O'Brien was previously a professor of physics and electrical engineering at the University of Bristol and was the director for the Centre for Quantum Photonics there. He had also served as a visiting professor at Stanford University in Palo Alto.
O'Brien stood down from his academic roles in 2018 to pursue the idea of creating a photonic quantum computing company although company registrations of PsiQuantum Ltd. in the UK and PsiQuantum Corp. in the US were made in 2016.
PsiQuantum also raised $13.2 million in a Series A round of finance back in 2016 and a Series B in 2017, according to a Pitchbook entry, which lists the company's investors as including: A&E Investments; Atomico, Black Rock, Microsoft and Playground Global. Playground Global was founded in 2014 by Andy Rubin, a former senior executive with Google.
O'Brien formed PsiQuantum with Terry Rudolph, a professor at Imperial College London.
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