Brexit boost as Cambridge friends get £390m investment for tech firm | UK | News

Herman Narula and Rob Whitehead, who met just weeks before the end of their Cambridge University course, teamed up with ex-Goldman Sachs banker Peter Lipka to set up Improbable in 2012.

The business uses software to create virtual worlds to be used in video games and real world simulations, with the founders believing they have broken into the next major phase in computing.

This week they gained a £390m investment from SoftBank, the Japanese bank owned by controversial billionaire Masatoshi Son, who last year bought UK tech giant, Arm Holdings.

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Herman Narula set up Improbable with Cambridge friend Whitehead


Improbable is building breakthrough technologies that are becoming vital and valuable platforms for the global gaming industry

Deep Nishar, SoftBank


The cash injection brings Improbable’s value up to £800m, and signals a massive boost for the UK as the Government negotiates Brexit, as well as highlighting the strength of Britain’s tech industry. 

A total of 200 people in London and San Francisco are employed by Improbable in a stunning move away from the company’s humble beginnings.

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Mr Narula started the business from his parents’ house

Mr Narula, 29, and Mr Whitehead, 26, met just a few weeks before they handed in their last computer science project at Cambridge University, bonding in the computer room over their love of video games.

Things accelerated quickly after that, with the pair meeting the next day and that weekend they headed to Mr Narula’s parents’ North London home where they wrote computer programming code for 16 hours – despite it being Mr Narula’s birthday.

Mr Narula’s father is Harpinder Singh Narula, the Indian construction billionaire who moved his family to the UK when Herman was three-years-old.

Friends from their college then stepped in to help, and within months 20 graduates were living and working in the house.

Family and friends of Mr Narula raised £1.2m to keep the business afloat and the founders maxed out their credit cards.

Mr Narula told the Daily Mail: “At one point, we literally borrowed money from Peter to pay someone called Paul. 

“I had 20 people living in my house. One person used to sleep under the desk at which he worked.”

Mr Lipka, 28, joined shortly after from Goldman Sachs and is now chief operating…

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