The Quantum Stream at CDL-Toronto brings together entrepreneurs, investors, leading scientists in quantum technologies, and quantum hardware vendors (D-Wave Systems, IBM Q, Rigetti Computing, and Xanadu) to build ventures in the nascent domain of quantum computing, machine learning, optimization, sensing and other applications of quantum technologies. Participants are eligible for office space in downtown Toronto, and an intensive 4-week technical quantum bootcamp from industry and academic leaders in quantum computing and machine learning.

“As someone who walks the line between academia and entrepreneurship, the Lab was very useful as a means to keep Xanadu on track, achieving necessary milestones we needed to derisk the company for our first round. For that I am truly indebted…Overall, the Lab has been fundamental to Xanadu’s success.”

Christian Weedbrook

Founder & CEO, Xanadu

Who Should Apply?

Ideal Quantum Incubator Stream candidates are creative, intelligent, and ambitious individuals with technical competency in machine learning, computational science, physics, math, statistics, or engineering; business acumen and experience in technology startups; or relevant industry experience or expertise. 

Both individuals and early-stage companies are encouraged to apply.

  • Individual Applicants: Ideal Quantum Incubator Stream candidates are creative, intelligent, and ambitious individuals with technical competency in machine learning, computational science, physics, math, statistics, or engineering; or relevant industry experience or domain expertise. If desired, individual participants will have the opportunity to find a suitable co-founding team during the CDL Quantum Bootcamp.
  • Quantum Software Ventures/Teams: Startups at all levels of maturity will be considered. We are excited to accept projects (pre-incorporation), early-stage companies (pre-seed) or little more mature companies (seed).
  • Quantum Hardware Ventures/Teams: Ideal candidates are at a stage when they already have a basic prototype.

Example Innovation Areas:

The list above is not exhaustive.

Contact to discuss the Incubator Stream with a Quantum team member.

CDL Quantum Incubator Stream Features

The Quantum Incubator Stream offers a robust set of resources for new founders to launch and scale a startup in the quantum ecosystem.

  • Business Guidance and Investor Access – Objective-setting meetings with the CDL Fellows and Associates, a group of highly successful entrepreneurs and investors with expertise in scaling high-tech startups, world-leading scientists and industry leaders in quantum technologies.
  • Quantum Access – Quantum computing resources from our technology partners:
    • D-Wave – Access to the latest D-Wave System and Software libraries;
    • IBM Q – Access and hands-on technical support for the public IBM Q Experience™ systems, and IBM’s open source quantum software platform, Qiskit™;
    • Rigetti – Rigetti Forest programming environment, with access to cloud-connected superconducting quantum processors and Quantum Virtual Machine (QVM);
    • Xanadu – Strawberry Fields, an open-source library for photonic quantum computing, with a suite of simulators for execution on CPU/GPU, and early private access to Xanadu’s cloud-based quantum photonic chips”.
  • Technical Education – 4-week technical quantum bootcamp where the potential founders learn the necessary technical and business skills via in-person lectures, practical exercises, one-on-one office hours and a two-day, multi-platform Quantum hackathon.
    • Click here to read Dr. Wittek’s latest co-authored review article on Quantum in Nature.
    • Click here to enroll in Dr. Wittek’s Quantum Machine Learning massive open online course.
  • Business Support – Guidance on strategy and business development from top students and faculty from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

Representative CDL Alumni

Our Mentors

CDL mentors include accomplished entrepreneurs, experienced operators, and active angel and venture investors. Mentors meet every eight weeks in Toronto to help founders set objectives over the program’s 10-month duration.

James Hardiman
Andrew Fursman
Maryanna Saenko
Alan Baratz
Christophe Jurczak

Full list of CDL-Toronto Fellows and Associates


Our Scientists

Teams accepted to the CDL Quantum Incubator Stream benefit from extensive advising sessions and regular office hours with quantum physics, machine learning, and quantum computing experts. These scientists help to evaluate approaches to building technology, suggest improvements, and explore formal advising engagements.

Roger Melko
Michele Mosca
Barry Sanders
Artur Izmaylov

Full list of CDL-Toronto Scientists


Peter Wittek, Founding Academic Director, CDL Quantum

In September of 2019, Rotman Assistant Professor Peter Wittek went missing during a mountaineering expedition in the Himalayas, after being caught in an avalanche. Peter was a valued member of the Rotman community and his loss is keenly felt.


CDL Quantum Technical Bootcamp

The CDL Quantum program offers an intense 4-week bootcamp focused on helping would-be founders learn the necessary technical and business skills required to succeed in the Quantum startup space. You will gain free access to Quantum hardware, receive guidance from Quantum experts, and benefit from mentorship provided by leading business professionals and academics.

For the individual participants, there will be various activities and social events over the 4-week period, where they can meet potential co-founders and team members. In 2019, approximately 75% of our individual participants either formed or joined a venture over the course of the bootcamp.

Technical Training

  • Receive hands-on technical training from large quantum computing vendors, including D-Wave, IBM Q, Rigetti, and Xanadu.
  • Learn and apply the coding languages of the future to complex and exciting problems.
  • Solve real-world challenges using Quantum computers with help from leading experts in the field.


  • Put all that you have learned during the technical training to the test over a two-day, multi-platform Quantum hackathon.
  • Work in a diverse group of CDL Quantum participants and compete to win prizes aimed to support you through the first phases of growth.
  • Receive tailored feedback from representatives from our technical partners, including D-Wave, IBM Q, Rigetti, and Xanadu.

Business Training:

  • Get the MBA experience with lectures from world-renowned faculty members at the Rotman School of Management – University of Toronto.
  • Learn from the success of past entrepreneurs on how to scale your venture from an idea to a mature and impactful business.
  • Understand how to transfer what you have learned to the up-and-coming Quantum ecosystem.

Team Formation:

  • Get to know highly talented and driven individuals who come from a range of academic and professional backgrounds.
  • Build relationships with people who share an interest in Quantum computing through multiple social events and group-based learning processes.
  • Find your co-founding team and begin your start-up journey in the Quantum ecosystem.

Bootcamp Timeline:


The Quantum Incubator Stream operates one annual cohort at CDL-Toronto. For more information or to schedule an introduction meeting with the CDL team, email


Quantum in the News

Frequently Asked Questions

What is quantum computing?

Quantum computers make direct use of the odd characteristics of quantum physics, such as superposition (a quantum bit (qubit) having multiple values at the same time) and entanglement (two qubits sharing and communicating certain characteristics despite large distances). While classical computation can make use of quantum effects (e.g. tunneling), quantum computers have a high degree of control over quantum states, as well as a mechanism to prevent decoherence of the quantum states on reasonable time scales.

What is quantum machine learning? How is it different than what exists now?

Quantum machine learning uses quantum technologies to improve the speed and performance of learning algorithms. This may involve performing classical computation on data from quantum sensors or using a quantum computer to enhance machine learning on classical data. While scalable universal quantum computers are still a long way off, quantum machine learning may benefit from using current and near future quantum information processing devices. Further background information on QML can be found through the following articles: “Quantum Machine Learning” (technical) “Quantum Machine Learning: Path to a Better Artificial Intelligence?” (nontechnical).

What are the skills and knowledge prerequisites for the Incubator Stream?

For applicants coming from a computer science background, having a solid understanding of machine learning, probabilistic graphical models, statistics, and Monte Carlo methods is recommended, along with experience with distributed systems. For physicists, quantum computing, quantum many-body systems, and quantum information processing are the most relevant areas, and experience with large-scale numerical computations is a great advantage. Python and Tensorflow experience is required.

Who are the technology partners?

D-Wave Systems Founded in 1999, D-Wave Systems is the world’s first quantum computing company and the leader in the development and delivery of quantum computing systems and software. Its mission is to unlock the power of quantum computing to solve the world’s most challenging problems. D-Wave systems are being used by world-class organizations and institutions including Lockheed Martin, Google, NASA, USC, USRA and Los Alamos National Laboratory. D-Wave has been granted more than 140 US patents and has published over 90 peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals.

IBM Q IBM Q is an industry-first initiative to build commercial universal quantum systems for business and science applications. IBM Q will provide access and hands-on technical support for the public IBM Q Experience™ systems, and IBM’s open source quantum software platform, Qiskit™. IBM will provide ongoing support through a single point of contact coordinator.

Rigetti Rigetti Computing is a full-stack quantum computing company that designs and manufactures superconducting quantum-integrated circuits. Rigetti packages and deploys those chips in a low-temperature environment, and builds control systems to perform quantum logic operations on them. Rigetti believes that the first useful quantum computers are within reach and that quantum computing has the potential to one day have an enormous positive impact on humanity. To help realize that vision, it is also developing new algorithms for quantum computing, with a focus on near-term applications in computational chemistry and machine learning. Forest is the world’s first full-stack programming and execution environment for quantum/classical computing and includes Quil (quantum instruction language), the Rigetti programming standard for quantum/classical computing.

Xanadu Xanadu is a light-based quantum computing company that creates silicon photonic chips to build a truly full-stack solution. Instead of using electrons to carry information and perform calculations, Xanadu uses photons. Unlike electrons, photons are very stable and are almost unaffected by random noise from heat. We use photonic chips to generate, control, and measure photons in ways that enable extremely fast computation. Strawberry Fields, Xanadu’s programming platform, is a library for simulation, optimization and quantum machine learning of continuous-variable circuits. The platform contains a Python API for quantum programming based on our user-friendly Blackbird language and a suite of virtual quantum computer backends built in NumPy and TensorFlow.

I have a background in machine learning or physics but don’t have a startup or team. Can you introduce me to others in the Incubator Stream?

Yes, we will accept individuals with strong technical backgrounds. Submit an application, and a CDL team member will contact you.

I’m not Canadian. Can I still apply?

Yes. Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa. If you are accepted, we can provide you access to support from a Canadian immigration law firm, which can help you obtain the necessary entry permits.

Can entrepreneurs without physics or ML experience still be involved?

Yes, particularly if they have specific industry expertise. The application is the same for those with technical and business backgrounds.