IT Layoffs: Quantum Computing Startup Rigetti Cuts 28 Percent Of Employees

Add quantum computing startup Rigetti Computing to the ever-growing list of technology companies laying off a large percentage of its employees.


IT layoffs are continuing in 2023 regardless of whether companies are startups or some of the largest tech companies in the world. The latest technology company to recently unveil large layoffs is quantum computing startup Rigetti Computing, which will terminate 28 percent of its employees.

The Berkeley, Calif.-based startup had approximately 200 employees as of December, with offices in the U.S., U.K. and Australia.

A 28 percent reduction in overall staff means more than 50 employees will be laid off.

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“We believe these actions put Rigetti in a better position to deliver on the promise of quantum computing and are aligned with the Company’s refocus on nearer-term priorities,” said Rigetti CEO Subodh Kulkarni, who took over the company in 2022, in a statement.

[Related: Dell’s 6,650 Layoffs: 5 Big Changes, Cuts, Michael Dell Things To Know]

In addition to announcing it will lay off 28 percent of employees, Rigetti also unveiled it appointed Jeffrey Bertelsen as its new chief financial officer, replacing Brian Sereda, while also promoting David Rivas as its new chief technology officer, replacing Mike Harburn.

IT Layoffs In February 2023

There have been so many IT layoffs in 2023 that you don’t even need to go back to 2022 to see how painful the technology industry has been regarding letting go of hundreds, if not thousands, of employees in one massive layoff round.

For example, today, Twilio said it was eliminating 17 percent of its employee headcount as well as closing several offices.

Last week, $99 billion IT giant Dell Technologies announced it will be laying off 6,650 employees in one of the largest layoffs rounds in the company’s nearly 40-year history.

Other IT layoffs in the industry in February include Secureworks, a cybersecurity specialist that plans to lay off hundreds of employees. Additionally, Microsoft’s open-source software company, GitHub, unveiled plans to terminated up to 10 percent of its staff, amounting to hundreds of employees. DevOps specialist GitLab says it will lay off about 7 percent of employees this month, which would be more than 100 workers.

These tech layoffs don’t even include January’s massive layoff rounds which included 10,000 layoffs at Microsoft, and Google laying off 12,000 employees.

Why Rigetti Is Laying Off Staff

Rigetti Computing is an integrated systems company that has operated quantum computers over the cloud since 2017, serving enterprises, governments, and research clients via its Rigetti Quantum Cloud Services platform.

The company’s quantum infrastructure provides integration with public and private clouds for practical quantum computing. Rigetti said it has developed the industry’s “first multi-chip quantum processor for scalable quantum computing” systems.

After hiring Kulkarni as CEO in 2022, the company reviewed key strategic priorities for the near term.

The CEO said his company’s current goals are to: launch its Ankaa-1 84-qubit system in first quarter 2023 to deliver denser qubit spacing and tunable couplers to boost performance compared to Rigetti’s current 80-qubit Aspen-M system; prioritize increasing the performance of the Ankaa-1 84-qubit system once launched; and to achieve narrow quantum advantage—the point at which a quantum computer is able to solve a practical relevant problem significantly better, faster, or cheaper than a current classical solution.

Focusing on these “nearer-term priorities” are the reason behind Rigetti’s layoffs, he said.