Press Release

C12 raises 18 million euros to accelerate the development of quantum computing with its unique approach

Paris, June 20, 2024

C12, a French spin-off of the Physics Laboratory of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and a pioneer in the development of a carbon nanotube-based universal quantum computer, announces the closing of its second financing round of €18 million. This marks a new step in C12's development to accelerate the design of quantum processors. It brings together leading investors, Varsity Capital, EIC Fund and Verve Ventures, as well as historical investors including 360 Capital, Bpifrance through its Digital Venture fund and BNP Paribas Développement.

Didier Valet, Founding Partner at Varsity: “We are proud at Varsity to lead the new C12 round with a clear objective to build a large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computer and to strengthen France’s position as a leading force in quantum space”.

Pierre Desjardins, CEO and cofounder at C12: “I am very happy to have prestigious investors on board to speed up our development. I am proud that C12 can count on an extraordinary team. Our ambition is the same as on day one: to become one of the quantum computing leaders of tomorrow.”

After raising $10 million in 2021, the startup has achieved a breakthrough in materials for building large-scale quantum computers. It has demonstrated both theoretically and empirically that its architecture - the closest realization of a single spin in vacuum - reduces all sources of noise that affect the quality of the qubit. At the end of October 2023, the company inaugurated a unique first production line for quantum processors in the heart of Paris: the Quantum Fab. Equipped with several production workshops, including a cleanroom for semiconductor chips, this pilot line will enable C12 to produce its first quantum products.

"Much like silicon laid the foundation for modern digital computing in the 1950s, we believe carbon holds the key to unleashing the extraordinary potential of quantum computing. We are immensely proud of C12's pioneering achievements to date and are committed to support their efforts to turn quantum computing into a tangible reality", said Nader Sabbaghian, Partner at 360 Capital.

“We are delighted to renew our support for C12, a company whose potential we are convinced of. Since we first invested in 2021, this startup has continuously enhanced its value proposition, unveiling last October their Quantum Fab, the first production line for quantum processors in central Paris. This round of new investors will enable it to accelerate its development” stated Clémentine Cazenave, Senior Investor at Bpifrance.

C12 has also been selected for the Proqcima program, launched in March 2024 by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces with the French Secretary General for Investment. It aims to have two French-designed prototypes of universal quantum computers by 2032.

These achievements enable C12 to pursue its mission to design and build a large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computer. Thanks to a unique approach focused on the very high quality of its qubits, the company intends to play a leading role in the emergence of quantum computing as a new technological frontier.

With this in mind, this new round of financing will allow C12 to accelerate its R&D work to achieve a world-first that enables scalability: the first high-fidelity quantum operation on two distant spin qubits connected by a communication bus.

Matthieu Desjardins, CTO and co-founder of C12 : "Our goal is to demonstrate long-distance entanglement between 2 qubits. This entanglement is at the heart of the quantum leap that will one day allow us to compute in a few seconds what today takes several years. This long-distance 2Q gate is therefore a major step forward in quantum technology.”

One of C12's other main objectives is to accelerate industrial co-development partnerships, following initial agreements with French chemical and optimization companies.

Svetoslava Georgieva, Chair of the EIC Fund Board, said: “The EIC Fund is committed to

identifying and supporting high-impact scale-ups that can create technological

breakthroughs, while also driving job creation and economic advancement. We are very

happy to participate in this financing round for C12, and to partner with its ambition to

become, with its unique approach, the world leader in quantum computing”.

“C12 has a unique approach that has the potential to solve the major challenge of quantum computing at the core by changing the material of the qubit and leveraging its unique properties to develop a truly scalable hardware architecture", said Xavier Mesnier, Principal at Verve Ventures.

Launched in 2020 by the Desjardins brothers, C12 is a pioneer in the development of quantum computers capable of tackling immensely complex computational tasks beyond the reach of today's most powerful supercomputers. Using carbon nanotubes as the building blocks of its quantum processor, C12 introduces an ultra-pure material that minimizes errors and dramatically improves qubit quality. Today, C12 employs 45 people, including 22 PhDs and 18 nationalities, all driven by the same ambition: to make C12 a leader in quantum computing.

Alexis Lê-Quôc, Co-founder & CTO of Datadog : “I'm constantly amazed by C12's innovations and their unique approach to building a quantum computer. Matthieu, Pierre and their team are doing a fantastic job and I am delighted to support them”.

Luc Vincent, CPTO @ Hayden AI & Formerly VP of AI @ Meta : “Quantum computing will drive a wave of innovation and new applications, from chemical simulation to artificial intelligence. I am confident that C12 will be at the forefront of this emerging field".

About C12

The French startup C12 develops reliable quantum processors to accelerate very complex calculations, based on a unique know-how developed at the Physics Laboratory of the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris. Driven by a powerful ambition to develop the next generation quantum computer, C12 is the only startup to develop this type of disruptive technology with carbon nanotubes.

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About Varsity

Varsity is a seed-stage venture capital firm which partners with Europe's most innovative tech entrepreneurs, drawing inspiration from the NBA draft in its unique approach to scouting and nurturing startup talent. With a €150 million fund, our mission is to identify and invest in 30 future pioneers across deep tech, finance, healthcare, software, and climate, poised for exponential growth and global impact.

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About EIC Fund

The European Innovation Council Fund from the European Commission is an agnostic Fund: it invests

across all technologies and verticals, and all EU countries and countries associated to Horizon Europe. It provides the investment component of the EIC Accelerator blended finance. The European

Investment Bank acts as investment adviser to the EIC Fund.

The EIC Fund aims to fill a critical financing gap and its main purpose is to support companies in the

development and commercialisation of disruptive technologies, bridging with and crowding in

market players, and further sharing risk by building a large network of capital providers and strategic

partners suitable for co-investments and follow-on funding.

The Fund pays particular attention to the empowerment and support of female founders as well as

the ambition to reduce the innovation divide among EU countries.

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About Verve Ventures

Verve Ventures is one of Europe’s most active venture capital investors. Founded in 2010 in Switzerland, Verve has offices in Zurich, Paris, and Berlin and a team of around 50 people. Verve has invested in more than 170 science- and technology-driven startups from the Seed stage onward. Through Verve, startups get access to a large, sophisticated network of private and institutional investors that help them win new clients and hire top talent.

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About 360 Capital

360 Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm, investing in Europe and  focusing on Deep Tech, Climate Tech, and Digital-First solutions, ranging from pre-seed to Series B stages.

Since 1997, 360 Capital has supported talented entrepreneurs in the creation of high-growth technology companies. Led by an experienced team based in Paris, London, and Milan, 360 Capital manages €500 million in assets and maintains a portfolio of over 60 holdings across Europe.

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About Bpifrance and the Digital Venture fund

Bpifrance's equity investments are made by Bpifrance Investissement. Bpifrance finances companies -at every stage of their development- with credit, guarantees and equity. Bpifrance supports them in their innovation and international projects. Bpifrance now also provides their export activity through a wide range of products. Consulting, university, networking and acceleration programs for startups, SMEs and ETIs are also part of the offer proposed to entrepreneurs.

Bpifrance Digital Venture is the team in charge of venture investments in innovative technology companies in the digital sector. It supports technology companies at the seed, Series A and Series B stages, with the ambition of becoming international leaders in their market. With €720 million under management, Bpifrance Digital Venture has invested in nearly 120 companies and completed 30 divestments since 2011. The team has invested in Talentsoft (Cegid), Netatmo (Legrand), Meilleurs Agents (Axel Springer), Cardiologs Technologies (Phillips), Manomano, Openclassrooms, Shippeo, Strapi, GitGuardian, Livestorm, Swan, Exotrail or even Mistral AI.

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About BNP Paribas Développement
BNP Paribas Développement, an autonomous subsidiary of the international banking group BNP Paribas, is a limited company which, for over 30 years, has been investing its own funds directly as a minority shareholder to support the development of successful start-ups, SMEs & ETIs, and to ensure their long-term survival by facilitating their transfer. In addition to providing companies with stable financial resources, BNP Paribas Développement's mission is to support the management team over the long term as it implements its medium-term strategic projects. Our position as a minority shareholder ensures that our partners benefit from appropriate governance without interference in day-to-day management, while benefiting from the strength of a recognized group and the experience of a partner with a portfolio of over 500 diversified holdings.

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