Canada’s tech sector makes quantum leap with development of ideas lab

  • Recipient: Quantum Valley Ideas Lab
  • Region: Waterloo
  • Stream: Regional Innovation Ecosystem
  • Total funding allocated: $20 million
Quantum Valley Ideas Lab brings researchers and businesses together to develop transformative quantum technologies.

Simply put, quantum mechanics allows us to do things that are impossible under classical rules.

Mike Lazaridis,
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Quantum Valley Investments

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A research community in Waterloo is opening eyes to how quantum technology can be a major driver of innovation and economic value.

Waterloo's Quantum Valley ecosystem encompasses a growing group of investors, entrepreneurs, scientists and technology developers working together to lead quantum research towards commercialization and position Waterloo's Quantum Valley as a global leader. Quantum exploration and commercialization will greatly improve the lives of Canadians—from enhancing X-ray technology and bringing new medicines to market more quickly, to developing smarter home and digital security tools.

As part of a $41-million Government of Canada investment towards the growth of the Quantum Valley ecosystem, in April 2019, Waterloo's Quantum Valley Ideas Lab (QVIL) received $20 million from FedDev Ontario to support its unique facility that partners industry with researchers, engineers and tech experts to commercialize breakthrough technologies.

FedDev Ontario's investment comes at a pivotal time, when the Waterloo region's solid reputation and strong culture of entrepreneurialism and innovation position the ecosystem to capture a large share of the emerging quantum technology market.

"Simply put, quantum mechanics allows us to do things that are impossible under classical rules," says Mike Lazaridis, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Quantum Valley Investments. "Our vision for the Quantum Valley was not only to build state-of-the-art Canadian labs with world-class researchers that can develop new and transformative quantum technologies, but also to help establish and grow exciting new Canadian businesses that will take these technologies to global markets. Ideas Lab will play a critical role in making this possible."

QVIL is an independent charitable organization and the brainchild of Quantum Valley Investments founders Mike Lazardis and Doug Fregin, which funds quantum science breakthroughs with commercial potential. Lazardis and Fregin are the co-founders of Research in Motion and were responsible for establishing the Perimeter Institute and the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo.

"To me it's all about people. Attract and retain the most promising people and enable their success and big things will happen. This has been a driver in our approach to the Quantum Valley and is a driver in the development of Ideas Lab," says Lazaridis. “Our success over the past 20 years, and our traction in the commercial markets in recent years, demonstrate that the strategy can work."

A formidable, collaborative project, QVIL will help hasten the cycle of understanding to discovery, to the development and commercialization of new and transformative quantum technologies. With a futuristic vision and a committed collaborative approach, QVIL has established itself as a leader in a new global industry that will drive innovation and economic value for years to come.

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