Virtual Reality

Improbable receives £390m Softbank investment

London-based virtual reality start-up Improbable has raised more than £390m in a funding round led by Japan’s Softbank.

The funds will be used to develop Improbable’s virtual reality technology and increase its headcount at both its London and San Francisco offices.

The deal is thought to value the company at over US$1bn (£780m) and the investment will be seen as a further endorsement of the UK’s buoyant tech sector.

Softbank will hold a non-controlling stake in Improbable, which was founded by Herman Narula (CEO), Rob Whitehead (CTO), and Peter Lipka (COO) back in 2012.

Narula said: “We believe that the next major phase in computing will be the emergence of large-scale virtual worlds which enrich human experience and change how we understand the real world.

“At Improbable we have spent the last few years building the foundational infrastructure for this vision.”

Improbable uses cloud-based servers to create virtual worlds for games with multiple players, as well as simulations of the real world on a vast scale.

The firm is also researching how to use the technology in a range of applications including city management, cyber security and telecommunications.

Deep Nishar, managing director of SoftBank, has joined the Improbable board following the investment.

Nishar said the company’s breakthrough technologies were becoming “vital and valuable platforms for the global gaming industry.”

Improbable employs 200 people at its office in Farringdon, central London, and recently opened an office in San Francisco.

Existing Series A investors Andreessen Horowitz and Horizons Ventures have also made follow-on investments as part of this round.