Five questions with InfinityQ
5 minute read
Aurelie is the Co-founder and CEO of infinityQ Technology and has a multidisciplinary background in defense, technology and business.
Aurelie is the Co-founder and CEO of infinityQ Technology and has a multidisciplinary background in defence, technology and business. She founded the infinityQ project when she met Jean-Michel Sellier, a renowned professor in quantum mechanics at Mila, Quebec AI (Artificial Intelligence) Institute.
With a constantly growing team, infinityQ is developing room temperature quantum proprietary hardware and software solutions that can solve complex problems that would take classical computers thousands of years to solve. They are moving fast, only a year and a half after meeting her co-founder, the team has achieved a proof of concept demonstrating its quantum computing capability.
Aurelie began her professional career in the French Navy as an aviation engineer officer. After being chief technical officer of the first Rafale jet aircraft squadron, deployed on board the aircraft carrier, she completed a master’s degree in information technology. She then went on to become the Chief Information Officer of a naval air station. Having completed 16 years in the Navy, she voluntarily retired as a lieutenant commander and moved to Montreal to pursue her MBA at McGill University where she discovered a passion for entrepreneurship.
01. What was the inspiration behind your company?
Quantum mechanics is fascinating and mysterious. Quantum effects are somewhat magical, and being able to harness them allows us to compute a million times faster than classical computers can. With this exciting new technology, we hope to help in the search for solutions to global problems. It is not possible to predict everything that quantum computers will be able to do, but we are part of this technological revolution. From climate change modelling, to enhanced security and the development of new medicines, our technology will be able to solve impossible problems to make a better world.
02. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned since first developing and launching your startup?
Launching a startup is more than the development of a technology; it's also the creation of a real company and all the aspects that come with it. For the moment, being CEO means not only determining vision, mission, values and strategy; it also means being an accountant, working on legal documents, hiring employees, training them, promoting the company, managing the move to new offices and purchasing equipment, all while talking to potential customers, partners and investors. It never stops, but I’ve learned it’s important to manage priorities while remaining focused on our goals. As the quote says: “the devil is in the details.”
03. How has the pandemic impacted your company?
Since everything has to be done remotely, we had to set up labs at our employees' homes. Whether it was in their bedroom or living room, our employees were able to continue working on the advancement of our technology. In addition to unplanned expenses for the creation of these remote laboratories, we were also confronted with delays in obtaining visas for our employees.
04. Some female founders report experiencing problems accessing capital, mentors, and networking opportunities. Tell us about some of the barriers you’ve faced.
My previous jobs often forced me to confront the realities of working in areas traditionally reserved for men. As a woman, it is often more difficult to have credibility in an environment that is usually made up of men. I had to work harder and show better results to be accepted, but I never gave up. Today I am proud to be able to promote women in our company.
05. What is the one piece of advice you'd give to other women thinking about starting a company?
Whatever the path, whether atypical or not, each event and milestone helps our development and brings us the knowledge and experience needed to build a company. Believe in yourself and follow your vision. Use unproductive criticism to fuel your motivation. Use productive criticism to serve your goals.
It is also essential to surround yourself with the right people in order to get through the challenges you will face. Ensure that your family is aligned with your ambition and that they support you. Being an entrepreneur is not a job, it is more a state-of-mind.
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