The co-founders of BlackBerry maker RIM, which changed its name to BlackBerry earlier this year, have launched a $100m private investment fund to help commercialise “quantum information science” breakthroughs.
Mike Lazaridis and Doug Feigin yesterday announced they were teaming up to establish Quantum Valley Investments, a fund the pair say can do for the Waterloo, Ontario — the Canadian town that plays home to BlackBerry’s headquarters — what Bell Labs did for Silicon Valley.
“Nothing you see in the classical technology world can prepare you for what you will see in the quantum technology revolution,” said Lazaridis in a 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. This combination of technology and business experience has given us a unique understanding and deep commitment that we believe will be instrumental to the success of both this Fund and the ‘Quantum Valley’.”
Lazaridis, who founded RIM in 1984, and fellow co-CEO Jim Balsillie were replaced by current BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins in January 2012 amid delays in bringing its new QNX-based operating system and smartphones to market.
Lazaridis, who remains a non-executive chairman of BlackBerry and one of its largest shareholders, told the Wall Street Journal that Quantum Valley Investments had signed its first deal, but did not provide any details of the investment.