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.
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."