China’s NetEase makes $50m strategic investment in UK game developer Improbable

Photo: Jagex Game Studio.

Chinese internet technology company NetEase Inc has made a $50 million strategic investment for a minority stake in Improbable, a UK game developer that counts SoftBank, Horizons Ventures and Temasek Holdings among its investors, according to a company announcement.

The company said, the latest investment comes “with a significant increase in our valuation.” Media reports said that the latest deal may value the UK technology firm at about $2 billion, double its $1-billion valuation last year.

The latest investment follows a $502-million Series B round of funding led by SoftBank in May 2017.

As part of the deal, NetEase will purchase new shares in Improbable alongside some existing shares, the statement noted.

Following the transaction, NetEase will use Improbable’s SpatialOS cloud-based technology to produce games as it pursues new business opportunities with video game developers and publishers in China and the Asia Pacific. 

“The investment will increase our ability to help game makers in China and beyond to build previously impossible games, by helping game makers to benefit from a neutral, openly available technology platform supporting the next generation of online gaming,” the company said, in the statement.

NetEase’s first game built on SpatialOS will be announced later in 2018.

NetEase’s investment follows a partnership agreement between the two firms in February 2018 for the use of SpatialOS platform to develop games.

Founded in 2012, Improbable raised a $20-million Series A funding round from Andreessen Horowitz in March 2015. Four months later, Improbable raised a $30-million follow-on Investment led by Horizons Ventures, together with investors including Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.

This was followed by a Series B of $502 million in May 2017 led by SoftBank. Andreessen Horowitz and Horizons Ventures also joined the Series B round with follow-on investments.

Led by CEO, Herman Narula, Improbable now has 200 employees placed in London, San Francisco, Guangzhou and Washington D.C.

Also Read:

Temasek, Emerson Collective lead $40m Series B in US virtual reality startup Within

China’s Shanda Games confirms $474m investment from Tencent

 

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.