Mike Lazaridis wants to further non-invasive medical equipment technology, unveils $100 Million Quantum Valley Fund

By Bla1ze on 19 Mar 2013 08:23 pm EDT

Been to the doctor lately? Over the years there have been plenty of medical breakthroughs when it comes to technology and there has been a lot of focus put on how to reduce the level of invasiveness patients have to endure. It's a sector that has become increasingly important and one that BlackBerry Co-Founders, Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, are clearly thinking of, having just announced Quantum Valley Investments, a $100 million private fund that will provide financial and intellectual capital for the further development and commercialization of breakthroughs in Quantum Information Science. Among those breakthroughs, Mike Lazaridis mentioned the medical tricorder. 

“What we’re excited about is these little gems coming out,” Lazaridis said in an interview in Toronto. “The medical tricorder would be astounding, the whole idea of blood tests, MRIs -- imagine if you could do that with a single device. That may be possible and possible only because of the sensitivity, selectivity and resolution we can get from quantum sensors made with these quantum breakthroughs.” “You’re using fundamental physics to measure things and you’re doing it in a way that is so sensitive that you don’t need to actually have physical contact,” Lazaridis said. “That opens up a whole new capability, whole new way of treating patients.”

Medical tricorders aren't exactly a new idea, especially if you're a Star Trek fan, but they've got an interesting history in the medical field and given Lazaridis' background on Quantum Physics and Nanotechnology it's easy to see why investing in such things would be on his radar. As for the fund itself, Lazaridis noted it will likely focus on one to two dozen startups and take a few years to start making full on investments. Needless to say, we've been wondering what Mike Lazaridis has been doing with his time since stepping down from BlackBerry -- I guess we now know. If you're looking for details, you can jump below for the full press release.

Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin Unveil $100 Million Quantum Valley Fund, Focusing on Commercializing Quantum Technology Breakthroughs

WATERLOO, Ontario, March 19, 2013  - Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, who together founded BlackBerry, announced today that they have partnered again to establish Quantum Valley Investments, a $100 million private fund that will provide financial and intellectual capital for the further development and commercialization of breakthroughs in Quantum Information Science. Quantum Valley Investments is headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
At the launch of the Quantum-Nano Centre in 2012, Mr. Lazaridis described the quantum research capability that has been developed in Waterloo as the "Bell Labs of the Twenty First Century." He and Mr. Fregin believe that in the same way discoveries at Bell Labs led to commercialization opportunities that created Silicon Valley, so will the breakthroughs that occur at the Institute for Quantum Computing, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and the Waterloo Institute for Nano Technology lead to transformative commercialization opportunities in the Region.
Mr. Lazaridis and Mr. Fregin believe that their investments and commercialization efforts will lead to new industries, jobs and value creation that will help transform the Waterloo Region into Canada's Quantum Valley.
A few research labs around the world have begun a race in pursuit of transformative breakthroughs in quantum information science. Because of the research capability that has been developed here in the last 12 years, the Waterloo Region has a unique opportunity to play a leading role in this global race. Mr. Lazaridis and Mr. Fregin believe that the Quantum Valley Investment Fund will help ensure success in this endeavor.
When asked why he and Mr. Fregin decided to lead this initiative, Mr. Lazaridis responded, "Nothing you see in the classical technology world can prepare you for what you will see in the quantum technology revolution. Doug and I have nearly 30 years' experience as inventors of the BlackBerry, creators of the smart phone industry and builders of Canada's largest global tech business. We also have significant resources from our success in that business. 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'."
Mr. Fregin added, "Quantum Physics will not only allow us to continue the development of existing ideas, but may also lead to ones which we may not have dreamed of yet. It gives me much satisfaction not only to participate in this endeavour with Mike, but also to help build on the groundwork that we have helped lay in Quantum Physics and Nanotechnology in this region, bringing commercialization one step closer to realization for the benefit of all people."
Speaking about the potential impact of the new fund on jobs and the economy, Gord Nixon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Bank of Canada and Chair of the Ontario Jobs and Prosperity Council said, "At a time, when international competition faced by Canadian companies has increased dramatically and the need for innovation in this country is key, this initiative is both welcome and timely. Building on their support and commitment for quantum physics in the Waterloo Region over many years, these nation builders have once again put their money where their mouth is to help keep Canadian breakthroughs in Canada. These transformational initiatives are critical to our future competitiveness."
Kevin Lynch, Vice-Chair of BMO Financial Group, Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of Waterloo and Vice Chair of the Ontario Jobs and Prosperity Council added, "Executing on a well thought out strategy that started 12 years ago, Mike and Doug have developed a model for innovation that is compelling. These visionaries have not only created a platform that will help with value creation in Canada, but in doing so have created the foundation for a quantum commercialization infrastructure in the Waterloo Region that will help to promote breakthroughs, industries and jobs in this Region for years to come. It is great for Waterloo, for Ontario and for Canada."
Mr. Lazaridis concluded, "Today we move forward on the next step toward a Quantum Physics Technology Commercialization infrastructure that will lead to new jobs, industries and value creation in this country. As suggested by its name, Doug and I believe that the private fund we are launching today will help lead to the 'Quantum Valley' here in Waterloo."
For more information about Quantum Valley Investments, go to: www.quantumvalleyinvestments.com.


Reader comments

Mike Lazaridis wants to further non-invasive medical equipment technology, unveils $100 Million Quantum Valley Fund


For all the hate Mike L gets (and some deservedly so), pumping all that money for research and future technology development is great. Kudos to him!

I'm so in awe of all that this man has done. Someone please write a book about his life so we can all become more familiar with his story. Please.

From my sweet BB10 Neutrino powered Z10 :D

This guy is setting himself up to leave a pretty darn good legacy. I'm starting to appreciate that more than someone trying to purchase a hockey team. Order of Canada, maybe?

Indeed an order of Canada and possibly a Knighthood is pending not too far from now.

Lazaridis, has such a passion for using intelligence and not being greedy hording his wealth to better the human condition its astounding.

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+10. You can't take it with you so why not leave something more tangled behind. It's a legacy anyone would be proud of.

Good on him! He may have botched BB10 execution before stepping aside, but he was one of the visionaries that sought to pull together all the pieces of the pie that have now become BB10.

You da man Mike! You da man!

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I'm not sure where you got that he botched execution of BB10 from - he's the sole reason why RIM purchased qnx as a synergistic part of the company keeping all staff members and allowing them to run their business as if nothing happened.

QNX was not designed for smartphones and I knew it would take considerable time. You'll see the proof of my words in my posts here as Jagga as my Twitter account or as prom1 elsewhere.

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Mike L is one of the classiest guys ive seen hes done so much for my hometown of kitchener/waterloo it would be nowhere without this type of mindset and this is another advancement made by his incredible donations

Laz is such a boss. Good for him. There's no way someone can spend all those riches in a lifetime.

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I could write some stuff here but it doesn't have anything to do with the article. Go google what he did with donations, especially at apple.

Mike Lazardis has always been interested in the practical application of engineering. The interactive pager and the smartphone for messaging; the tricorder for medical diagnostics. At least some wealthy people put their money to use in furtherance of the betterment of society.

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Cool maybe some of the sci-fi tech we see will become reality in our lifetimes.Kudos to Laz for doing all this. Made a great phone and business come to reality now this will bring breakthrough medical and possibly societal inventions to everyone.

Even with his passions in Quantum computing and physics I'm still enamored that he still is passionate enough about his first passion RIM; so much so as to attend the official BlackBerry 10 Launch party!

This is not a fickle man, and not one with shifty eyes.

A rap phrase comes to mind right now "Ambition is priceless, it's something in your veins, and I pray that on my Name!"

Mike is the epitome of Ambition!

And he immigrated to Canada with his family, so why has the Canadian gov began to limit immigration the past 4yrs???!!

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Hi from Waterloo Nanotechnology Engineering! Very Excited for these investments, prime time to start a business in the high tech field!

Despite the few mishaps down the wire with the old guard at RIM, I gotta say that Mr. Lazardis is truly a Canadian gem and an amazing contributor to our global society as a whole. I love how passionate he is about innovation and education. I definitely think that he should win the Nobel Prize in SOMETHING in the next few years, given all that BlackBerry devices have done for people in disaster situations and all that this man has done for Waterloo all by himself!

Mike is a great man. I know some people associate him with (RIM) BlackBerry and nothing more and because he was at the helm when things went downhill some look at him negatively.

If you live in Waterloo Region Mike is more than BlackBerry. So is Jim Balsillie for that matter. They have given 100's of millions to great causes right here.

Mike and his wife are the reason UW has a beautiful quantum computing building where great things are happening. How about the Perimeter Institute? There are few places like it in the world. The Centre for International Governance Innovation and the Balsillie School, obviously Jim's creations, do great work. The city of Waterloo has been physically transformed thanks to the great buildings these men have had built.

This is another good thing that Mike is doing. In RIM's hay day you couldn't go a week without seeing headlines like this in the local paper. I'm so glad Mike is not missing a beat. :)

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Maybe or perhaps not. He's from the old RIM and rightfully so I can call it RIM when referring to Mike L because that's what it was when he left and it's the name of the company he ran for yrs.

Wow. What a great investment of not only money but his energy and passion. What a great step for KW, Canada and hopefully the medical world.

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As some have suggested, this man deserves the Order of Canada for his admirable investments in the human mind to provide the next frontier of science and technology. What a true grit and entrepreneur in the purest sense. Growing Blackberry to what it is and not resting on his loins to pursue even bigger and better things after his departure. I have the highest respect for Mike and wish all the successes in every aspect of his life.

This is awesome. I knew Mike L was up to something when he left the once named RIM. He is a hell of an intelligent man and too much so to just "retire"

way to go! That is just commendable! A true fighter for the change of the human race and our history in a deep and high impact way!
Kudos and thanks to Mike Lazarides, Mr Fregin and the people involved!!

More power to you Mike, thanks to you and your vision you brought us our beloved Blackberry smartphones to the masses...well before Apple and Android even began to think about smartphones. Sadly Blackberry didnt remain at the top especially when Apple and Android started to compete.
But still you made it happen, you turned the whole smartphone world on its head and made many of crackberries.
Im indebted to you Mike, god bless you and your efforts.

Hmm can you say genius!???? First the perimeter institute, then UW's nanotechnology building, now this!!! Mr L has been setting this up from day 1 as his next big thing. With the promise that this tech holds BlackBerry could be small potatoes compared to the upside for companies that this fund will start

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