The start-up company Quantum Circuits Inc (QCI) has attracted $18m in first-round financing. The firm is based in New Haven, Connecticut and was founded in 2015 by Michel Deverot, Luigi Frunzio and Robert Schoelkopf – all physicists at Yale University – who pioneered the transmon superconducting quantum bit and associated circuitry and quantum algorithms.

QCI aims to develop universal quantum computers that can be used to solve a wide range of problems. The firm says that early applications could include drug design, improving chemical processes, finance and machine learning.

Now hiring

The firm currently has seven employees in management, scientific and engineering roles. Some of the new money will be used to hire engineers and software designers to transform QCI’s prototype quantum technology into practical hardware and algorithms.

Schoelkopf will take a leave of absence from Yale starting in January 2018 to become chief executive officer of QCI. “We are at a tipping point in quantum technology where we understand how to build machines to tackle problems that are otherwise uncomputable,” he says.