Hadean, a UK-based distributed spatial computing startup that plans to build the infrastructure for the nascent metaverse, has closed a $30 million funding round from a high-profile cast of investors including Epic Games and Tencent.
Founded in London in 2015, Hadean embarked on a broad mission to “make supercomputing levels of processing power available to everyone,” TechCrunch wrote in 2017 while the company was still in beta. In the intervening years, Hadean has repeated several use cases and in particular has become a major player in the gaming field, where it powers big hits like Minecraft.
At its core, Hadean is all about helping developers scale their codebase to support software that requires significant computational power, something Minecraft requires, especially when it comes to multiplayer engagement over the web. Hadean’s spatial simulation library integrates with all major gaming engines and helps MMO (massively multiplayer online game) and other online game developers avoid having to set player limits or use other forms of technical (but limited) tricks to solve the problems. made by hundreds or more gamers participating at the same time. It’s all about keeping the dreaded “lag” at bay, while maintaining the depth, complexity, and realism of an offline single-player console game.
This is accomplished through the magic of distributed computing, where Hadean’s platform eliminates “excessive middleware, orchestration, and over-engineering,” as the company puts it, and dynamically makes more or fewer resources available as a game requires.
But the underlying technology can be used for just about any use case, from resource-intensive business applications to web 3.0, blockchain, and the metaverse. In July, Hadean was awarded a contract with the British Army to build a simulated land warfare training environment.
And it’s against that backdrop that Hadean has now acquired a slew of illustrious backers eager to get involved early on, while the metaverse is still in its infancy.
As the Telegraph newspaper first reported last month [paywalled]Hadean had initially secured approximately $18 million in funding from investors including Chinese tech giant Tencent and InQTel, a CIA-backed nonprofit venture capital firm based in Virginia, US. As it turned out, this initial disclosure came somewhat premature as Hadean is still in the process of finalizing its funding round, which it is announcing today.
The full list of (known) backers includes lead investor Molten Ventures (formerly Draper Esprit), Tencent, 2050 Capital, Alumni Ventures, Aster Capital, Entrepreneur First, InQtel, and the mighty Epic Games, who also happen to be a Hadean customer. In fact, Epic Games has previously provided funding to Hadean in the form of a MegaGrant, which are basically grants to support companies working on projects to help support the Unreal Engine.
In an email to TechCrunch, Hadean CEO Craig Beddis said Epic Games arrived late in the Series A round and so had to invest through a convertible note, which basically means it’s short-term debt that converts into its own. power.
It’s also worth noting that Epic Games recently raised about $2 billion to build what it touts as a kid-friendly metaverse, and this provides further clue as to why it’s investing directly in Hadean now.
“Hadean’s computing power will provide the infrastructure needed as we work to create a scalable metaverse,” Marc Petit, who serves as VP of Epic’s Unreal Engine Ecosystem, said in a statement. “The company’s technology complements Epic’s Unreal Engine by enabling massive amounts of concurrent users and unlocking new tools for creators and developers.”
Tencent’s involvement is also noteworthy, given the current geopolitical tensions between China and the US. Beddis explained that Hadean ultimately took less money than Tencent’s offer so that it could remain CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) compliant, and avoid a national security assessment.
With another $30 million in the bank, in addition to its previously raised seed rounds of approximately $16.5 million, Hadean is well-funded to double its existing traction in the gaming, government, and corporate worlds and launch all kinds of web 3.0 and metaverse applications.
“Hadean’s mission is to bridge physical and virtual worlds — to help us make better decisions and ultimately improve the quality of our lives in the physical world,” Beddis said. “Today’s virtual worlds are a limited experience – small-scale, isolated and insecure. Hence, these are the technical challenges we are tackling today. But we believe the real success and mass adoption of the metaverse will depend on the ease with which creators can build their own experiences at scale, leveraging open and robust metaverse-as-a-service technologies.”