London-based virtual reality (VR) company Improbable have secured $500 million (USD) in funding from Japanese banking firm Softbank. Improbable specialise in creating large-scale virtual worlds and simulations.
Despite the large investment, Improbably have confirmed that they will remain an independent company. The company was founded five years ago by Herman Narula and Rob Whitehead with the aim of developing technology to create large-scale simulations for clients such as videogame developers. The company has also provided technology to aid with infrastructure projects, such as for modelling transport systems.
Speaking of the wish to remain independent, founder Herman Narula said: “Retaining our independence was something we talked about in a bar five years ago. I’d like to see a British company – maybe us – get to the level where we could be a world-leading platform.”
Improbable were the developers of the Spacial OS operating system, which is available via Google’s cloud to give small developers the ability to create large-scale virtual environments without needing to build their own infrastructure from scratch. “Our vision,” said Narula speaking to BBC News, “is to create completely new realities, massive virtual worlds that can change the way we live and work and can impact the way we understand some of the hardest problems.”
Softbank, meanwhile, are seeking to become a leading investor in technology. In 2016 Softbank bought up chip manufacturer ARM, taking for a 43% share in the business in order to gain majority control and Softbank chief executive Masayoshi Son is currently finalising his $100billion Vision Fund that will be offered to innovative technology companies.
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