France's quantum computing start-up Pasqal raised $108 million from regional and international investors to fund its platform, which aims to deliver major commercial advantages over classical computers by next year.
The Series B funding round was led by Singapore's state-owned investor Temasek. New investors include Saudi Aramco's venture capital arm Wa’ed Ventures, European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund and Bpifrance's Large Venture Fund. Continuing investors include Quantonation, the Defense Innovation Fund, Daphni and Eni Next.
"Pasqal's engineers have transformed world-class fundamental research into a system that is easy to use and is expected to deliver tremendous benefit to the world," company co-founder Alain Aspect said in a statement on Tuesday.
Mr Aspect received the Nobel Prize in physics last year for experiments in quantum mechanics that laid the groundwork for quantum computing and Pasqal's technology was built on this research. Mr Aspect co-founded Pasqal in 2019 with Georges-Olivier Reymond, Antoine Browaeys, Thierry Lahaye and Christophe Jurczak. Pasqal recently sold two quantum computers to France and Germany, and announced a research collaboration with the University of Chicago, according to its website.
Quantum computing aims to overcome the limitations of classical computing and bring major processing power to solve real-world problems that could not be addressed before.
Investors are moving aggressively to increase the amount they allocate to quantum computing. Boston Consulting Group's research estimates that quantum computing will unlock new value across industries from aerospace to pharmaceuticals, creating up to $850 billion in annual value by 2040.
Pasqal will use the new funding to expand its global footprint. The company plans to open offices in the Middle East and Asia this year and grow its operations in Europe and North America, it said.
To support its growth, Pasqal also intends to double its team of 100 employees this year.
The start-up will also use the funding to accelerate the company’s research and development efforts to build a 1,000-qubit quantum computer in the short term. The number of qubits, or quantum bits, is a measure of the power of the computer.
The start-up plans to increase the production of its quantum systems for on-premise installations. It will also expand the development of proprietary algorithms for clients in key sectors including energy, chemistry, automotive, mobility, health care, finance and government, it said.
“We are on a clear path to deliver a quantum computer capable of unlocking commercial advantage for our customers and this latest investment round will help us reach this goal by 2024,” said Mr Reymond, chief executive of Pasqal.
Pasqal's customers include Siemens, Airbus, LG Electronics, Johnson & Johnson and Thales.
The start-up is working with several Global Fortune 500 companies. Its research with Credit Agricole CIB showed that Pasqal's technology could solve complex financial optimisation problems as accurately as classical computers.
BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, is exploring how Pasqal's technology can be used to predict weather patterns, while BMW is using Pasqal's algorithms to simplify complex simulations that can be used for crash-testing and developing lighter parts and materials.
Wa'ed Ventures said its investment in Pasqal in the new funding round was in line with its strategy of backing cutting-edge technology.
"Quantum computing has the potential to solve incredibly important problems across different sector and we believe that Pasqal is well-positioned to be a leader in the industry, driving the localisation of advanced technologies in the Mena region for decades to come," it said.
Pasqal last year said it was working with the world’s leading energy players, on an initial agreement with Saudi Aramco and a collaboration for fast-tracking industrial applications with Italy's Eni.