Every year, Anchored In carries out a survey of UK Quantum Technology Startups. We do this through interviews, surveys and desk research. And since photonics plays a significant role in enabling quantum technologies, this is very relevant for the PLG.
The two numbers that stand out this year are 80% growth in money raised and 60% growth in the number of employees in these companies. These numbers show that the companies are growing and maturing. Not included in our numbers are all of the U$400m that Arqit may get from its SPAC deal. We have also not included the investment in Cambridge Quantum from the Honeywell investment since we could not determine how much of that went to the UK part of the company.
Another curious outcome – the number of new startups that are active is 0. Does that mean the creation of new quantum technology business has slowed, or is this just a blip? And if it has slowed, what are the reasons? Has the pool of commercially viable ideas been reduced? From what I have seen, I would say no to that. Is it a lack of people wanting to take the risk? Many of the companies spun out of universities, and quite a few were ex-PhD students. That pool should still be replenishing. Is it the lack of investment? We still have InnovateUK funding – another round of feasibility studies coming up next year. Maybe it is linked to COVID and the aftermath of not being able to go into labs. But perhaps it is just a blip. I would welcome peoples thoughts on this.
We have seen one company being dissolved. Something that I would have expected by now to happen more. After all, folklore says that only 1 in 10 startups survive. We have been tracking companies that were incorporated from 2013 onwards, and this is the first time. In some ways, that is good news.