Today UK virtual worlds company Improbable announced a $150 million funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Andreessen Horowitz. The proceeds will be used to develop a blockchain and web3 metaverse brand M2.
One of the company’s biggest achievements is the ability to host as many as 10,000 avatars in a single virtual worlds space. The capacity to have that many people in a shared world is one of the biggest technical challenges for the metaverse. That’s particularly for major events such as sports, music, and fashion, where virtual world experiences shine. However, there’s a very different problem beyond events because most spaces tend to feel empty.
M2 plans to provide interoperable metaverses with blockchain-based governance.
“Giving people the tools to design their own metaverses at the scale that Improbable enables, with web3 interoperability and composability to expand on each other’s creations, will result in some truly groundbreaking virtual experiences,” said Chris Dixon, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
Dixon has been on the board of Improbable since 2015. Five years ago, Improbable landed a $502 million funding round, also led by SoftBank with participation from Andreessen Horowitz and Horizons Ventures. Its revenues for 2020 were £19 million ($25m). To date, it has provided its technology to games and entertainment companies and has defense contracts with the British Army.
Apart from Softbank and Andreessen Horowitz, other investors in today’s round include Mirana, DCG, CMT, Morgan Creek Capital, SIG, AllianceDAO and Ethereal Ventures.
Another investor is Saranac partners, a private office representing funds that include David Rutter, CEO of enterprise blockchain firm R3. One of R3’s backers, HSBC, has just launched a metaverse fund and set up a space in The Sandbox to support its sports sponsorship.