Zayo co-founder becomes board chairman, interim CEO of ColdQuanta

BOULDER — Dan Caruso thinks he’s found the next Colorado unicorn not in the telecom industry, but in a quantum startup.

The former co-founder and CEO of Level 3 Communications and Zayo Group Holdings Inc. was named the interim chief executive and the board chairman of ColdQuanta Inc. Monday, replacing the retiring Bo Ewald in those positions.

ColdQuanta is developing technology to freeze individual atoms to near-absolute zero, a point at which they produce minimal vibration. In this state, those atoms can be used to create sensors with extremely granular accuracy for use in satellite navigation, scientific research and other cutting-edge technological pursuits.

The technology is also applicable to quantum computing, a field of research that replaces the current model of computers that encodes data that take the value of 1 or 0 with a model that would allow data to be stored in more than one state at a time.

Put another way: if traditional computing is as fast as a horse-and-buggy, quantum computing is as fast as a fighter jet.

Caruso stepped down from the top role at Zayo last October, months after the company consummated a sale to two private-equity groups in a $14.3 billion deal that took the communications infrastructure company off the public markets. He remains a board member.

He held an interest in quantum theory for over 20 years while working in the telecom sector, and it wasn’t until the past few months when he was approached by a contact at the University of Colorado-Boulder to help ColdQuanta start to commercialize its products.

He agreed on the condition that ColdQuanta’s staffers joined him and some of his friends for dinner, where they discussed quantum over several hours with some wine.

Caruso said he has no intention of staying at the top spot of the company, and plans to give way to a qualified CEO candidate by the end of the year. In the meantime, he intends to help bridge the company’s science into widespread commercial offerings. He also plans to lead new bouts of fundraising, which he said is likely to rise north of the $100 million mark in venture capital for the company.

Caruso thinks the applications for quantum computing at a commercial level will revolutionize life in the next several years in a manner like how the internet went from an obscure tool to an all-encompassing part of modern society.

“It’s going to affect everything and everyone in profound ways. There’s going to be new categories, things that get created, that we can barely articulate,” he said.

ColdQuanta currently employs 85 people.

© 2021 BizWest Media LLC

BOULDER — Dan Caruso thinks he’s found the next Colorado unicorn not in the telecom industry, but in a quantum startup.

The former co-founder and CEO of Level 3 Communications and Zayo Group Holdings Inc. was named the interim chief executive and the board chairman of ColdQuanta Inc. Monday, replacing the retiring Bo Ewald in those positions.

ColdQuanta is developing technology to freeze individual atoms to near-absolute zero, a point at which they produce minimal vibration. In this state, those atoms can be used to create sensors with extremely granular accuracy for use in satellite navigation, scientific research and other cutting-edge technological pursuits.

The technology is also applicable to quantum computing, a field of research that replaces the current model of computers that encodes data that take the value of 1 or 0 with a model that would allow data to be stored in more than one state at a time.

Put another way: if traditional computing is as fast as a horse-and-buggy, quantum computing is as fast as a fighter jet.

Caruso stepped down from the top role at Zayo last October, months after the company consummated a sale to two private-equity groups in a $14.3 billion deal that took the communications infrastructure company off the public markets. He remains a board member.

He held an interest in quantum theory for over 20 years while working in the telecom sector, and it wasn’t until the…