UK start-up raises £390m to develop virtual reality technology

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A British start-up has raised more than 500 million dollars (£390m) in funding to develop its virtual reality technology, reportedly sending its value over 1 billion dollars (£780m).

Improbable received the huge injection of cash from Softbank, a Japanese telecoms provider and energy company, to build up its "virtual world and massive-scale simulation technology".

The investment will be seen as an endorsement of the UK's technology sector as world-leading, while the firm says its innovations will revolutionise how humans understand reality.

Herman Narula, Improbable's 29-year-old chief executive, said: "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.

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

The tech uses cloud-based servers to create virtual worlds for games with many players, as well as simulations of the real world on a vast scale.

Improbable is also researching how to use the technology in a range of applications including city management, cyber security and telecommunications.

Deep Nishar, managing director of Softbank, said the company's breakthrough technologies were becoming "vital and valuable platforms for the global gaming industry".

According to BBC News the investment means Improbable is valued at more than more than 1bn dollars.

It employs 200 people at its office in Farringdon, central London, and recently opened an office in San Francisco.

The investment will see recruitment "accelerated" at both locations, Improbable said.