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August 2022

The Internet of the future is closer than we think

At a glance
The team

Dr. Hoi-Kwong Lo and Dr. Mattia Montagna met at U of T where they co-founded Quantum Bridge Technologies, an Ontario start-up working towards delivering functional quantum networks for communication and cybersecurity

The challenge

As critical as the Internet has become, communication can still be intercepted, and information stolen

The solution

Lo and Montagna of Quantum Bridge Technologies created Quantum Key Infrastructure™ (QKI), the first global network that enables distribution of quantum-endowed encryption keys at scale, making the decryption of any type of communication impossible 

The outcome

Through secure encryption and superior performance, QKI ensures that personal information, public networks, critical infrastructure, and national security are kept safe and protected from cyber and computational attacks

Ontario start-up builds and commercializes tools based on classical quantum information theory to ensure the highest level of security and communication over public and private networks, paving the way for the future quantum Internet

The Internet is the decisive technology of the Information Age. This global network of computer systems, largely based on platforms of wireless and near instant communication, provides limitless opportunities for multimodal interaction in chosen time, transcending space. Increasingly driven by the need to constantly produce greater amounts of information and knowledge, the Internet transmits data at higher and higher speeds over fibre optic networks and its impact on culture and commerce has fundamentally altered the way we live, work, and interact. 

However, with this free access to information comes some serious risks and drawbacks. That’s where Quantum Bridge Technologies comes in. 

Dr. Mattia Montagna was working as a principal financial stability expert for the European Central Bank when he became interested in the field of quantum computing. While working in the financial industry, handling granular data to help determine how the structure of the banking industry affects the probability of financial crises, Montagna saw a need for greater safety and data protection in the fields of telecommunications, critical infrastructure, government, and defence. 

“I became interested in quantum because I wanted to help develop safe security solutions that would benefit a variety of sectors,” explains Montagna. 

While pursuing a master’s degree in physics at the University of Toronto, Montagna met Dr. Hoi-Kwong Lo, a professor since 2003 with a shared interest in quantum. After two years of intensive research, the pair co-founded Quantum Bridge Technologies in 2019. 

“We saw an enormous potential in bringing our quantum technology to market,” says Lo. 

Where unconditional security meets performance 

With the help of the Mitacs Accelerate program, Montagna and Lo were able to develop and commercialize their technology Quantum Key Infrastructure™ (QKI), the first ever global network that enables the distribution of quantum-endowed encryption keys from quantum random number generators at scale. 

Not only does QKI provide security against any present or future computational attacks on national security networks, but the technology can also easily be integrated into critical systems we rely upon each day, such as power and water, as well as provide protection for public networks, making it categorically impossible for them to ever be decrypted. 

“Mitacs was fundamental in helping us develop QKI. It is very difficult to find skilled labour in this sector. The Accelerate program gave us access to the talent we desperately needed,” says Montagna. 

An essential investment 

Quantum Bridge Technologies is quickly becoming a leader in the field of quantum. With recent substantial support in the start-up from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the U.S. Air Force, the increasing need for a quantum Internet is being recognized by some of the world’s major government and defence institutions. The MIT Technology Review ranked the quantum Internet among the top breakthrough technologies for 2020 that “will make a real difference in solving important problems.” 

But with growing research efforts in quantum hardware worldwide, Quantum Bridge Technologies is constantly looking for ways to expand its research activities. 

“Quantum-safe security solutions such as QKI are only a starting point for us,” Lo says. “It helps us to generate revenue and prove our business model. We do plan to fundraise to expand our activities to capture opportunities in the quantum Internet.” 

A unique approach 

Thanks, in part, to the support received from Mitacs, Quantum Bridge Technologies currently has 10 full-time employees/consultants, including four Mitacs interns, and is well on its way to hiring two more. Montagna attributes the success of their Accelerate experience to the distinctive Mitacs model. 

“The unique link between industry and academia that Mitacs facilitates adds a lot of value to the economy and it is refreshing to see such an infrastructure in place in Canada,” he says, adding that “without Mitacs, it would be difficult to create these collaborations.” 

Click here to learn more about Quantum Bridge Technologies.


Mitacs’s programs receive funding from valued partners across Canada. We thank the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, Innovation PEI, the Government of Quebec, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Yukon for supporting us to foster innovation and economic growth throughout the country. 

Do you have a business challenge that could benefit from a research solution? If so, contact Mitacs today to discuss partnership opportunities: BD@mitacs.ca.