IonQ was gunning for an IPO last year, as per rumors. However, instead of taking the IPO route, the company has chosen to go public via a merger. The other company is a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company), namely the dMY Technology Group III. The combined firm will have a valuation of $2 billion. Dr. Jungsang Kim and Dr. Christopher Monroe came up with IonQ in 2015, raising seed funding of $2 million from their earliest backer, New Enterprise Associates. They had earlier worked on quantum physics research for more than twenty years. The goal was the development of a quantum computer that would be programmable, while using ions, or small atomic particles.
Another $20 million came in from Amazon Web Services, Google Ventures, and NEA in 2015-18. In 2019, with the guidance of its new President and CEO, Peter Chapman, IonQ went in for another funding round of $55 million. The leading investors were Lockheed Martin, Samsung, Bosch, Airbus Ventures, Mubadala, and Hewlett Packard. Chapman also went for cloud access in the same year, confirming partnerships with Amazon Braket and Microsoft Azure.
The deal is the brainchild of dMY Chairman, Harry You, and its CEO, Niccolo de Masi. They worked with Peter Chapman to pull off the mega-deal. Chapman states that the proceedings began with an IonQ investor recommending a SPAC for going public. The investor also took care of the introductions with de Masi. Chapman then went ahead with the concept, presenting the same to the board. After de Masi raised funds of $300 million in another public offering, the board approved the possibility of a merger.
IonQ will get cash of $650 million along with equity of 64% in the entity. It will come from $300 million raised by dMY III earlier and another $350 million from PIPE strategic investors Kia Corporation, Hyundai Motor Company, TIME Ventures (Marc Benioff), and Breakthrough Energy Ventures (Bill Gates), Fidelity, and Silver Lake. Before the closure of the deal, it will go under SEC review mechanisms. Chapman feels that it was an easy exercise for the company. The deal will also help existing investors earn millions in returns.
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