I-Demo funding for Alice & Bob, ENS de Lyon and Mines Paris - PSL

Alice & Bob and research partners granted ¤16.5 million in public funding to make quantum computing 10 times cheaper. Alice & Bob is the first company ever to receive all four innovation grants from the French State.

Recipients of the France 2030 Plan’s "i-Demo" call for projects, the company Alice & Bob and its research partners at ENS de Lyon and Mines Paris - PSL proudly announced the receipt of a ¤16.5 million innovation grant. Operated by Bpifrance, the French public investment bank,this scheme aims to develop industrial and service companies in growth markets that create value and competitiveness for French businesses, and contribute to the energy, ecological and digital transitions.

This new grant for the leading hardware developer in the race to fault tolerant quantum computers marks Alice & Bob as the first company ever to receive all four innovation grants from the French State.

It all began in 2016. Théau Peronnin joins the Physics Laboratory of ENS de Lyon as a PhD candidate in the Quantum Circuit group headed by Benjamin Huard, professor at ENS de Lyon.

In 2019, in line with his research into the manipulation of microwave quantum networks, he is setting up the Alice & Bob project with Raphaël Lescanne, a PhD candidate at ENS Paris who completed the first part of his thesis in the same research group. The project aims to develop - jointly with laboratories of ENS Paris, ENS de Lyon, MinesParistech, INRIA and CEA Saclay - an error-free universal quantum computer, and then sell its computing power as a service.

As the end of the thesis approaches, the desire to take his project beyond the laboratory grows. In 2020, Théau Perronin is awarded the 2019 i-PhD Grand Prize form Bpifrance innovation competition, which as he explains on the occasion, "enabled [him] to initiate the metamorphosis and aggregate the myriad of ideas into an ambitious project." A patent resulting from the research carried out at the Physics Laboratory of ENS de Lyon is registered, which will be exploited by Alice & Bob. The start-up was born.

Alice & Bob has evolved into an international R&D company, based in Paris and Boston, with over 95 employees and having raised over $30 million.

The Quantum Circuit group of the Physics Laboratory remains a privileged partner of Alice & Bob. Benjamin Huard has been a member of the company’s scientific board since 2021, and three industrial research training agreements ( Conventions industrielles de formation par la recherche - Cifre) have already enabled the recruitment of three PhD students on research projects co-supervised by Alice & Bob and the Physics Laboratory, and the two organizations are partners in European research projects.

A new joint project to perfect quantum computing

As winners of the i-Demo grant, Alice & Bob and its research partners at ENS de Lyon and Mines Paris - PSL are embarking on a new challenge. The funding will be used to optimize quantum computation, from design to manufacturing and infrastructure to make quantum computers 10 times cheaper to build and ready for market 3 years earlier.

The grant obtained amounts to ¤16.5 million, of which over ¤1 million will go to ENS de Lyon. This repayment will enable the development of a new type of superconducting circuit, essential to the project. Audrey Bienfait, CNRS researcher at the Physics Laboratory of ENS de Lyon, member of the Quantum Circuit group, and Research Lead on the project for ENS de Lyon, is particularly enthousiastic: "To build a fault tolerant quantum computer we must solve hard engineering challenges that no player alone could. This is why we are thrilled to collaborate with Alice & Bob and Mines Paris - PSL".

This France 2030 fund operated by Bpifrance, the French public investment bank, positions Alice & Bob at the forefront of a pivotal 36-month project. This endeavor aims to fast-track quantum computing by enhancing the entire stack’s efficiency, reducing costs and accelerating market readiness.