Zapata AI: Accelerating the Quantum Revolution

Zapata provides an AI-powered application layer to help commercialize quantum computing software

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Alumni Ventures portfolio company Zapata AI has developed a hardware and software stack that lets corporations use AI and quantum computing to address their hardest problems. Zapata tailors solutions to enterprises’ domain-specific, industrial-scale business problems to drive growth, savings, and unprecedented insight.

Unlike traditional computing solutions, quantum computers can process far more data through the use of superposition (the ability of a system to be in multiple states at the same time) and entanglement (when a particle correlates with the characteristics of the others).

Some of the many applications that are progressing from this technology include cybersecurity, drug development, battery advancement, cleaner fertilization, weather forecasting, and climate change.

Harvard and Beyond 

Leading quantum researcher Alán Aspuru-Guzik developed Zapata’s core technology during his tenure at Harvard before he formally launched the company in 2017. In addition to being one of the leading minds in quantum computing, Aspuru-Guzik also helped Zapata develop a strong team of world-leading quantum scientists and engineers.

Quantum computing has the potential to solve equations that trip up even the most powerful supercomputers, opening doors from life science to finance, automotive, logistics, and aerospace. However, this potential languishes if you don’t have the software interfaces and applications to run on a quantum computer.

Zapata offers a solution.

Zapata allows large companies to integrate high-performance AI and quantum computing capabilities from any of the leading hardware providers — including Google, IBM, Rigetti, Honeywell, Amazon, and others. Many Fortune 500 companies are now deploying Zapata to handle their most complex problems on premises or in the cloud, positioning themselves to broaden usage over time.

What We Liked About the Company

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    Cutting-Edge Technology

    Zapata’s technology employs artificial intelligence, machine learning, and quantum autoencoder (a type of artificial neural network), to further optimize quantum computational power. The company’s newly launched software product, Orquestra, helps make the transition to quantum computing more seamless by offering a library of open source components for writing, manipulating, and optimizing quantum circuits.
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    Large Current and Future Market Potential

    Quantum computing is projected to have a global market value of $1 trillion by 2035. Analysts suggest that there could be between 2,000 and 5,000 quantum computers worldwide by this time, ultimately increasing the need for Zapata’s software.*
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    Established Lead Investor

    Comcast Ventures is the corporate VC arm of Comcast, focused on multi-stage investments in consumer and enterprise-focused companies. Notable exits include Peloton, Slack, Lyft, DocuSign, Accolade, and Snap.

*, “Quantum Computing Market To Reach $1 Trillion by 2035,” April 15, 2020

How We’re Involved 

The Yard Ventures (for the Harvard community) sponsored our investment in Zapata’s $30 million Series B in 2020 led by Comcast Ventures, Pitango, and Prelude Ventures, with participation from The Engine Accelerator Fund, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, and others.

Sibling funds invested in the round include Congress Avenue Ventures (for the University of Texas community) and Waterman Ventures (for the Brown community), as well as AV’s Deep Tech Fund and Total Access Fund.

In September 2023, Zapata announced it would go public via a SPAC with Andretti Acquisition Corp. at a $200 million pre-money valuation.

NOTE: Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and this fund involves substantial risk of loss, including loss of all capital invested. To see the performance of each exited investment for all Alumni Ventures funds over the last twelve months and our historical performance since 2014, click here.

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Contact [email protected] for additional information. To see additional risk factors and investment considerations, visit