Quantum: It's real. It's here. And Colorado is leading the way


Quantum computing is changing the world—and Colorado and the Mountain West, as leaders in this space, understand how to tap into quantum’s potential. Quantum enables organizations to harness the laws of quantum mechanics to solve complex problems and will soon provide services and products in a manner that was impossible just a few years ago. Quantum sensing and enabling hardware applications are commercially here today.

With a consortium of 120 organizations, Elevate Quantum, which includes Colorado and the Mountain West region, developed a quantum ecosystem that includes four Nobel laureates in quantum physics, three National Labs, and over $1 billion already raised in venture capital. About 3,000 Colorado workers are employed in the quantum workforce today, supporting the growth of more than 30 companies leading advancement in quantum tech— the largest cluster of quantum companies in the nation. Over the next ten years, the number of jobs is projected to grow to 30,000, many of which will not require an advanced degree. There are also numerous commercial deployments for applications including next-gen GPS, timing, and clean energy.

Let’s explore the great work these Mountain West organizations are accomplishing and Colorado’s vision for future quantum innovations.

Colorado Companies are Advancing Quantum Technology

More than 30 Colorado companies are advancing quantum technology across a broad range of applications, including communications, logistics, energy, and international security. We are the only state with significant quantum infrastructure players in both quantum optics and low-temperature quantum systems, and many leading quantum companies call Colorado home. Atom Computing, Infleqtion, Maybell, and Quantinuum to name just a few.

Among these companies are two pioneering women making history with their groundbreaking ideas. At Mesa Quantum Systems, Co-Founder and CEO Sristy Agarwal is working on building the world’s smallest atomic clock, shrinking it down to the size of a coffee bean. These tiny atomic clocks can be embedded in most of our modern infrastructure, including portable devices, enabling dramatic improvement in computation, communication, autonomous navigation, and more. This will be transformational: for the past 75 years, each leap in technology was preceded by an advancement in shrinking technology. Mesa Quantum Systems’ efforts seek to continue this evolution.

At Resilient Entanglement, Founder and CEO, Dr. Rozhin Eskandarpour, is working on turning big data that was once seemingly impossible to process into split second solutions for smart grid management. This could lead to fewer blackouts, lower energy prices, and safer data delivery to customers across the nation.

Colorado’s Quantum Companies are Creating Jobs

Quantum computing alone is projected to drive $3.5 trillion in economic growth, with applications in finance, artificial intelligence, and materials analysis already gaining traction. Maybell Quantum provides just one example of how that economic growth is creating job opportunities for Coloradans from a variety of educational backgrounds. Maybell builds and supplies companies with the hardware that makes quantum computation possible and has more employees than all home-grown Chicago quantum startups combined. In any quantum lab, it’s likely that there will be hardware in the lab that comes from Colorado.

“Eighty percent of my employees aren’t PHDs,” said founder and CEO of Maybell Quantum and Chair of the Elevate Quantum Board Corban Tillemann-Dick. “The people doing the work to build the infrastructure… they’re going to be from rural communities, they’re going to be from diverse urban communities. They’re going to be hands on, building this future piece by piece, screw by screw.”.

Maybell is not alone. Nearly half of quantum jobs do not require an advanced degree and many skills readily transfer from more familiar trades. The share of technician positions is projected to double in five years as the industry’s need for skilled trades like welding, pipe fitting and machining grows. The average quantum job pays over $125,000 per year and currently, Colorado is the only state employing people in this industry at scale.

“There are more organizations here in Colorado doing quantum work than anywhere else in the world. There are more quantum jobs here in Colorado than anywhere else in the world,” said Tillemann-Dick.

Colorado is a Nationally-Recognized Quantum Leader

Colorado's reputation as a quantum leader is growing. In October 2023, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) designated Colorado as a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub (Tech Hub for short) focused on the advancement of the quantum industry. The EDA oversaw a competitive process to select 31 federally designated Tech Hubs across the country, with $10 billion available in appropriated funding over five years. Through this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow the nation’s advanced and emerging technology, Colorado is now competing for federal funding to secure our position as the world’s leading hub for quantum information technology.

To ensure this workforce benefits includes the mountain west, including rural Coloradans and communities that have historically faced barriers to high tech industries, the Elevate Quantum consortium plans to invest in workforce development and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, access and belonging (DEIAB) with the goal of helping 30,000 workers develop new skills for quantum jobs and ensuring equitable access to the industry. 
In addition to building a diverse and inclusive workforce, Elevate Quantum will focus on accelerating the transition of cutting-edge quantum research from the laboratory to the market and facilitating a vibrant startup and scale-up ecosystem. A federal investment in Colorado’s quantum front range is going to have immediate returns.

"The Elevate Quantum coalition could not be more excited about this designation. Representing over 70 entities spanning workforce development, K-12 education, academic research institutions, commercial organizations, and more, ours is the largest regional coalition of quantum organizations in America. Winning this bid reflects what our members have been working towards for decades: cementing Colorado and the Mountain West as the capital of quantum and building a thriving future for all Americans,” said Zachary Yerushalmi, CEO and Regional Innovation Officer for Elevate Quantum.

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