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Universal Quantum raises £3.6m seed funding

Universal Quantum, a disruptive new player on the global quantum computing stage, has today emerged out of stealth announcing an oversubscribed £3.6 million seed-funding round.

The company is set to develop its ground-breaking new quantum computing approach and compete with the world’s biggest quantum computing companies with backing from highly influential tech investors.

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

Universal Quantum’s prestigious list of investors includes Hoxton Ventures, who were early backers of Deliveroo, Village Global, backed by the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, Propagator VC, Luminous VC, 7percent, as well as influential individuals. Investors have described Universal Quantum as having ‘the best approach to deliver on the exponential promises of quantum’.

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

Dr Sebastian Weidt, CEO at Universal Quantum, 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 Winfried Hensinger, Chairman and Chief Scientist at Universal Quantum said: “Quantum computing has the power to change the world for the better. We are taking a small but significant step toward realising that potential by getting started with the engineering to create practical quantum computers.

“Our large-scale quantum computers will one day allow us 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.”

A spokesperson for Hoxton Ventures said: “At Hoxton, we’re on the search to back the next big thing. Quantum computing is where artificial intelligence was back in 2010. We think Universal Quantum’s trapped ion technique is the best approach to deliver on the exponential promises of quantum. We think if UQ 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.”

A spokesperson for Village Global said: “No other company has shown how they can work with millions of ions for a powerful quantum machine without needing millions of lasers, which quickly becomes unfeasible at scale. Universal Quantum execute quantum gates by applying voltages to a microchip, which is a smart and elegant solution to the problem of scaling up.

“At Village Global, we will always back the best ideas and we are excited supporting this great venture going forward”

Andrew J Scott, a founding partner at 7percent ventures, said: “When we looked for a quantum computing team to invest in it was very clear that Winfried and Seb not only had the experience to deliver on such a technical challenge but have the vision to do so. This will be a step change for science, equivalent in impact to the invention of the microprocessor
or the internet. It’s just the sort of big idea at 7percent Ventures we love to back.”

Professor Adam Tickell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sussex, said: “This University of Sussex spin-out company will see the Greater Brighton area become a new centre of gravity in the world’s rapidly growing quantum computing industry.

“We are very proud of the achievements of Professor Winfried Hensinger and Dr Sebastian Weidt, and their team, who have long been pushing the boundaries of developments in this area, from publishing the world’s first blue-print for building a large-scale quantum computer in 2017 to pioneering technology which uses microwaves rather than lasers to execute calculations within the quantum computer.”

The seed-funding – to the value of £3.6 million – has been secured from the following investors: Hoxton Ventures, Village Global, Propagator VC, Luminous VC, 7percent Ventures, FoundersX Ventures and La Roca Capital.