Company name: Rigetti Computing
Headquarters: Berkeley, California
Funding to date: $69.5 million in 6 rounds
Silicon Valley startups love to talk about how they are trying to “solve hard problems."
But Rigetti Computing really is working on a ridiculously hard thing: ushering in a whole new kind of computer, known as quantum computing. It’s building the quantum computer chips and software needed to build one in the cloud.
Where ordinary computers use binary switches that have two states, on or off, quantum switches have three: on, off or both at the same time. This is tech that’s so out-there even Bill Gates admits he doesn’t really understand it.
Quantum computing promises to create vastly more powerful computers and, for the most part, it is being tackled by universities working with giant corporations with huge R&D budgets, like Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft.
It takes a bit of chutzpah for a startup to being in there competing. Rigetti has at least one true believer, A-list VC Andreessen Horowitz, who has invested nearly $70 million so far.
Rigetti is named for its founder, CEO Chad Rigetti, who is better known in the Valley as the husband of Uber whistleblower Susan Fowler.