French startup raises $5M to make Quantum internet dream come true

Welinq
Photo Credit: Welinq

Welinq, a Paris-based startup that operates on quantum memory technology to scale up quantum computing and enable quantum internet deployment, has raised €5M funding. 

Quantonation, the first venture capital fund dedicated to quantum technologies, led the pre-seed round, with participation from Luxembourg-based Runa Capital and support from the Paris Region, the French National Quantum Initiative, the French Banque Publique d’Investissement (BPI), and the European Commission.

With the money raised, the team intends to commercially launch its first product, a highly effective quantum memory, in infrastructures for quantum computing and quantum communication. Basically, the French quantum tech wants to deploy the world’s most efficient quantum memories at industrial standards in quantum computing and quantum communication infrastructures.

Welinq’s quantum memories allow for the on-demand storage and release of quantum information without changing its fundamental characteristics. The team has demonstrated with 90% the world record in storage-and-retrieval efficiency (a parameter indicating how much of the information is retained through the process without being lost on the way) with a qubit fidelity above 99% by using laser-cooled neutral-atom technology. The group is currently working on its first product, a highly effective quantum memory that will be deployable, transportable, and integrated into infrastructures for quantum computing and quantum communication.

The Laboratoire d’Informatique de Sorbonne Université (LIP6), a synergistic, multidisciplinary research centre and France’s largest laboratory in computer science, and the Laboratoire Kastler Brossel (LKB), a leading actor in fundamental physics of quantum systems, are the two prestigious French laboratories that gave rise to the Welinq technologies. Together, they have won three Nobel prizes and five CNRS Gold Medals.

“Quantum memories have been identified today as the key missing hardware for the scale-up of quantum technologies. Not only must these devices be deployed on the market at the earliest, but they also need to show extremely high performance and robustness if we want them to truly impact industry and society. We are happy to be joined in this project by investors with strong expertise in quantum technologies and who are sharing our ambitions for the future of quantum technologies,” says Tom Darras, CEO and co-founder of Welinq.

“At Quantonation, we believe that the development of efficient quantum interconnects is a pillar for the whole quantum infrastructure and a path to accelerate real-world applications. The founding team has groundbreaking expertise and a clear path to be impactful. We are excited to start this journey with Welinq,” says Christophe Jurczak, partner at Quantonation

Dmitry Galperin, a Berlin-based General Partner at Runa Capital adds, “When I first met Welinq’s team I was very impressed by their unique technology and the major impact that it can have on quantum computing scale-up. We are happy to stand with this founding team that gathers diverse backgrounds and a common strong ambition for the future of quantum interconnects.”

Welinq, a company established in 2022, makes it easier to connect quantum computers remotely while maintaining their distinctive characteristics. This might make it possible for researchers to build much bigger quantum systems without any problems.

To address the scaling-up of quantum computing, Tom, Julien Laurat, Eleni Diamanti, and Jean Lautier-Gaud—who had previously collaborated in their academic careers—decided to join forces and found Welinq. Their understanding of interconnects as the central component of long-distance quantum information networks and a privileged way to scale up quantum computing beyond the thousands of qubits range quickly became crystal clear.

The Welinq CEO Tom Darras received his PhD in quantum physics from Sorbonne Université after earning an engineering degree in Physics at ESPCI Paris. He worked on quantum teleportation protocols for quantum interconnects. Following his PhD, he moved from academia to entrepreneurship, co-founding Welinq in 2022. As a young physicist and entrepreneur, he thrives on taking on ambitious technological challenges in order to turn proof-of-concept laboratory experiments into real-world solutions that will have a significant impact on science and industry. He was named Grand-Prix of the French Innovation i-Lab competition in 2022.

The team currently consists of 8 members (2 women and 6 men) of four different nationalities (French, Italian, Greek and Indian). 

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