Pasqal intends to take a new step in the race for quantum computing. The French start-up has just completed a new funding round of 100 million euros, a record amount in Europe for a young shoot in the sector. It was the Singaporean fund Temasek, a new shareholder in the company, which carried out the operation.
Pasqal was also able to count on the support of the European Innovation Council (EIC) fund, the fund of the Saudi oil giant Aramco (Wa’ed Ventures) and Bpifrance, via its Large Venture fund. Historical investors such as Quantonation, a seed fund dedicated to European start-ups specializing in quantum technologies, the Defense Innovation Fund, Daphni and Eni Next have also returned to the pot. Pasqal had raised 25 million euros in June 2021 from Quantonation and the French Ministry of the Armed Forces.
A 1000-qubit quantum computer unveiled this year
Launched in March 2019 by Christophe Jurczak and Charles Beigbeder, also founders of Quantonation, as well as Georges-Olivier Reymond, the Pasqal company, a spin-off from the Palaiseau Optics Institute, is seeking to develop a 1000-qubit quantum computer. This course must be reached this year before offering commercial advantages in the context of industrial uses. “This investment round will help us achieve this goal by 2024. This fundraising validates neutral atom technology as a premier platform for delivering real-world quantum applications”says Georges-Olivier Reymond, co-founder and president of Pasqal.
To achieve this, the French start-up merged a year ago with the Dutch company Qu&Co, which specializes in the development of quantum algorithms and software. The new group, which has kept the name of Pasqal, relies on the technology of neutral atoms manipulated at room temperature by lasers to perform calculations. To date, four prototypes of this quantum computer already exist, two of which have been delivered to Genci, the large French intensive computing facility, and to the German research center in Jülich.
200 employees by the end of 2023
Pasqal’s approach has already won over companies, such as Crédit Agricole CIB to solve complex financial optimization problems, and BMW to improve crash test simulations and develop parts and materials lighter. Siemens, Airbus, LG and even Thales are also among the clients of the French start-up.
Pasqal, which currently has around 100 employees, plans to double its workforce in the coming months and expand its international presence, in particular by opening offices in Asia. The company also hopes to put itself in battle order to build the production factories of its quantum computers and to offer its technology in the cloud in order to democratize the concept of Quantum-as-a-Service. But to impose itself in a market which should generate 850 billion dollars in revenue by 2040, according to the firm BCG, it will surely be necessary to complete an even more colossal fundraising.