Runa Capital-Backed Startup Founder Wins Nobel Prize for Physics Discovery Enabling Quantum Computing

/EIN News/ — Paris, France, Oct. 06, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Runa Capital, a Luxembourg-based international VC firm founded and led by serial tech entrepreneurs, congratulates Alain Aspect, the co-founder of its portfolio company Pasqal, for winning a Nobel Prize in Physics. 

Professor Dr. Aspect received a Nobel Prize jointly with John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger for their groundbreaking work in quantum mechanics and the phenomenon behind so-called “entanglement”. The achievement came decades after physicist Albert Einstein questioned the existence of such a quantum occurrence. 

The Nobel Committee describes the achievement as “experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science.”

The Nobel Prize winning physicist is one of the founders of Pasqal, a French quantum computing startup that Runa Capital backed in its €25 million Series A investment round in 2021. 

Essentially Pasqal has developed a quantum processor architecture where qubits are represented by neutral Rubidium atoms. The startup uses laser beams to manipulate these atoms to create quantum processors on-demand with high connectivity at scale. These atoms are ordered in 2D and 3D arrays, which are already exceeding 300 qubits. 

A qubit, or quantum bit, is the equivalent of a binary digit in classical computing; however they can exist as both a 1 and 0 at the same time, hence Einstein’s observations.

“The recognition of Alain’s achievements by the Nobel Committee underscores the importance and enormous impact of quantum mechanics on our lives. His tireless, pioneering work paves the way for quantum computing, communication, sensing and the next technological era,” said Dmitry Galperin, a Partner at Runa Capital. “We are thrilled his work has been honored.” 

Pasqal plans to deliver a 1,000-qubit quantum solution by 2023 to solve real-world problems in quantum simulation and optimization. Customers like Johnson & Johnson, LG, Airbus, BMW Group, EDF, Thales, MBDA and Credit Agricole CIB are already using Pasqal’s quantum processors to solve their business problems.

Two supercomputing centers Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany and GENCI in France will receive Pasqal’s quantum computers next year.

Quantum Computing manufacturers are forecast to generate as much as $10 billion in revenue by 2026, according to Boston Consulting Group. Chemical and pharmaceutical companies are expected to be the first users of the technology. 

Runa partners has a rich history of investing in Quantum technologies, starting from investment in ID Quantique and continuing with later investments in Pasqal, Qnami and Qu&Qo, the latter of which merged with Pasqal. Runa has also made an investment in an undisclosed quantum startup.

Alain Aspect is Director of Research Emeritus at the CNRS, holder of the Augustin Fresnel Chair at the Institute of Optics and Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique. He is an alumnus of ENSET (now ENS Paris-Saclay). During his career he has worked on the fascinating aspects of quantum physics such as wave-corpuscle duality and entanglement. He has explored the foundations of quantum theory and their applications to the understanding of light and matter waves. 

It was during his PhD under the direction of C. Imbert at the Institut d’Optique, that he carried out in the 1980s his famous experiments of violation of Bell inequalities. These experiments, rewarded by the Nobel Prize in Physics 2022, have in particular demonstrated the non-local character of entanglement.

He then worked for a few years in Claude Cohen-Tannoudji’s team at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris, where he studied different mechanisms of laser cooling of atoms, in particular under the limit of the recoil of a photon. Back at the Institut d’Optique in the early 1990s, he founded the Atomic Optics team which studies the wave aspect of atoms cooled and manipulated by laser. His team realized the first Bose-Einstein condensate of the metastable helium atom and developed quantum atomic optics based on the detection of individual atoms. His group also built one of the first quantum simulators by observing the Anderson localization in a gas of cold atoms. Alain Aspect is co-founder of the startup PASQAL which develops quantum simulators and computers based on Rydberg atoms.

About Runa Capital

Founded in 2010, Runa Capital is an international venture capital firm headquartered in  Luxembourg that invests in enterprise software, deep tech (open-source software, machine learning, quantum technologies), and software solutions revolutionizing regulated markets like finance, education and healthcare. From 2010 to 2022, Runa Capital raised over $500M and invested in more than 100 companies in Europe and North America, including Nginx (acquired by F5 Networks for $700 million), MariaDB, Zopa, Brainly, Smava, and Mambu. The firm’s founding partners have built several global software companies, including Acronis (recently raised $250M at a $3.5B valuation), Parallels (acquired by Corel), Odin (acquired by Ingram Micro), and Acumatica (acquired by private equity fund EQT Partners). For more information please visit https://runacap.com/

About Pasqal

Pasqal is building quantum processors out of neutral atoms ordered in large 2D and 3D arrays, with the purpose of bringing practical quantum advantage to its customers, in particular in the fields of quantum simulation and optimization. Pasqal has been founded in 2019 by Georges-Olivier Reymond, Christophe Jurczak as well as Prof. Alain Aspect, the father of the 2nd quantum revolution, Dr. Antoine Browaeys (recently awarded the silver medal of CNRS in France) and Dr. Thierry Lahaye from Institut d’Optique / CNRS. It is based in Palaiseau and Massy in the South of Paris, France.


Spyros Goudelis
Pasqal
Spyros.Goudelis (at) pasqal.com

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