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By Jane Lanhee Lee
OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) – PASQAL, the Paris-based quantum computer startup, said on Tuesday it had raised 100 million euros ($109 million) and aimed to deliver major business advantages over conventional computers by next year using the new funds.
According to Georges-Olivier Reymond, CEO and co-founder of PASQAL, this investment is the largest private financing round for a quantum computing startup in Europe. It comes as a crash in the stock price of three New York-listed quantum computer makers, IonQ Inc, Rigetti Computing and D-wave Quantum, has made it difficult to fund the sector.
“As other companies will probably struggle to find money etc, this may be a good opportunity for us to take on available talent,” Reymond told Reuters, adding that PASQAL plans to double its numbers 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 the founders of PASQAL, won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics for experiments in quantum mechanics that laid the foundations of quantum computing.
Scientists expect quantum computers to one day be able to perform certain calculations millions of times faster than today’s fastest supercomputers.
For now, Reymond said, the company’s quantum computer has been able to solve complex financial optimization problems as accurately as classical computers and hopes it will soon show an advantage.
“When we launch the next generation of devices with hundreds of qubits, hopefully 1,000, showing a true quantum advantage with this technology, that will be the revenue inflection point,” he said of when revenues could pick up.
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.
The funding round was led by new investor Temasek, Singapore’s public investment company. Other new investors include the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund, Saudi Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures and Bpifrance.
(Reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee. Editing by Gerry Doyle)