IonQ delivers mixed results in its first ever earnings call

IonQ delivers mixed results in its first ever earnings call

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Quantum computing company IonQ Inc. delivered its first quarterly financial results since going public today, beating Wall Street’s estimates on revenue but missing on earnings.

The company reported a net loss in the fourth quarter of $74 million, or 39 cents per share. Revenue for the period came to $1.65 million, higher than its own forecast of $900,000 in revenue. Wall Street had been looking for a smaller loss of just one cent per share on revenue of $1.14 million, so the results were mixed at best.

For the full year, IonQ reported revenue of $2.1 million, above its own forecast of $1.6 million. The company’s net loss for the year came to $106.2 million.

Though it’s losing a lot of money, IonQ President and Chief Executive Peter Chapman said the company’s performance in the last year was “outstanding”.

“We more than tripled our initial bookings target, announced what we believe to be the world’s most powerful quantum computer, and became the world’s first public quantum computing company,”Chapman said. “Our fourth quarter results are testament to our success in both technology development and rapid commercialization.”

IonQ went public via a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company in October. The company was founded in 2015 and has developed a quantum computing system that relies on trapped ions, which are charged particles suspended in a vacuum, as the basis of its hardware. It’s an approach that’s quite different from its rivals in quantum computing. The likes of IBM Corp., Google LLC and Rigetti Computing Inc. have all built machines that rely on superconducting qubits that must be kept at extremely low temperatures to prevent errors occurring.

IonQ believes the best way forward for quantum computing is through the cloud. The company is working with the likes of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Corp. and Google Cloud to make its quantum machines available as a service in the cloud.

That way, developers can access its hardware, develop and run software without needing to make any costly investments. To aid developers, the company has created a software development kit that comes with various libraries and tool for getting started in building quantum applications.

IonQ is unusual in that it chose to go public at a time when it’s still generating hardly any revenue at all from its operations. Its sales of just over $2 million in fiscal 2022 were minuscule. However, Chapman said in an October interview the whole point was to use the money raised from going public to start manufacturing its quantum computers. The implication being that the company can then start selling those machines and generating more revenue.

Hence, IonQ said it expects to see revenue of between $1.8 million and $2 million in the first quarter, well ahead of Wall Street’s forecast of $1.14 million in sales. For the full year, IonQ said it expects revenue of between $10.2 million and $10.7 million, versus Wall Street’s forecast of $5.23 million in sales.

IonQ’s stock rose 2% in the wake of the report, having stayed flat in regular trading.

Photo: IonQ

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