In theory, quantum computing promises an unprecedented amount of processing power that could be used to solve the most complicated problems, but in practice, most attempts at building the physical version of the concept produce too many errors. The startup out of France believes it has made a breakthrough to solve those issues and is announcing some funding to help it apply those advances to building machines.

The Paris startup that is building what it says are fault-tolerant quantum processors has raised over twenty million dollars. The Series A is being co-led by Bpifrance, with participation from other companies. Alice and Bob received a 3 million seed round in 2020.

The startup's name is a reference to the two fictional characters that are often used as Archetypes for hypothetical thought experiments in areas like cryptography and quantum physics. The breakthrough building block of Alice's system has a theoretical reference. ThxE9;au Peronnin, the CEO, tells me that Alice and Bob have come up with a different architecture that is more suited to quantum computing.

While most approaches to building quantum computer processors have been based around superconducting circuits, Peronnin's startup has come up with another kind of chip architecture.

More than half of the 40 people who work there now have PhDs.

Recent work with one group led by quantum physics professor Zaki Leghtas showed that its cat qubits resist the two types of faults quantum systems usually encounter. It isn't much up time, but it is nearly a 100,000x improvement on earlier quantum efforts.

Peronnin tells me that the startup's next step is to work on using its cat qubit to reduce phase flips, and that it will be another year before we see any product announcements.

Peronnin believes that the startup has leaped ahead of other tech companies because of the extensive work it has done so far. Alice and Bob have filed patents on their hardware and software components, and while they don't have plans to license it to other companies, they can still use it to build their own computers.

We first have to demonstrate that the technology can deliver on its promises, and that's why we're focusing on building the whole machine.

The global quantum race has been going on for a while now, with many announcements from larger tech companies of the work that they are doing, plus a wide swathe of startups coming out of academia also looking to commercialize their particular advancements and approaches.

It all looks very close, and given how the rest of the tech world has advanced, a push for using technology to solve some of the world's most problematic problems is growing.

"We are convinced that some of society's biggest challenges can be addressed by using breakthrough technologies created in research labs," said the Investment Director at Elaia in a statement.