Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, founders of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, are on a mission to turn Waterloo, Ontario into Canada's answer to Silicon Valley.
The founding duo of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, are partnering to bankroll a $100 million CAD ($97 million U.S.) investment fund targeting commercial applications for advancements in quantum science.
The Waterloo, Ontario-based private fund, Quantum Valley Investments, will provide financial and intellectual capital for further development and commercialization of breakthroughs in quantum information science, applying the knowledge base of quantum physics to the construction of information systems.
“Nothing you see in the classical technology world can prepare you for what you will see in the quantum technology revolution,” Lazaridis said in a press statement. “Our belief in the power of quantum physics to transform society inspired us to develop a strategy some 12 years ago that led to the world-class quantum research capability that exists in Waterloo today.”
The fund looks to breakthroughs occurring at Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing (an affiliate scientific research institute at the University of Waterloo), the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (an independent research center in foundational, theoretical physics), and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (which shares space with the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo) to lead the region’s commercialization opportunities in the field.
Lazaridis and Fregin, according to the statement, believe their investments and efforts to commercialize will create new industries and jobs that will make the Waterloo region Canada’s “Quantum Valley” in the vein of Bell Labs in Silicon Valley.
“At a time, when international competition faced by Canadian companies has increased dramatically and the need for innovation in this country is key, this initiative is both welcome and timely,” said Gord Nixon, president and chief executive officer of Royal Bank of Canada and chair of the Ontario Jobs and Prosperity Council, in a press release. “These transformational initiatives are critical to our future competitiveness.”
JULIE STRICKLAND covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurial endeavors of all kinds for Inc. Her work has been published in Brooklyn Based and City Limits in New York, the Free Times in Columbia, SC, Real Travel Magazine in London, and Daegu Pockets in South Korea. She lives in New York City. @Jules5168