Meet ForeQast, Creative Destruction Lab’s latest mentorship stream graduate
In 2021, Perimeter postdoctoral fellow Aida Ahmadzadegan launched ForeQast, a quantum technology company that helps its clients optimize their logistics planning using the power of quantum hybrid algorithms and machine learning.
Last month, Ahmadzadegan and ForeQast celebrated their graduation from the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL)’s quantum stream mentorship program, a high-profile competitive incubator run by the University of Toronto’s graduate business school. The program is designed to kickstart promising young companies in the field of quantum technologies.
“CDL provided critical mentorship pertaining to the business side of ForeQast,” Ahmadzadegan says, making the translation from pure research to commercial applications attainable.
Each year, CDL invites about 80 entrepreneurs to join a four-week-long ‘bootcamp’ in July, followed by a call for admissions into a longer mentorship stream. The mentorship stream only accepts about 20-30 participants and lasts eight months. Last year, Ahmadzadegan was one of those accepted.
Once selected, the startup founders are given a chance to prove themselves, with the help of experts in business and quantum research. CDL provides each startup with a pool of mentors who offer guidance in entrepreneurship, identifying their market niche, and developing their business case. Throughout the program, the mentors (as well as a team of scientists, entrepreneurs, and investors) monitor the companies’ progress, refining their strengths and bolstering their economic viability.
It is a high-stakes program. Every two months, each venture must show it has met the objectives set out by the mentors. Those that cannot demonstrates sufficient progress are cut from the program, putting the entrepreneurs in the hot seat to show their concept is nimble, valuable, and capable of potentially “delivering massive improvements to economic productivity and human welfare.” At the end of eight months, only those startups that have proved themselves are allowed to graduate.
In 2022, nine companies graduated from CDL’s quantum stream, and ForeQast was one of them. “It is quite an achievement,” says Roger Melko, an associate faculty member at Perimeter and Scientific Lead for CDL Quantum.
With the CDL experience under their belt, Ahmadzadegan and ForeQast are ready to make their mark. ForeQast certainly fits CDL’s mandate for combining excellence in research and technology with economic potential. The company leverages artificial intelligence and quantum computing to enable the optimization of last-mile delivery practices. This includes identifying inefficient delivery routes and ensuring environmentally sustainable operations, by taking quantum technology research and applying it to real-world problems.
“I hope to build ForeQast to be the platform of the future,” Ahmadzadegan says, “where the power of quantum computing can be made mainstream to address logistics and supply chain problems.”
Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement.