French quantum nugget Pasqal announced on Jan. 24 a €100 million Series B fundraiser. The roundtable was led by Singapore-based sovereign wealth fund Temasek, joined by a European Innovation Council fund, corporate venture fund oil company Saudi Armaco (Wa’ed Ventures) and Bpifrance. Historic investors Quantonation, the Defense Innovation Fund of the Ministry of the Armed Forces, Daphni and the venture capital subsidiary of the energy company Eni have returned to the cauldron.
Pascal’s Bet: Neutral Atoms
Pasqal is developing a neutral atom quantum computer, which should be an alternative to conventional supercomputers for industrial use. The startup expects the product to be launched in 2024. This neutral-atom-based technology that operates at room temperature sets it apart from other quantum players such as IBM, IQM, Alice & Bob or Quandela.
In the short term, the company plans to build a quantum computer with 1000 qubits, and in the long term, “error-resistant architectures”, that is, architectures in which the number of physical qubits (particles) and the number of logical qubits (particles) are elementary units of information transfer of a quantum computer, a feature which is that they represent superpositions of states, 0 and 1 instead of 0 or 1) are equivalent.
In anticipation of achieving this, a very large number of physical qubits (up to several tens of thousands) is required to obtain a logical qubit. This new funding will stimulate research and development for these two projects. Quantum computers currently being produced at launch display between 100 and 200 qubits.
Reliable customer base
Pascal also wants to “accelerate the development of proprietary algorithms for clients in key market verticals” including energy, chemicals, automotive, mobility, healthcare, enterprise technology and finance. Finally, there are plans to open new establishments in Asia, as well as expand activities in Europe and North America. This should be accompanied by a transition from 100 employees to 200 in the coming months.
Pasqal, a sister research laboratory founded in 2019 by 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics winner Alain Aspect, is already working with major companies such as Crédit Agricole CIB, BASF, BMW, Siemens, Airbus, LG, Johnson & Johnson, EDF, Aramco, Ani and Thales. The goal is to offer its computing power in the form of “quantum as a service” in the cloud. To do this, the company turned to OVHcloud and Microsoft.
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