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Quantum Startups Pasqal and Qu&Co Announce Merger

The Pasqal team, seen here, and Qu&Co’s team will be working together to advance business advantage through quantum computing, according to a statement.

Pasqal (TQI: Pasqal), a developer of neutral atom-based quantum technology, and Qu&Co (TQI: Qu&Co), a quantum algorithm and software developer, today announced a merger to accelerate progress on achieving business advantage through quantum computing by leveraging their complementary solutions.

Continuing as Pasqal and headquartered in Paris, executives from the two firms say the combined company will deliver a 1,000-qubit quantum solution in 2023, on pace with the announced roadmaps of the most advanced quantum platforms, according to a joint press release and an exclusive interview with TQI’s Kenna Castleberry.

Qu&Co’s rich quantum algorithm portfolio will be closely integrated with Pasqal’s advanced quantum hardware, providing additional value to customers such as Johnson & Johnson, LG, Airbus and BMW Group. The combined company will offer a broad range of quantum solutions in chemistry, life sciences, automotive, electronics, utilities, aerospace, defense, finance and other sectors.

“Leveraging the synergies of the two companies will further strengthen our full-stack, neutral-atom solution in achieving near-term commercial benefit,” said Georges-Olivier Reymond, CEO of Pasqal.  “Qu&Co’s technology and exceptional talent base has proven itself across several industries and will allow us to compete with any quantum computing company in the world.”

Reymond will remain CEO of the combined company while Benno Broer, CEO of Qu&Co, will take on the role of Chief Commercial Officer. Broer also serves as vice president of the European Quantum Industry Consortium (QuiC) and brings over 15 years of business development experience.

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The merged company will have operations in seven countries with more than 60 employees from over 15 countries, supported by an academic advisory board with leading professors in quantum chemistry and quantum machine learning.  Qu&Co’s pan-European activities will continue under the names Pasqal Netherlands, Pasqal Germany, Pasqal UK and Pasqal Spain.

“Working with Pasqal on joint research convinced us their neutral atom technology is the best solution to attain real-world commercial applications in quantum computing,” said Broer. “We were impressed by the performance of our algorithms on their hardware and the many significant contributions the company has made in the quantum industry.”

Pasqal’s quantum computing technology controls neutral atoms (atoms possessing an equal number of electrons and protons) with optical “tweezers,” using laser light to engineer full-stack processors with high connectivity and scalability. Its software-agnostic quantum processing units can operate at room temperature with lower energy, allowing the company to address complex problems more efficiently than classical computers.

Qu&Co’s algorithm portfolio includes problem-solving tools for computational finance, fluid dynamics and chemistry, while Pasqal brings algorithms for optimization problems and quantum machine learning, empowered by its Pulser coding platform, which enables the control of neutral atoms-based processors at the level of laser pulses.

In an exclusive interview with TQI, Qu & Co CEO Broer said, “In this past, we’ve worked together with quite a few quantum hardware companies, trying to optimize our algorithms to run better on their hardware. And what you notice in those partnerships is that although you get some progress, it remains quite hard because you don’t share everything, and the hardware partner doesn’t share everything. So, we think it is much more effective if you do that as one company.”

The merger will not only streamline these two companies’ processes but can have significant impacts on the global quantum computing ecosystem. The new combined company, whose new name is not yet known, will double in size, not only in its employee numbers but in its different client industries. The new company is also hoping to use the merger to accelerate the scaling up of products.

Company officials expect significant benefits for both companies as they transition in the merger.

“We will have many more resources, a bigger budget, and hopefully much more talent,” explained Broer. “It will be easier to attract the best talent if your company is bigger. Especially now that we, in my opinion, are a leader in quantum computing in Europe.”

A Boost For Europe’s Quantum Ecosystem

Besides the business aspect of the merger, the officials say they hope the move will be a boost for quantum in Europe.

“We are collaborating, which sends a strong message to the European quantum ecosystem,” said Reymond. “If we want to be strong, we need to work together, and this is a way of doing that. I hope it will prevent the kind of selfish behavior that we can sometimes see in other countries.”

Developing the Quantum Workforce

As Qu & Co and Pasqal were important quantum companies on their own, the merger between them will cause some important ripples in the industry. Both Broer and Reymond agreed that the merger could help attract the right talent from the incoming workforce. As many companies look to the future, there is a general concern that the talent pool for the quantum industry may significantly shrink.

“It’s a difficult talent market out there. And but you need to be able to track the best of the best,” added Broer. Mergers like this one can help make these shortages more manageable.

Both companies hope their merger will be an example for others, as they can take advantage of working together and making the R&D process more collaborative. As both Pasqual and Qu & Co focus on different applications of quantum technology, their merger allows for more efficiency in design and product development. Pasqal, for their part, works on quantum devices, including quantum processors for simulations. In contrast, Qu & Co develops quantum algorithms and software respectfully. The combination of software and hardware in this merger allows the new combined company to approach new industries and significantly advance their technology.

“We are strengthening the development of applications by getting new verticals,” added Reymond. “And the outcome is a faster business basically.” Broer agreed with this sentiment. “I hope that the attention that the merger will get can help us gain an important leadership position that will help us find even more attractive and interesting clients. The clients that we work with are an important part of developing and testing the hardware, and developing the applications so that we deliver not only a quantum advantage in the near term but a real industry-relevant quantum advantage.”

About Qu&Co
Qu&Co is a developer of quantum computational algorithms and software that empowers its corporate clients to solve valuable problems in the fields of chemistry, materials science, fluid dynamics and computational finance with unprecedented accuracy and speed. Its SaaS products include unique and patented quantum algorithms distributed as a backend integration to leading conventional software packages. Its clients include Covestro, BMW, Airbus, Johnson & Johnson and LG while partners include Siemens, Schrödinger Inc. and AWS. With IP (algorithm) development supported by leading professors from multiple European universities, the company’s team combines key strengths in quantum information science with solid experience in B2B sales and business development.

About Pasqal
Pasqal builds quantum computers from ordered neutral atoms in 2D and 3D arrays with the goal of bringing a practical quantum advantage to its customers in addressing real-world problems, especially in quantum simulation and optimization. Pasqal was founded in 2019 by Georges-Olivier Reymond, Christophe Jurczak, Professor Dr. Alain Aspect, Dr. Antoine Browaeys and Dr. Thierry Lahaye. Based in Palaiseau and Massy, south of Paris, Pasqal secured a €25 million Series A financing round in April 2021 () co-led by Quantonation (a venture fund of Audacia) and the Defense Innovation Fund managed by Bpifrance on behalf of the French Defense Innovation Agency (AID).

For more market insights, check out our latest quantum computing news here.

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry

Science Communicator at JILA

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