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French startup Quandela snaps €50M to build the first photonic quantum computer

quantum computer

Quandela, the French startup working on the creation of the first photonic quantum computer, has secured a substantial investment exceeding €50 million. The funding comes from various sources, including investors, the French government through the France 2030 Plan, and banking partners. Noteworthy additions to Quandela’s investor pool include Serena, Credit Mutuel Innovation, and the European Innovation Council Fund. They join existing historical investors such as Bpifrance, OMNES Capital, and Quantonation.

Additionally, Quandela has garnered support from France 2030 as the laureate of the “Première usine” call for projects, operated by Bpifrance. The recent launch of Serena Data Ventures II, a €100 million fund dedicated to future technological revolutions, further contributes to the startup’s momentum.

Based in Massy, Quandela plans to utilise the capital to accelerate its international expansion and scale up the production of its quantum computers to cater to the demands of industrial clients. In recent months, the startup has achieved significant milestones, solidifying its position as the leading European provider of photonic quantum computing.

By the end of 2022, Quandela also became the first player in the European Union, and one of the few globally, to make its quantum computers accessible via the cloud. Furthermore, Quandela was the first European supplier to open its quantum computer manufacturing facility in June 2023, in Massy (France). 

Now, the first quantum computer produced in this facility has just been delivered to OVHcloud datacenter. This marks the first European quantum computer purchased and hosted by an industrial client. Quandela has already initiated the production of three new machines within its facility, scheduled for deliveries in 2024. Simultaneously, the company, which already collaborates with EDF, ONERA and MBDA, continues to develop use cases with industrial players both in France and abroad.

While already established in Germany, Quandela now aims to solidify its position in North American and Asian markets. To meet these new challenges, the company plans to increase its workforce in the coming months. 

This fundraising round represents a significant milestone for Quandela, enabling the acceleration of its growth and support for its international expansion. Quandela will thus strengthen its presence on the global stage with the objective of supporting an increasing number of industrial clients in utilising quantum computing to address ever more complex use cases.

Established in 2017 by Pascale Senellart, Research Director at the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (a CNRS and University of Paris-Saclay laboratory), along with Dr. Valerian Giesz and Dr. Niccolo Somaschi, Quandela has achieved a significant technological milestone. In contrast to conventional computers that operate with bits, quantum computers utilize qubits. The startup’s groundbreaking technology, centered around an exceptionally high-quality and efficient single-photon source, enables the quantum computer to enhance its power rapidly, avoiding the inherent limitations faced by other technologies like ions and superconducting systems.

“We’re very proud to continue to support the growth of Quandela, which successfully opened Europe’s first quantum computer production plant a few months ago. This support is a perfect illustration of the ambitions of Bpifrance’s Deeptech plan: to encourage the rise of French champions driving breakthrough innovations in the coming decades.” Paul-François Fournier, Executive Director in charge of Innovation.

“Many years of R&D have enabled Quandela to converge fundamental and applied research with the first industrial results, delivering a quantum computer in the cloud as well as quantum computers for private customers. Over and above the quality of the teams and the technological depth of their solution, these European – and in some respects global – innovations have convinced us of the project’s potential and scalability. The computing power of quantum has become real and accessible. Structuring the teams and implementing the international roadmap will be among the value-creating milestones ensuring the project’s success. Supporting projects at the cutting edge of French know-how, with a strong economic impact and the capacity to prepare for industrialization, is fully in line with Crédit Mutuel Innovation’s strategy.” Maxence Valero, VC Investment Director, Crédit Mutuel Innovation. 

“Quandela, as a major European player in photonic quantum computing, embodies the innovation and disruptive potential actively supported by the EIC. This investment reflects our trust in their capacity to bring about significant change and drive innovation in the global technological landscape.” Svetoslava Georgieva, Chair of the EIC Fund Board. 

“At Serena, we’re convinced that quantum computing will revolutionize tomorrow’s world. The choice of photonics, combined with a full-stack quantum architecture, is the most promising approach we’ve seen to date. Quandela recently reached a new milestone by becoming the first player to have made qubits available in the cloud and to have sold the first machine to an industrial company. We are proud to support this world-renowned team in this phase of internationalization and industrialization.” Floriane de Maupeou, Senior Associate, Serena.

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