Zapata: Accelerating the Quantum Revolution
May 11, 2021 | Ashley Brindamour
Quantum computers have the potential to solve complex, real-world problems. Unlike traditional computers, quantum computing can process far more data through the use of superposition (the ability of a system to be in multiple states at the same time) and entanglement (when a particle correlates with the characteristics of the others). Some of the many applications that are progressing from this technology include cybersecurity, drug development, battery advancement, cleaner fertilization, weather forecasting, and climate change.
Zapata Computing, an Alumni Ventures Group portfolio company, has developed a software stack that lets corporations use quantum computing to address their hardest problems. The company’s software serves as a much-needed integration layer between hardware providers and customers seeking application solutions.
Harvard and Beyond
CSO Alán Aspuru-Guzik developed Zapata’s core technology during his tenure at Harvard before he formally launched the company in 2017. In addition to being one of the leading minds in quantum computing, Aspuru-Guzik also helped Zapata develop a strong team of world-leading quantum scientists and engineers.
Quantum computing has the potential to solve equations that trip up even the most powerful supercomputers, opening doors from life science to finance, automotive, logistics, and aerospace. However, this potential languishes if you don’t have the software interfaces and applications to run on a quantum computer. Zapata is the solution.
Zapata allows large companies to integrate high-performance quantum computing capabilities from any of the leading hardware providers — including Google, IBM, Rigetti, Honeywell, Amazon, and others. Many Fortune 500 companies are now deploying Zapata to handle their most complex problems on premises or in the cloud, positioning themselves to broaden usage over time.
What We Liked About the Deal
Leading-Edge Technology: Zapata’s technology employs artificial intelligence, machine learning, and quantum autoencoder (a type of artificial neural network), to further optimize quantum computational power. The company’s newly launched software product, Orquestra, helps make the transition to quantum computing more seamless by offering a library of open source components for writing, manipulating, and optimizing quantum circuits.
Large Current and Future Market Potential: Quantum computing is projected to have a global market value of $1 trillion by 2035. Analysts suggest that there could be between 2,000 and 5,000 quantum computers worldwide by this time, ultimately increasing the need for Zapata’s software.
Established Lead Investor: Lead investor Comcast Ventures is Comcast Corporation’s multi-stage, consumer, and enterprise-focused corporate venture arm. Notable exits include Peloton, Slack, Lyft, DocuSign, Accolade, and Snap.
Additional contributing investors include Pillar VC, Prelude Ventures, Ahren Innovation, The Engine, Honeywell Ventures, BASF, Merck Global, and ITOCHU Corporation.
How We Are Involved
Zapata raised a $30M Series B in 2020. The Yard Ventures (for the Harvard community) sponsored AVG’s investment, alongside sibling funds Congress Avenue Ventures (for the U Texas community) and Waterman Ventures (for the Brown community).