Chicago Quantum Summit. Left to right: Alex Keesling, Mert Esencan, Yoann Jestin, Lisa Rooth, and Sean Sullivan. (photo by Anne Ryan)

A word from Duality Director Ezunial (Eze) Burts III:

Duality’s success with cultivating new ventures continues to grow and positively impact this dynamic, fast-growing quantum ecosystem.

During the past quarter, our startups have cultivated vital relationships, gained traction, de-risked the market and their technology roadmaps, and enhanced their commercial success in the marketplace:

One of these opportunities for relationship building, the Collaboratorium event continues to serve as a premier matchmaking venue for Duality startups to connect with UChicago students and extend mutually beneficial job opportunities to commercialize cutting-edge quantum technologies. It’s especially valuable because most Duality startups are early-stage ventures with limited resources available to acquire top talent to advance their business objectives. Cohort 3 startups have hired 20+ new employees since the event in September.

Another incredible resource, Christine Johnson from Ingenii recently completed the Polsky Center I-Corps program. “Ingenii set out to validate the economic business advantages of quantum computing within medical imaging diagnostics and drug discovery – two promising candidates for near-term advantage. The interviews so far verified significant computational challenges across both fields, specifically in multi-target binding affinity predictions for drug discovery and processing of robust, high-dimensional images in diagnostics,” said Johnson.

Ingenii will be applying to the national I-Corps program early next year to continue interviews to further validate where in the pipeline quantum machine learning can add the most value and nearest term application. “The Ingenii team fully engaged with the I-Corps process – they kept an open mind, identified key assumptions they needed to test, and made an effort to speak with a diverse range of stakeholders. They were also integral members of the cohort by sharing feedback with and supporting other teams in the program,” said Ellen Zatkowski, senior associate director and program lead.

Of note, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration in October designated The Bloch Tech Hub in Illinois as one of the 31 inaugural Tech Hubs in regions across the country that show potential for rapid growth in key technology sectors. Duality was recognized in The Bloch’s proposal for its role in the Chicago quantum ecosystem, attracting quantum innovators to the region, equipping them to successfully commercialize quantum technologies, and incentivizing them to stay.

In November, Duality launched its series of Chicago Opportunity Zone Consortium programming designed to attract investments that create jobs, build wealth, and promote equitable development in Chicago. Duality startups from Cohorts 2 and 3 kicked off the afternoon panel on day 1 of the sixth annual Chicago Quantum Summit; and our startups and ecosystem partners were integral in presenting the inaugural World Business Chicago Quantum / Deep Tech Immersion Week.

Duality represented at the WBC Quantum Deep Tech Immersive Week

More recently, we welcomed Lisa Hearon (see above, far left) as our new associate director of Duality. She joins at a critical time: we are refreshing Duality’s key performance indicators (KPIs), launching new initiatives to enhance operational excellence and the long-term financial sustainability of our service delivery model.

We are delighted to welcome Lisa to our Duality team at this exciting time in our rapidly evolving quantum startup ecosystem. Lisa will be a tremendous asset to Duality throughout its next stage of growth. She is an innate people-builder, with a track record of quickly building trust, and enabling cohesive team dynamics in work environments spanning industry and academia.

“In my first 30 days at the Polsky Center, I have observed a vibrant and dynamic ecosystem of aspiring startups and entrepreneurs, driven by a passion and determination to bring innovative quantum ideas to life,” said Lisa. “The collaborative and supportive environment fosters a culture of creativity and growth, making this an exciting place to be. I’m excited to collaborate with the cohorts and contribute to the success of their efforts as we work together to nurture a thriving startup ecosystem.”

We are eager to deploy the second half of the Cohort 3 programming experience in 2024, and we are preparing to open Cohort 4 applications on January 8, 2024. Thanks for your continued support and partnership!

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