Pasqal today announced it has raised €25 M in Series A funding. The round was led by Quantonation with Runa Capital, Daphni and Eni Next participating and includes previously announced commitment by the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund. The funding will be used to advance the development of Pasqal’s analog and digital quantum processors, strengthen its applications co-design approach, build its Quantum Computing as a Service hybrid cloud offer as well as initiate international expansion.
Georges-Olivier Reymond, CEO of Pasqal, said, “We are very excited to have amazing investors backing us up in our journey to materialize commercial quantum computing advantage in real life applications. This is a wonderful recognition for our highly talented team.”
Building on the long-time excellence of the French academic research in the field of cold atoms physics, Pasqal is already strong of 25 quantum engineers and technicians at the forefront of the emerging quantum industry. In Pasqal’s processors, neutral atoms are manipulated with laser light with exquisite precision to realize quantum processors on-demand with high connectivity and at unprecedented scale, above 100 qubits and towards the 1000 qubits threshold. Pasqal has been developing the full computing stack from atomic qubits to software tools for efficient operation and incorporation into major third party programming environment. One quantum computer is already in operation and two more are in construction.
Pasqal has established partnerships for application co-design with High Performance Computing communities in Italy (CINECA) and France (GENCI), as well as with partner startups and end-users such as utility EDF and financial institutions.
The investors understood that Pasqal’s technology was mature enough to foresee short term applications, as the one we are currently working on with EDF, a French electricity utility, said Reymond, in an email interview.
“We are on track to deliver first potential use-cases, relevant for industrial end-users, by 2023,” he added. “That will come with appliances, ready to operate in data centers, available early 2022 on the cloud and beginning 2023 on premise in HPC centers (Germany + France), operating with hundreds of qubits and up to thousands.”
Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed Forces, said Pasqal’s technology was important for national defense.
“The Ministry of the Armed Forces is pleased to support the development of Pasqal through the first investment of the new Defense Innovation Fund,” said Parly. “This fund supports the growth of French technological champions with dual applications (civilian and military). With one of the world’s most renowned research teams, Pasqal will be among the leaders in Quantum Computing in the future. The applications of their technology in defense are multiple and some highly strategic.”
Dr. Christophe Jurczak, partner at Quantonation, said his team was looking forward to supporting Pasqal.
“We are thrilled to lead this round and continue to support Pasqal in the next phase of their development,” said Jurczak. “They have shown over the last two years an amazing capacity to turn a highly sophisticated technology into a product, while continuing to do ground breaking work on the applications side.”
Dmitry Galperin, partner at Runa Capital, said Pasqal’s approach is unique in the field, which could give the startup a competitive advantage.
“Pasqal’s Quantum Processor is based on the arrays of neutral atoms interacting in a Rydberg state,” said Galperin. “This approach is different from the ones pursued by incumbent players like IBM or Google, but we believe it provides the fastest path for scaling to thousands of high fidelity qubits and achieving quantum advantage for a variety of practical applications.”
Nicolas Dufourcq, General Manager of Bpifrance, said,“Pasqal is a jewel of French Deeptech, which Bpifrance has supported since its inception, notably through the i-Lab innovation competition and the French Tech Seed fund. We are therefore very proud to support Pasqal in its A Series and to renew our confidence in its technological excellence. This also confirms the active role of Bpifrance to grow and accelerate Deeptech companies.”
The investors also mentioned Pasqal’s path to scalability as a reason for their financial backing of the startup.
Gabriele Franceschini, CEO of Eni Next said: “Eni Next is very pleased to be starting this collaboration with Pasqal, a leader in the field of Quantum Computing. We foresee numerous applications of their highly scalable technology in the route towards energy transition and decarbonization of Eni’s products and operations.”
Reymond is excited about the next steps as the startup moves into Series A territory.
“We’re thrilled to speed-up the development of the company of course!” said Reymond. “We will focus on the development of applications (like EDF, and with a bank – to be unveil soon- among others) and on the delivery of the quantum computing power: build the machines, put them in HPC centers, develop the cloud offer.”
Continuing scientific development is also motivating the Pasqal team.
“We’re excited also by preparing the future and developing the science for new building blocks for our next generation of processors — towards fault tolerant schemes and quantum memories,” said Reymond. “We are hiring in all sectors, and are welcoming any talents wanted to join this great adventure and ready to shape the technology landscape of the 21st century.”
Pasqal is building quantum processors out of neutral atoms ordered in large 2D and 3D arrays with the purpose is to bring practical quantum advantage to its customers in particular in the fields of quantum simulation and optimization. Pasqal has been founded in 2019 by Georges-Olivier Reymond, Christophe Jurczak as well as Prof. Alain Aspect the father of the 2nd quantum revolution, Dr. Antoine Browaeys (recently awarded the silver medal of CNRS in France) and Dr. Thierry Lahaye from Institut d’Optique / CNRS. It is based in Palaiseau and Massy in the South of Paris, France.