Quantum technology in France: key developments, insights from industry leaders, and its future trajectory

Notes, insights, key players


Fanny Bouton, Octave Klaba (OVHcloud): «We should build Quantum ecosystem on a European scale». «The businnesses, in order not to compromise their future, must commit 1M€ to quantum technology for every billion of revenue».

2022: France, the Netherlands, Germany sign trilateral commitment to strengthen collaboration of the European quantum industry: so far a joint summer school + a student exchange program, currently working on creating a European Quantum Campus (a netwok of physical locations geared towards the needs of the growing start-up ecosystem, Quantum House for R&D projects), funding industry-research collaborations supporting Eauropean technology leadership in quantum computing, quantum networks, quantum sensors and helping scale the young quantum industry by bringing Europe’s investment landscape for deep tech /quantum on par with other regions.

2023: French president’s state visit to the Netherlands. European law on semi-conductors = «Chips for Europe» initiative.

Challenges for the next five years: the development of fault-tolerant computers, venture capital funding, use cases creation.

Quantum research in France

Quandela (Pascale Senellart @ CNRS, X): commercialization of a single-photon source allowing for the creation of the first quantum computer on the cloud acquired by OVHcloud.

Pasqal (Georges-Olivier Reymond, Alain Aspect) develops a neutral atom quantum computer and in the short term, building a 1000 qubit quantum computer. Raised 100M€ (2023). GOR: «In two years we will see the first quantum computer providing a quantum advantage» (2023).

Where to study quantum computation in France ? Spacialized Masters : IQ @ Sorbonne U, EPITA.

Network QuanTiP (quantum technologies in Paris region): quantum calculus, quantum simulation, quantum communication, quantum sensing, quantum sensors and metrology. QuanTiP prioritized in 2022 («DIM»).

European Commission’s quantum plan «Quantum flagship» leads to creation of quantum startups in Europe. Today, 25% of the world’s startups are in European.

Competitive European HPC (high performance computing) ecosystem.

Hardware for quantum computations:

  • Quandela : perfects modular photonic quantum computers. «Photon qubits»

  • Pasqal: develops a neutral atop quantum computer. In long term, to build error-tolerant architectures.

  • Quobly (ex Siquance) : silicon-based quantum computer for its advantages in scaling, conception of low-energy circuits.

  • Alice&Bob : adopts a different approach based on error correction in order to build a first logical qubit using an architecture designed to minimize errors, to eventuall become a universal architecture. «Cat qubits»

  • C12 Quantum Electronics : develops a quantum computer based on electrons trapped in carbon nanotubes. (CEO: Pierre Desjardins)

  • Crystal Quantum Computing : builds a trapped-ion quantum computer, implements a quantum gate using Rydberg’s dipolar interaction.

Innovative approch allows them to rival IBM, Google, Intel.

«Understanding quantum technologies» by Olivier Ezratty.

The challenges of industrialising and producing quantum technologies:

Since the creation of the first quantum start-ups in 2016 – 2017, quantum computing has progressed and is now at a key moment in its development with the beginnings of industrial production.

The transition to industrial production means guaranteeing the robustness, reliability, and stability of hardware components despite upgrades, as well as ensuring a reliable supply chain. This also means ensuring the modularity, maintenance, and interchangeability of components in order to guarantee an almost perfect availability of machines and thus pass from laboratory machines to data centres.

Among the French players, Quandela has fully entered into its first industrialisation phase with the inauguration of its first quantum computer factory in Massy on 20 June 2023. The start-up has also finalised the installation of its clean room at the Plateau de Saclay, where they are producing semiconductor components for the generation of photonic qubits. Quandela wishes to increase production and provide more quantum computers, for site sales as well as for the quantum platform on the cloud.

The start-up C12 finalised the prototyping stage in the laboratory in 2022, which has allowed them to develop their first production chain as well as the first quality controls. The company has now its own production line in Paris, before moving on to a third phase of industrialization with the aim of achieving volume and industrial quality.

The providers of enabling technologies and software platforms are key players on the path to industrialisation. The issue is notably the entanglement of already existing elements in the industry that need updating to be applied to quantum computers.

Quantum technology is a key asset for businesses

Finance: Crédit Agricole: Ali El Hamidi (Deputy Head: Capital Markets Funding, CACIB), Eric Caen (Group’s Chief Digital Officer). For the CA group, quantum technology holds a revolutionary potentional for ultra-rapid sophisticated computing and data security.

CACIB with Multiverse Copting and Pasqal led two POCs in finance in 2021 to evaluate what can offer the algorithmic approach inspired by quantum and the potential of quantum computers for finance: valuation of financial products, measuring credit risks.

Healthcare: accelerating R&D (optimisation of site selection, improvement of molecular simulations, prediction of new medicines).

Peter Clark (Janssen R&D): modelling chemically modified proteines and peptides, optimizing formulations.

Qubit Pharmaceuticals & J-Ph Piquemal (raised 16M€+), develops Hyperion, a quantum computing platform capable of carrying out accelerated quantum algorithms and accurate to more than 40 qubits.


France has published an ambitious national strategy to develop the use of quantum technologies in the defence sector.

The French Ministry of Armed Forces and the Defence Innovation Agency (created in 2018) have given high priority to quantum sensors, to respond to potential disturbances with very short delays, and post-quantum cryptography to protect information. The aim is to accelerate innovation by sourcing exterior solutions and adapting them to military use cases. Patrick Autort, Director of the French Defence Innovation Agency (AID), echoes that it is a strong national ambition. As a result, AID is investing in several quantum start-ups through the Fonds Innovation Défense (Defence Innovation Fund).

As further explained by Sylvain Schwartz (ONERA Research Director and Head of the Qtech laboratory), ONERA has been working on quantum technology for nearly 20 years, notably with the support of the Directorate General of Armament (DGA) and AID. The applications are wide-ranging. For example, quantum sensors, and in particular quantum gravimeters, offer significant operational advantages for cartographic activities as well as oceanographic activities for underwater navigation.


As well as defence, there are several quantum applications in the space industry. They include the monitoring of climate change via satellite, by measuring changes in mass and water evaporation.

Satellite communications and their security will also undergo a quantum revolution thanks to the advantage of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics can actually make any intrusion on a signal generated by quantum detectable. Finally, rocket engine propulsion simulation tests will be greatly improved by the use of quantum hardware and algorithms.


The different sectors of industry will have to increasingly integrate quantum technology into their processes. Some business sectors are already doing so. Thus, Olivier Salomon, (Innovation & Deep Tech Advisor, Allianz) has already worked successfully with Pasqal, IQM, and Multiverse. They show companies the benefits of using powerful computing tools in particular.

Multiple existing collaborations are proof of the increasing openness in industry to the opportunities offered by quantum technology. To get the most out of these collaborations, Georges-Olivier Reymond (CEO, Pasqal) emphasizes the importance of choosing partners and use cases carefully, as quantum is not applicable to all situations. With this in mind, the quantum Pack has provided an extremely powerful dialogue platform, as demonstrated by Théo Peronnin (Co-founder and CEO, Alice & Bob), who was able to collaborate with INRIA and Naval Group.

The future of quantum tech

Networks, security and cryptography:

Quantum technology will play a key part in communication networks and data storage. Tom Darras (Co-founder and CEO, WeLinQ) is developing a full-stack solution capable of connecting devices over short or long distances via the use of quantum memory. This quantum memory allows for the synchronisation of all the communications operations and computing in its architecture. At Sorbonne University, WeLinQ set a world record in quantum memory performance. The goal is to move this technology out of the laboratory and provide the most efficient quantum memory in the world, integrated to industrial standards. This “quantum link” will widen the reach of secure communications to 500 km within the next 7 years, according to European goals.

The principal application of quantum communication is Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) for quantum cybersecurity. Marc Kaplan (Co-founder and CEO, VeriQloud): QKD networks are evolving into more complex networks with quantum repeaters to allow secure communications between any two points of the network from point to point.

The threat is systemic. Florent Grosmaître (CEO, CryptoNext Security): “all organisations will have to migrate their infrastructure to so-called ‘quantum resistant’ solutions in the next few years”. Faced with this threat, there are two options: quantum key distribution and post-quantum cryptography. The goal is to raise awareness of this risk in order to initiate a transition as soon as possible.

Long-term data security:

Quantum repeaters help to make storage secured over the long term (notably health data) and make possible the technology of confidential computing. Marc Kaplan (Co-founder and CEO, VeriQloud): quantum technology will be able to offer unclonable cryptography, an approach that will make copying data protected by this encryption impossible.

In the long term, the quantum advantage can also be used for fraud and money laundering detection in the banking industry, securely converting digital currencies for central banks, and secure automatic quantum learning for all.

The cloud:

Quantum computing cloud services are multiplying to fulfil different needs:

  • Access, at an affordable price, cutting-edge systems generally inaccessible to most businesses.

  • The ability to test and choose from the different emerging quantum technologies.

  • The possibility to integrate hybrid solutions mixing both quantum and traditional computing technologies.

For quantum players, emulators are also a way of acculturating users, of demonstrating their know-how and building a community, an eco-system. Alice & Bob and OVHcloud joined forces to make Alice & Bob’s quantum emulator, Felis, available on OVHcloud’s Cloud, “as a service”. Felis is the first quantum emulator to predict the behaviour of logical qubits with adjustable error rates, and capable of abstracting error correction.


The computing power of quantum computers will have massive implications for the production and complexity of algorithms.

Beforehand, it’s about testing them. Developed by C12 and made accessible on OVHcloud, Callisto is a notebook designed to explore quantum programming for future C12 computers. It’s aimed at quantum developers, researchers in quantum algorithms, and quantum computing students.

It acts as an emulator that allows the testing of algorithms and programs on carbon-based quantum computers. The emulator mimics the new generation of quantum computers and enables testing in a realistic environment with the exact noise model, thus providing tools to create and execute quantum circuits.

The place of France in the world of quantum technology

Neil Abroug: Head of the French National Quantum Strategy, General Secretariat for Investment (SGPI).

Building a French quantum strategy:

As part of the French national quantum strategy, an integrated initiative called HQI: France Hybrid HPC Quantum Initiative was launched in 2022. It allows French and European academic and industrial researchers to freely evaluate the potential of quantum computing for their applications on a public infrastructure.

French quantum initiatives are among the most decisive in Europe.

France already has three active quantum emulators: QLM-E from Atos, Perceval from Quandela, and Callisto from C12.

The French strategy impels to the construction of a European platform to access quantum computers.

Jacques-Charles Lafourcrière (CEA): “We believe that having multiple QPUs (quantum processing units) working together […] is a good way of increasing the number of qubits available for application”.

Maintaining the Paris region attractive home for quantum technologies:

The French quantum sector relies in part on the attractiveness of the Paris region. It’s 4th region in the world with the highest number of new quantum startups after the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

Its «2028 Impact strategy» will help to maintain its attractiveness.

Many international quantum operators are choosing the Paris region. IQM and Multiverse: «high concentration of universities, its density of quantum players, attractive research centers».

According to McKinsey, quantum technology could unlock 1 trillion $ by 2035. Today, global investment in the quantum field has reached about 36 billion $ and the industrial applications are growing (J.Van Velzen @ Capgemini’s Quantum Lab).