world-class business and entrepreneurship training from its partner institutions and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Duality Cohort 1 startups have secured more than $8.5 million in funding; grew from an average of 4.3 employees before starting the program to an average of 7.6, with exponential growth expected by many within the next two years. All of the startups will maintain a presence in Chicago.
“The inaugural cohort has seen incredible growth and connected with dozens of mentors, building relationships that have led to several new business opportunities. We are excited to build off this momentum with the selection of five new startups developing quantum technologies across a range of applications,” said Eric Ginsburg, interim director of Duality and senior director, intellectual property and technology development at the Polsky Center.
“The first cohort of startups have benefited greatly from the industry exposure and strong connections to the CQE corporate partners and broader CQE ecosystem, and we look forward to introducing this new cohort of startups into our quantum community,” added Preeti Chalsani, deputy director of Duality and director of industry partnerships, Chicago Quantum Exchange.
Duality Cohort 2:
- Icosa Computing // A US-based startup building quantum computing and physics-enhanced optimizers for financial institutions
- memQ // A US-based company building technology to enable the quantum internet
- Quantescence // A France- and US-based quantum computing software startup that has created a quantum emulator platform
- SCALINQ // A Sweden-based startup developing unique packaging solutions for superconducting quantum chips
- Wave Photonics // A UK-based startup using computational techniques to accelerate integrated photonics design
The selected ventures were chosen from a competitive pool of applicants from across the globe, vetted by an internal review process, and approved by Duality’s Governing Board.
“We’re at such an exciting moment in the development of quantum technologies, and the breadth of startup companies in the second cohort underscores the state’s global draw as a hotbed of quantum innovation,” said Susan Martinis, vice chancellor for research and innovation at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “From homegrown ventures to European startups, we’re building a quantum-powered future in Illinois—and the world is taking note.”
Through Duality, each startup will receive $50,000 in unrestricted funding and mentorship from top quantum experts. Selected startups will have the opportunity to explore partnerships and access to some of the region’s state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for advanced computing, nanofabrication, atomic-scale measurement, quantum testbeds, and other premier resources.
“It’s exciting to see the Chicago region driving the future of quantum information science and engineering,” said Paul Kearns, director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, a founding partner in Duality. “Our scientific leadership is providing early-stage startups the expertise and facilities they need to bring transformative quantum innovations to market. Together, we are accelerating science and technology for U.S. prosperity and security.”
The region has become a burgeoning hub for quantum technology and new venture creation and is home to four of ten federally funded Department of Energy and National Science Foundation quantum research centers, including QuBBE, led by UChicago, Q-NEXT, led by Argonne National Laboratory, Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center (SQMS), led by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and Hybrid Quantum Architectures and Networks (HQAN), led by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.