SoftBank sinks $500M into UK virtual reality startup

May 12, 2017

A British startup founded five years ago by Cambridge University computer science graduates has received $502 million to develop large-scale virtual reality projects in a funding round led by Japan's SoftBank.

The investment gives SoftBank, a telecoms and energy company, a non-controlling stake in London-based Improbable.

Improbable Chief Executive Herman Narula said Friday that "the emergence of large-scale virtual worlds" would be the next major phase in computing.

The company, which employs about 200 people, creates virtual worlds for multiplayer games, and is researching real-life applications in fields including cybersecurity and traffic control.

SoftBank managing director Deep Nishar said Improbable's technology "will help us explore disease, improve cities, understand economies and solve on a previously unimaginable scale."

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