Partners in the quantum market include both traditional VARs, focused specialists from the quantum side, and database-focused partners who are broadening out.
The quantum computing market is still a relatively immature one. Opportunities in it are developing, however. As a result, Leesburg VA-based startup Quantum Computing has established their first partner program, designed with the utmost flexibility to optimally pursue quantum trends as they develop in the market.
Quantum [QCI] was founded in 2018. Their core offering is Qatalyst, cloud-based SaaS software which uses quantum techniques to improve classical computing performance.
“We do optimization problems,” said Rebel Brown, VP of strategy & marketing at QCI. “That’s the first place quantum is used. We want to make it simpler for current users to access quantum and not have to learn quantum programming. Our Qatalyst is SaaS in the cloud, which uses QUBO binary algorithms, and will run from a set of API calls that are quantum calls. All the user does is submit their problem. Qatalyst assesses it, and turns it into a QUBO, submitting the same request to a classical or quantum processor, depending where you want to run it. This takes away the requirement for quantum expertise. It also removes the risk for the partner, because they don’t have to hire a million dollars worth of experts.”
Brown stressed that this approach is completely at odds with the way quantum computing companies have typically gone to market.
“The traditional way that the industry has introduced new software is to build SDKs, let users figure out what they want to do, and then build the apps for that,” she said. “That approach has also been used in quantum computing. Hardware developers all have had SDKs, which are all very hard to use because they are for quantum computing, not classical computing. They are literally an amalgam of tiny pieces of code that create things you have to cobble together – like assembly code back in the day when it had to be connected to various devices. And if you upgrade devices you have to upgrade the code. This kind of system is not designed for classical computing experts who want to step into quantum computing. It’s for quantum experts.”
The growing market, however, is for classical computing people who want to add quantum capabilities – even though the industry’s ability to provide solutions is not yet fully developed.
“Today, everyone is hyping quantum,” Brown said. “While there will be advantages, quantum computers still aren’t large enough in terms of the number of qubits to scale to big problems. QPUs [quantum processing units] aren’t big enough yet. We are in a trapeze space between the bars, where we can’t run all the problems today. So as a company, we give big companies a way to solve the problem. We applied things we do in QUBO and tuned our classical systems to add some of the value that Quantum brings for today –better performance, accuracy and diversity.”
Out of the gate, the partner program is launching with one public reference partner, Dutch-based Setmovision. There are others, however.
“We have some other partners, but we are waiting until they have use cases to announce them,” Brown said. “We wanted to announce the program now so people knew it was available.”
Brown said their channel partners generally come to them.
“They have relationships with large banks and national governments,” she indicated. “They came to us because their big customers asked them to review the best path to quantum. Qatalyst can both show them the best path to quantum and improve things today.”
The partner ecosystem around quantum is surprisingly diverse, Brown noted.
“We have a couple partners now which are only three people,” she said. “There’s a whole new ecosystem developing around partners. Some are focused on traditional large vendors, and these are mainly traditional VARs, but there are a whole gamut of innovators coming in with the quantum side expertise. I can see us having way north of 50 partners over time. We are talking to 10-12 now, and that’s without even trying. That includes traditional partners, and quantum-focused partners.”
Brown emphasized that the partner program will be very much an evolutionary work in progress.
“We are doing a lot of tuning of the program, to do what partners want, and codify it,” she said. “We are doing a lot of training with them on how to optimize quantum, including how to build their model. We provide technical support, and sales and marketing support. Over time, in a few more months, more will be codified. We have a partner manager on board but nothing is set in stone. In this kind of innovators’ market, you have to be flexible.”