Aurélie Hélouis, founder and CEO of infinityQ, on the entrepreneurial success of women in technology


Haley Crawford contributed to this story.

Aurélie Hélouis, former senior officer and CTO of the French Navy, is the definition of a leader who knows how to perform under pressure. At the head of more than 80 jet engine technicians when she was just 24 years old, she has developed since the beginning of her career the ability to guide others through complex projects, and still does so with a cool head. .

Her engineering background combined with an MBA from McGill University allowed her to make progress at Mila, the Quebec Institute of Artificial Intelligence, where she met Professor Jean Michel Sellier. This meeting became the starting point to finally found his quantum computing start-up, infinityQ.

“I think I caught the entrepreneurship bug when I attended the entrepreneurship evening during Karl’s CEO Insights class at McGill,” explained Hélouis. “Helge Seetzen from TandemLaunch [start-up incubator] was there, and he pitched entrepreneurship all evening. I was fascinated and felt it was something I wanted to do. He finished the course and said, “If you want half a million dollars, a doctorate. as a co-founder and you have a cool cool tech idea, email me. ‘ And I emailed him, quit my job, and became an entrepreneur.

Following his meeting with Seetzen and a few entrepreneurial passages, Hélouis found his rhythm with infinityQ. The quantum analog computing company is dedicated to revolutionizing the technological space with ultra-high-speed green computing capabilities that far exceed those created by long-time leaders in the field.

“There are problems that classical computing cannot easily solve, such as very complex optimization problems and Monte Carlo simulations,” explained Hélouis. “They can tackle it, but it takes hours. IBMs and Google’s of the world promise quantum computing, but need five to ten years. So really, we have to speed up now. And we are already a hundred to a thousand times faster than conventional computing for this type of problem.

In business terms, infinityQ is fast becoming the go-to for financial and pharmaceutical players, who need to solve extremely complex problems within tight deadlines. InfinityQ computers can assess risk and create simulations at lightning speed, giving mainstream players the power of analog quantum computing.

“We have a lot of interest from the financial world in portfolio optimization, arbitrage – issues that take a lot of computing time,” said Hélouis. “The great interest is also in pharma with molecular dynamics, drug side effects and protein docking software. We can tackle those kinds of issues now.

The main objective of the company is to take civilization to the next level and solve the main problems of the world through the supercharged capabilities of quantum computing. To deliver value today, rather than a decade later, the largely female team at infinityQ brings in their high-caliber engineering expertise, investor-friendly business acumen, and empathetic perception of the problems solving.

“We are founded, directed and designed by women,” said Hélouis. “Most people think that what we are doing is impossible with today’s technology. But hey, women manage the impossible every day. And I would say the founders see it differently and have more empathy. We’re also very focused on getting results. And maybe because we are women, we feel the need to prove that we have the skills to do it.

When advising young women about to start their careers, especially in the tech field, Hélouis has many wise words. In particular, she preaches to stick to her guns and go for what you believe in, no matter what others may say about it.

“Focus on your dream and don’t listen to people who say it’s not possible,” she said. “If you want to pursue a technical career, don’t listen to people who say you would be better off somewhere else. When I was CTO of my squadron in the Navy, my CO told me: “Aurélie, you are very good at HR”, and I replied: “Thank you, but I am the CTO. Women are quite capable of doing this type of work.

Whether it is having the support necessary to make multiple entrepreneurial attempts without being discouraged, being intrepid to enter spaces dominated by men, she underlines the importance of having allies in the technological community. that can support the continued development of young women entering space.

“Every woman deserves these moments [of success] and I will always continue to promote and encourage the entrepreneurial adventures of women in the tech industry, and I hope my story does just that, ”said Hélouis. “I don’t see myself as an exception, but as the start of the new normal. “

And when the going gets tough? “If there is no place at the table available, it’s time to build your own house.


About Chris McCarter

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