OAKLAND, California: Paris-based quantum computer startup PASQAL on Tuesday (Jan 24) said it had raised 100 million euros (US$109 million) and aims to deliver major commercial advantages over classical computers by next year using the fresh funds.
Singapore state investment firm Temasek was the lead investor in this funding round.
“The funds will help the company to further develop its quantum computing platform and expand its global footprint,” said Temasek in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday.
INVESTMENTS IN QUANTUM COMPUTER SECTOR
The investment is the biggest private funding round for a quantum computer startup in Europe, according to Georges-Olivier Reymond, CEO and co-founder of PASQAL. It comes as the stock price collapse of three New York-listed quantum computer makers, IonQ Inc, Rigetti Computing, and D-wave Quantum has made funding for the sector challenging.
“As the other companies will probably struggle to find cash and so forth, maybe it’s a good opportunity for us to take the talents that are available,” Reymond told Reuters, adding that PASQAL planned to double its headcount to about 200 this year.
PASQAL recently sold two quantum computers to France and Germany for high-performance computing centers, and Alain Aspect, one of PASQAL’s founders, won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics for experiments in quantum mechanics that laid the groundwork for quantum computing.
Scientists expect quantum computers could one day make certain calculations millions of times faster than the fastest supercomputers today.
For now, Reymond said, the company’s quantum computer was able to solve complex financial optimization problems as accurately as classical computers and hopes it will show an advantage soon.
“When we release the next generation of devices with hundreds of qubits, hopefully 1,000, showcasing a true quantum advantage with this technology, that will be the inflection point in revenue,” he said about when revenue could accelerate.
The number of qubits, or quantum bits, is an indication of the power of the quantum computer. PASQAL’s most recent computer has 350 qubits.
Apart from Temasek, which did not indicate what its stake was, other new investors include the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund, Saudi Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures and Bpifrance.
Some of Temasek’s investments in the tech space have come under scrutiny recently. It wrote down a US$275 million investment in the beleaguered cryptocurrency exchange FTX, a move that was accompanied by an internal review to improve processes.
Another of Temasek’s investments, fashion start-up Zilingo, has also fallen on hard times. The Singapore-based firm announced at the start of the week that it was preparing to go into liquidation. Temasek, one of 23 investors, held an 8.3 per cent stake in Zilingo as of Jun 21 last year.