It’s been five years (5!) since we started Quside, and more than 10 since I made the decision to get started in the quantum technology space. I’m super proud by the progress we have made so far. And I’m really happy to celebrate this 5-year anniversary, which is already quite an achievement for a startup! Congratulations, Quside!
At Quside, we deliver quantum-enhanced randomness generation, monitoring and processing solutions to world-leading innovators that are building the strongest cybersecurity and the best decision-making tools for the benefit of everyone, everywhere. Quantum technologies have prime-time attention today. But it wasn’t always the case. There was a time in which no quantum computing news or weekly newsletters were there. A time in which no post-quantum NIST contest had even started. A time in which only a couple of quantum companies challenged the belief that quantum was only meant for physics corridors.
But fast-forward 10 years and quantum technologies are exploding. It’s a unique opportunity to be living this revolution firsthand. And it’s a pleasure to do it alongside my amazing coworkers, our world-leading customers and partners, my dearest cofounders, and our incredible investors.
I joined ICFO in 2012, in an on-going research program on quantum cryptography and quantum randomness generation. Together with Quside co-founders Waldimar Amaya, Valerio Pruneri and Morgan Mitchell, we got started at the very beginning: How does this quantum randomness generation technology work?
By combining frontier research and an engineering mindset (retrospectively, I think our engineering bias was key in our spin out journey), we first built a solid foundation on the physics and then we delivered amazing prototypes that were used by some of the best quantum research labs globally (NIST, TU Delft and IQOQI). These groups used our quantum RNGs for the so-called 2015 loophole-free Bell test experiments.
We then went beyond on the technology side on two domains. On the one hand, we built the first fully integrated photonic quantum entropy chip (published in 2016, after 2 years of development). On the other hand, we developed what we now call the Randomness Metrology methodology, which was our scientific way of asking ourselves: how do we know that what we are generating is actually random? Which by the way is a question that we get quite often asked by our customers and partners, and one that we love to get asked. With the science done, with prototypes successfully delivered and with a tiny photonic chip demonstrated, it was time to move to the next stage.
During our first 100 days, we closed a partnership with a large-scale chip manufacturer to start executing our vision for scalable manufacturing. In parallel, we also built our first products and shipped them to early customers. It was our first product, and we went with quite an uncommon form factor: the FMC interface. We selected this interface because we knew our first customers would strongly benefit from such choice. So Quside became the first company to launch a quantum RNG on an FMC form factor targeting FPGA makers and developers.
18 months into it, we had already shipped our first batch to our early adopters. By that time, we had also closed 2 R&D contracts from the European Commission (QRANGE and CIVIQ, from the Quantum Flagship) and 1 from the Spanish government (NEOTEC) worth a bit under €1M, and our second customer contract (not big, but a great milestone). Additional, we kicked off a proof-of-concept project with Telefonica and Qrypt Inc, which ended up being one of the first reported use cases using Quside technology: an entropy-as-a-service solution embedded within Telefonica’s Virtual Data Center.
But the day arrived when products were available; the chip had been demonstrated, and technology uncertainties were reduced to a minimum. And far from being the end line, it was a new beginning. That day, the focus shifted completely. And so had we. The question was no longer whether we were able to build quantum RNGs. The question was whether customers were adopting them and how fast we were growing. This was one of the biggest transformations Quside went through.
In deep tech companies, specially those in the hardware space, it takes time to build something you can start to sell and scale. And this comes at a time in which the company has grown and is no longer a 5-people show. Customer traction becomes the main drive, in contrast to technology leadership, which was the main item you had been measured so far. And that’s quite a change!
We got to that point amid the Covid 19 pandemic, and we rolled up our sleeves to get through that stage. We hired sales leadership and got everyone aligned to start a significant focus shift as a company.
Almost 2,000 days later, I’m as excited as I’ve ever been. We are about to make some big announcements for our journey, and I can’t wait to share them with everyone.
We are also preparing a new product launch for 2022 to better support our customers in the computing space. We have been focusing initially on the finance space, but we are starting to move into other verticals too. This new product launch follows recent demonstrations where we consistently delivered speed ups of up to 10X and energy efficiencies up to 20X in pricing and risk assessment applications.
To wrap this reflection up, I would like to thank everyone that have followed and supported us over the last 5 years. At the end of every presentation, we ask people to join us at the quantum side. And there’s no better time to do so. I promise!
On this 5-year anniversary, congratulations Quside, and thanks to our team and investors. To everyone that has supported us to date and that has made it possible for us to arrive here!
Let’s go for the next 5!
Waldimar Amaya – Carlos Abellan – Domenico Tulli