Canada’s Impressive Number of QC Software Companies Putting U.S in The Shade

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Photo: Ali Tawfiq

Twenty Startups

Nobody can doubt that in the private sector in quantum computing (QC) the U.S is the dominant player. As of September 2020 from statistics taken from TQD’s extensive dataset, there are, all told, thirty-six QC companies active within the United States of America. Of those three dozen, sixteen are hardware companies while the other twenty focus their attention on software solutions.

North of the 49th parallel, Canada can boast twenty concerns. Sixteen software companies and four hardware. Seeing as Canada’s population of just over 37 million is small in comparison to its mighty neighbour to the south — whose 331 million is over eight times Canada’s — you can see how well along the Canadians are in the QC race.

Another factor to consider is GDP. Canada’s, as of 2018, was $1.7T versus the U.S’s $20.5T, nearly twenty times bigger.

Yet GDP only tells part of the story: commodity prices and political stability/instability can also play a part, too — has Donald’s Trump election in 2016 got anything to do with that? Or the COVID-19 pandemic?

Putting politics and the Black Swan event of the pandemic aside though, if we wanted to get granular, and divide the populations of each country by the number of companies doing business, it’s easy to see who the winner would be.

Canada has far more QC startups per head than the U.S.

 

Through all this, however, is another pattern — and this concerns the main approach of startups within both countries. Generally speaking, quantum computing companies should be divided into four general categories:

Those offering solutions in:

Hardware

Software

Communications

Consulting

Just look at this stats for a second:

Canadian software companies (16)

Canadian hardware companies (4)

U.S software companies (20)

U.S hardware companies (16)

The U.S clearly dominates in the hardware sector but things are a little bit tighter in companies whose main business model is in software.

“We are very proud of the quality of the researchers that we have attracted and the state of the art teaching, laboratories and fabrication facilities that we have established as part of our world class centre for the development and commercialization of quantum technologies. We are excited by the opportunities for the world that are already emerging as part of the Second Quantum Revolution and the opportunity that the Quantum Valley is establishing for itself as a leading global centre in this new large scale and exciting industry.”

— Mike Lazaridis, Quantum Valley Investments

Companies like 1Qbit, Agnostiq, Boxcat, Netramark, ProteinQuire, ReactiveQ, and Solid State AI are flying the flag along with others for Canada in the software sector while down south — with only four more companies than their northern counterparts in QC software — America’s representatives Aliro Technologies, Polaris Quantum Biotech, Qbit Logic, QC Ware, Qubit Engineering, Strangeworks, and Zapata Computing are working as hard to achieve their goals of offering painless, customer-centric QC software solutions.

We’ve all heard of Silicon Valley, haven’t we? The place that was once a beacon of innovation and thought leaders but now is more famous for its wild fires, homelessness and overpriced property. The province of Ontario, often called Quantum Valley in the media, has — in some ways — taken the mantle as one of the homes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the quantum revolution, thanks, in part, to the number of startups that have arisen in places like Waterloo and Toronto and from the efforts of certain individuals such as Mike Lazaridis, the Greek-Canadian founder of BlackBerry and Quantum Valley Investments — though to date the investment fund has only pumped money into leading provider of quantum-safe and crypto-agile security Isara Corporation to the value of $11.5M back in 2015.

Those who have ever seen the hilarious movie of the late, great John Candy Canadian Bacon will realize U.S-Canadian relations have always been ‘cordial’. And why should they be? The Canadians, on the whole, are lovely people: unassuming, polite, liberal to the core and with a sense of justice and fairness unparalleled globally. In the shadow of their American buddies for most of their history, maybe QC will give the country a chance to shine on the global stage and, for once, beat Uncle Sam at his own game.