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BlackBerry founder hopes to achieve 'Star Trek' future with $100 million quantum tech fund

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mike lazaridis
mike lazaridis

BlackBerry creator and ex-CEO Mike Lazaridis has been pursuing his interests in quantum technology since stepping down from the company formerly known as RIM last year, and he's just unveiled his next move. Lazaridis, together with fellow RIM co-founder Doug Fregin, is starting a $100 million fund aimed at boosting quantum science breakthroughs with commercial potential. The fund is called Quantum Valley Investments, and follows Lazaridis' launch of the Quantum-Nano Centre in Waterloo, Ontario.

"We need a new technology base, a new breakthrough."

"We need something new," Lazaridis told Bloomberg when asked if we were reaching the point of diminishing returns on technological innovation. "We need a new technology base, a new breakthrough to build the next value creation cycle with the new breakthroughs, new products and services coming up. And we believe that is very much a quantum based foundation, and so we've been investing in that."

Lazaridis appears in part to have been inspired by Star Trek. "We've seen many of the devices and predictions of Star Trek come true, from the computer, voice activation, voice recognition, to the communicator in today's smart phones and computers," he said, going on to enthuse about the possibility of Qualcomm's X Prize leading to a real-world medical tricorder. "And it's possible only because of the sensitivity, selectivity and resolution we can get from quantum sensors made with these new quantum breakthroughs."

The Wall Street Journal reports that Quantum Valley Investments has already made its first deal, though Lazaridis wouldn't make details available in an interview. "We've had researchers coming up to us with some really ground-breaking discoveries, and we could see the potential of those things," he said. "This isn't like venture capital. This isn't everybody in their garage or dorm room coming up with an idea and getting funded."