“In order to train one of the big AI models that everyone’s talking about, it took the equivalent [in energy] of five cars [running continuously] over their full lifetime!”
That’s what Jason Lynch revealed when he joined us on the Tech Founders series to discuss his company, Equal1. They’re on a mission to disrupt the market by building quantum computers that, in Jason’s words, “do something useful” and significantly reduce energy consumption in areas such as AI.
Its sustainability credentials mean that we need quantum computing now more than ever but, besides its environmental benefits, it also has the potential to do so much more to help us. Equal1 want to make it affordable, and their mission has been recognised as they were named a regional winner in the Super Connect for Good 2021 competition.
Having originally come on board as COO before moving to the Chief Executive role early in 2022, Jason was our first guest to have joined their company after its formation. The founders we speak to in this series almost always tell us that, if they could go back in time, they would hire experts earlier on – now I had the chance to speak to one of those experts!
In the case of Equal1, one of their obstacles to expanding the team is the relative lack of skilled or experienced workers who can help them - building quantum computers requires quite a niche skill set, it turns out! How do they find these people and attract them to a startup? Given that he joined the business and is now involved in recruiting new talent, Jason is in a perfect position to explain.
“It’s certainly a challenge. At the size we are, relationships are still key, so having people be able to tap into their networks and bring in people they’ve worked with is a key part for us. Another is building relationships with universities – potentially there’s a pipeline there.
“There’s a certain type of person who wants a role in a startup. If you’re predisposed to that, then it’s all about the excitement of the story and the ambition. Luckily, I think we do have something that’s very ambitious and very exciting. As quantum comes in, there’s going to be a major fight for talent, but I fancy our chances. We have a team that has proven we’ve done this before and we know what success looks like. That, married with the vision of where we’re headed, means that we have a good story.”
As Andy Gomarsall discussed in a recent blog with our Global Head of Technology, James Milligan, the next generation of the workforce are going to care a lot more about sustainability than their predecessors. When you’re building cutting-edge tech that facilitates this, as Equal1 are doing, it creates an attractive proposition and you’ll find people who want to join your cause.
For more of Jason’s insights and stories, watch the event back in full here. Alternatively, catch up with the rest of the series here.
Director, Hays National Technology - UK&I
Harry Gooding is part of Hays Technology, working across our Enterprise Technology Practice and supporting new initiatives around skills development. After beginning his career in recruitment, he then worked in VC backed start-ups and scale-ups for six years across two different portfolios before joining Hays.