London-based start-up Improbable has raised $502million in funding to boost its virtual gaming technology business.

The company based in Farringdon has developed a platform for third parties to build vast simulated worlds.

The money was raised in funding led by SoftBank, with previous investors Andreessen Horowitz and Horizons Ventures also participating.

Valuation of the company has not been discolosed but CEO Herman Narula told TechCrunch that it’s a minority stake. The company had only raised $50 million prior to this, placing the valuation at around or over $1 billion.

It will be invested in developing Improbable’s technology through accelerated recruitment in its London and San Francisco offices, and expanding its developers and customers.

“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,” said Herman.

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

Telecommunications simulation in a city

Founder of Horizons Ventures Solina Chau said: “Having backed Improbable from the start, we continue to see huge potential in the application of its technology, both for solving real-world problems and in changing the future of the games industry. Improbable is an exciting, ambitious company that we’re honoured to be a part of.”

Improbable made its name when its platform SpatialOS launched last year. It lets developers design and build massively detailed environments by using distributed cloud computing infrastructure, incorporating machine learning technology and other advances.

Alongside the investment, Improbable will explore and identify opportunities for mutually beneficial relationships with SoftBank, its partners and portfolio companies.

Deep Nishar of SoftBank has joined the Improbable Board following the investment, which sees SoftBank taking a non-controlling stake in the company.

He said: “Improbable is building breakthrough technologies that are becoming vital and valuable platforms for the global gaming industry.

“Beyond gaming, this new form of simulation on a massive scale has the potential to help us make better decisions about the world we live in.

“Improbable’s technology will help us explore disease, improve cities, understand economies and solve complex problems on a previously unimaginable scale.”

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