By Jane Lanhee Lee
OAKLAND, Calif (Reuters) - Paris-based quantum computer startup PASQAL on Tuesday said it had raised 100 million euros ($109 million) and aims to deliver major commercial advantages over classical computers by next year using the fresh funds.
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 super computers 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.
The funding round was led by new investor Temasek, Singapore's state-owned investment firm. 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)