Improbable: England’s Multinational Technology company’s Unicorn Story
Improbable Worlds Limited is a British multinational technology company founded in 2012 and its headquarters is in London, England. Improbable is making waves in the world of gaming and simulations. Founded by two Cambridge Graduates, Herman Narula, and Rob Whitefield, the company has gone from strength to strength, with a valuation of over $2 billion as of 2022. Improbable makes metaverse infrastructure and applications, as well as simulation software for video games and corporate use.
Let’s find out more about how the founders came up with the idea of improbability.
Dawn of an Idea
Co-founders Herman Narula and Rob Whitefield both met while studying computer science together at Cambridge University. The third co-founded Peter Lipka, was a student at Imperial College, London.
Narula and Whitefield bonded over their shared love for video games. They talked about their likes and dislikes about games and simulation and quickly discovered a shared passion for creating immersive and realistic virtual worlds. However, they soon realized that the technology available at the time was not up to the task of creating the kind of virtual environments they envisioned.
This led Narula, Whitefield, and Peter Lipka to start working on their own technology, and in 2012, they founded Improbable.
So what does improbable do exactly? The initial vision of improbable was to develop a product that can help smaller video game development teams to create massive simulations or virtual worlds at a far greater scale and complexity.
Their breakthrough came with the development of SpatialOS, a cloud-based operating system that enables the creation of vast, persistent, and detailed virtual worlds. So how does SpatialOS work? Well, it uses distributed computing to manage the vast amounts of data required to create the virtual environments. This allows the developers to focus on the creative aspects of game design rather than the technical challenges of creating realistic and immersive worlds.
The three founders of the company would then later go on and become CEO, Chief Product Officer, and Chief Operating Officer.
Road to Success
Improbable technology and its SpatialOS have been able to attract significant attention from the gaming industry and the company has formed partnerships with some of the biggest names in the business including NetEase, Microsoft, and Epic Games. The company’s technology has also been used in other areas, such as urban planning and military simulation.
You might be reading this article with an assumption, ‘Man, that seems easy, develop an operating system and earn in millions’. However, the road to success for the founders has not been very easy, to say the least as they had to face many challenges.
Improbable partnered with Google in December 2016 but a year later in 2017, improbable was hit with a major setback when its partnership with Google was abruptly terminated. Initially, improbable was working with Google, the biggest company in the world to develop games on the SpatialOS platform, but Google’s decision to withdraw its support left improbable in a precarious situation.
But as the saying goes “Sometimes you have to run before you can walk”, Tenacious founders Narula and Whitefield quickly pivoted their business model, and started focusing on enterprise customers rather than the gaming industry. The move paid off and the company ever since secured a number of significant contracts and has even partnered with the US Department of Defense.
Vision for the Company
Having an idea is not a challenge as working on that idea to make it a reality requires courage, persistence, and good leadership. The success of improbable has been driven in large part by the vision and leadership of its founders. Narula and Whitefield have a deeper understanding of the technology they are working with and also they have a clear sense of direction where they want to take their business. They have also been very successful in attracting top talents to the company, with a team of over 800 employees across offices in London, Washington DC, and Edmonton.
The founders have also been recognized for their achievements and have received a number of accolades and awards over the years. In 2018, they were named on Forbes 30 under 30 list, and in 2019, Narula was awarded an MBE in recognition of his services to the UK’s digital economy.
In conclusion, the story of improbability is one of innovation, perseverance, and vision. The company’s founders have created a technology that has the potential to revolutionize the gaming and simulation industries, and have attracted significant attention from industry giants from all around the world. Their leadership and determination have been an important factor in the success of improbable, and their continued innovation and vision are sure to keep the company at the forefront of the technology industry for years to come.