British tech start-up Improbable has yet to report a profit but has attracted a $500m investment from the Japanese tech giant, SoftBank. Jacob Greaves reports.
A tech firm being valued at $1 Billion based in London, not Silicon Valley No this isn't virtual reality - it's the promising future of a UK firm that makes the technology. Japan's SoftBank is backing Improbable, raising more than $500 million dollars - Funding that media reports suggest give the business a billion dollar plus price tag. SOUNDBITE (English) CITY INDEX MARKET ANALYST, KEN ODELUGA, SAYING: "We are not privy to the data and they're sort of like background thinking and I have no reason to think that Improbable isn't worth that amount. It sounds a little bit inflated. I would like to see a bit more sort of demonstration of their expertise and capability to compete internationally. But again SoftBank is trying to get in on the ground floor in so many opportunities globally not just in the United Kingdom so we're going to see this sort of thing here and elsewhere around the world for many many years to come." SoftBank says Improbable will keep its independence despite the major investment. The ace up it's sleeve- technology it believes will be revolutionary. SOUNDBITE (English) HERMAN NARULA, CEO, IMPROBABLE "The same technology that powers worlds for entertainment, actually enables us to make massive scale recreations of the real world. I mean we've talked in the past about simulations of the internet, models of entire cities, those problems tend to converge with the technological path that we are on. So I think from SoftBank's perspective, that whole spectrum of problems feels like an exciting new industry. And suddenly that is why we are choosing to take this next step." New realities, new worlds. That's what this virtual reality firm says it will create. But already it could be helping to build a new tech landscape for London