SoftBank leads US$502m investment in UK startup
LONDON: SoftBank Group Corp is leading a US$502 million (RM2.18 billion) investment in Improbable Worlds Ltd, a virtual reality (VR) startup, in one of the United Kingdom’s largest venture capital deals.
The valuation wasn’t disclosed. But SoftBank is buying a non-controlling stake, which would mean Improbable is worth at least US$1.04 billion. The deal would rank as the fifth-largest UK venture investment in the past decade, said Bloomberg data.
Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Hong Kong-based venture firm Horizon Ventures and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, which participated in a US$22 million investment round in Improbable in March 2015, are also committing new funds. The startup creates virtual worlds for gaming and massive-scale simulations of the real world.
“Improbable is building breakthrough technologies that are becoming vital and valuable platforms for the global gaming industry,” said SoftBank managing director of investments Deep Nishar.
Beyond gaming, Nishar said SoftBank believed Improbable’s simulation technology could be used to help explore diseases, improve cities, understand economies and solve other complex problems.
The investment comes as the Japanese multinational is finalising its US$100 billion Vision Fund, with backers including Apple Inc and Saudi Arabia. Bloomberg