D-Wave Quantum Inc. (formerly D-Wave Systems) is once again facing delisting from the New York Stock Exchange because its stock price has dropped and hovered below $1 per share for 30 consecutive trading days. The company had just regained compliance in July after being notified for the first time last March that it was in non-compliance.
D-Wave stock (NYSE, QBTS) closed at $0.79 today.
Back in July when D-Wave regained compliance, the stock was $2.10. The company has six months to cure the deficiency. The roller coaster ride around NYSE compliance can’t be good for the company. It is also certainly true that recently the stock market has battered many companies and D-Wave has been caught in the trend.
In an effort to conserve cash, D-Wave announced today it was cancelling bonuses. Here’s an excerpt from its 8K form filed today:
“On October 20, 2023, the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of the Company approved the cancellation of the 2022 annual cash incentive bonuses for all of the Company’s eligible employees (the “Cash Incentive Bonuses”), including the Cash Incentive Bonuses previously disclosed as earned by the Company’s named executive officers in the Company’s 2022 Proxy Statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 24, 2023. In cancelling the Cash Incentive Bonuses, the Board took into consideration a number of factors, including the Company’s ongoing commitment to manage the business efficiently and effectively, its focus on achieving profitability, and the general market conditions in the Company’s industry and the tech industry overall.”
In response to an email inquiry, D-Wave responded, “We confirm that we’ve received a notice from the New York Stock Exchange regarding its trading share price listing rule. We are considering available alternatives to cure this deficiency and return to compliance with the NYSE standard.”
D-Wave is one of a few quantum computing companies that went public via the SPAC approach in the last couple of years. Back in July, HPCwire noted, “The public markets, as has been widely noticed, have not been kind to SPAC stocks recently, including the handful of independent quantum computer companies that used the SPAC route to reach public markets. Rigetti Computing, which went public via a SPAC merger in March 2022, has also been under the threat of delisting by NASDAQ since February. Rigetti’s stock price was $1.52 at the time of this writing and has bounced around the $1 mark; on June 23, the stock closed at $0.913 per share.
“IonQ, which went public in November 2021 also via a SPAC deal, has so far avoided the threat of delisting. At this writing, IonQ’s stock price was $14.86 per share. IonQ’ stock had hovered in the $4.50-to-$7.00 range for the last year before jumping above $10 in late May.”
IonQ (NYSE, IONQ) stock was $11.01 at closing today. Rigetti (NASDAQ, RGTI) stock closed at $1.30.
Founded in 1999, D-Wave was one of the first pure-play quantum computing companies. While it recently began a gate-based technology initiative, the company has mostly pursued a quantum annealing approach to quantum computing which is somewhat akin to analog computing. While gate-based systems have struggled to increase qubits counts and to implement error correction/mitigation, D-Wave was able to build a 5000-qubit system (Advantage) and its systems do not use ‘active error’ correction.
[Updated with analyst comment, 10/25] IDC’s lead quantum analyst Heather West noted, “Early hype about the potential advantages of quantum computing detracted from the fact that most modalities, specifically gate-based models, of quantum computing are still in the early stages of development. This has caused some organizations to delay their adoption of quantum in order to invest in other emerging technologies such as AI, which can deliver value and ROI today. Unfortunately, more mature quantum technologies, such as quantum annealing, may be feeling the brunt of the hype even though it has the potential to currently be used to achieve a near-term advantage when solving complex optimization problems.”
The two approaches to quantum computing are quite different and most observers believe the gate-based approach will eventually produce a much more powerful quantum computer. That said, quantum annealing has proven to be effective at solving complicated optimization problems.
At the company’s user meeting, Qubits23, last January, it aggressively promoted its commercial capabilities and expanding technology roadmap, but driving revenue has proven difficult as it has more generally in the quantum space. (See HPCwire coverage, Qubits23 – D-Wave Asserts the Quantum Wait Is Over)