Improbable, a UK virtual simulation start-up, is raising $502m from Japan’s SoftBank in a deal that will value the business at more than $1bn and mark the largest-ever venture financing round for a private British company. The investment is set to transform the prospects for the secretive London-based software developer, founded by two Cambridge university graduates, which creates sophisticated virtual worlds for games and other applications. Its previous venture financing round saw it raise $20m at a $100m valuation from well-known Silicon Valley backers Andreessen Horowitz and a fund run by British tech investor Saul Klein. Although such sums are routine for Silicon Valley counterparts, the SoftBank move is the largest so-called Series B investment in Europe, according to CBInsights. European start-ups have traditionally struggled to secure chunky cheques from later-stage investors.

For SoftBank, the deal is the second major UK investment in under a year by Masayoshi Son, the globe-trotting founder of the telecoms-to-technology conglomerate. Last July, Mr Son swooped on Cambridge-based chip designer Arm Holdings with a £24.3bn takeover deal, just weeks after the UK had voted to exit the EU.

Source: Financial Times,



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