Quantum computing firm Universal Quantum has emerged out of stealth mode with an oversubscribed £3.6m seed-funding round.

The company is set to develop a new approach to quantum computing which it said could see it compete with the world’s biggest quantum computing companies.

The new technology could help to “tackle the grand global issues of our time, from creating new pharmaceuticals, revolutionising financial modelling, tackling optimisation problems, machine learning even helping to feed the worlds’ population by making fertiliser more efficiently,” said Professor Winfried Hensinger, Chairman and Chief Scientist at Universal Quantum.

The UK Government’s Science Minister, Amanda Solloway MP, will announce the investment at a quantum technology industry event later today.

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The Brighton firm’s investors includes Hoxton Ventures, who were early backers of Deliveroo and Village Global, backed by the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, Propagator VC, Luminous VC, 7percent.

The University of Sussex spin-out company, founded by quantum computing experts Professor Hensinger and Dr Sebastian Weidt in 2018, plans to build the world’s first large-scale quantum computer with Hensinger as the Chief Scientist & Chairman and Weidt as the Chief Executive Officer.

The pair believe that productive quantum computing relies on scalability, having developed a new approach to quantum builds.

Where previous quantum computers have required billions of laser beams for calculations and must operate at extremely cold temperatures, the new firm has developed technology based on trapped ions (charged atoms) to carry out calculations using microwave technology, such as that used in mobile phones.

It claims this removes the need for a prohibitive number of laser beams, and can operate at relatively warmer temperature.

It said it has also developed a modular approach based on fast electric-field links connecting individual modules, enabling the company to scale-up to practical quantum computers that are able to process millions of data points.

Dr Weidt, CEO said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have such high-calibre investors join our vision and being excited about our technology and outstanding team. We’ve done the research, now this investment puts us on an incredibly exciting path to actually building practical quantum computers.”

Professor Hensinger, Chairman and Chief Scientist, added: “While it is a major engineering challenge, our technology and approach do not rely on making major physics breakthroughs.

“We’re assembling the brightest minds to do just that, paving the way for a British start-up to lead the journey to a truly useful and usable one million qubit quantum computer.”

A spokesperson for Hoxton Ventures said if the firm succeeds its impact “will lead to potential breakthroughs in technology, healthcare, materials, financial services and other industries. That’s the kind of asymmetric return we invest into.”

The firm said the next twelve months will see a much larger Series A funding round Series A.