Epic Games-backed distributed computing startup Hadean snags $30 million to power metaverse • TechCrunch

Hadean, a UK-based distributed spatial computing start-up aiming to build the infrastructure for the burgeoning metaverse, has raised $30 million in Seres A funding from a high-profile group of investors like Epic Games and Tencent completed.

Founded in London in 2015, Hadean began with a broad mission to “make supercomputing-level computing available to everyone,” TechCrunch wrote in 2017 when the company was still in beta. Over the past few years, Hadean has iterated for various use cases, becoming a major player in the gaming space in particular, where it powers big hits like Minecraft.

At its core, Hadean is about helping developers scale their codebase to support software that requires significant processing power, something Minecraft particularly demands when it comes to multiplayer engagement over the web. Hadean’s spatial simulation library integrates with all major gaming engines, helping MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) and other online game developers avoid player caps or employ other forms of technical (but limited) tricks to circumvent the problems created of hundreds or more players participating at the same time. It’s all about keeping the dreaded “lag” at bay while maintaining the depth, complexity, and realism of a single-player offline console game.

This is achieved through the magic of distributed computing, with Hadean’s platform eliminating what the company calls “excessive middleware, orchestration and overengineering” and dynamically allocating more or fewer resources as needed.

However, the underlying technology can be used for almost any use case, from resource-intensive enterprise applications to Web 3.0, blockchain and the metaverse. Hadean was commissioned by the British Army in July to build a simulated land warfare training environment.

A virtual world as illustrated by Hadean Photo credit: Hadean

Epic investment

And with that in mind, Hadean has now secured a crowd of illustrious supporters eager to get in at an early stage while the metaverse is still in its infancy.

As the Telegraph newspaper first reported last month [paywalled]Hadean initially secured approximately $18 million in funding from investors including Chinese tech titan Tencent and InQTel, a CIA-backed non-profit venture capital firm based in Virginia, U.S., is still in the process of closing the funding round, announced 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 powerful Epic Games, who also happens to be a Hadean client. In fact, Epic Games has previously awarded funds to Hadean in the form of a MegaGrant, which are basically grants to support companies working on Unreal Engine support projects.

In an email to TechCrunch, Hadean CEO Craig Beddis said that Epic Games was late to the Series A round and therefore had to be invested via a convertible bond, which basically means it is a short-term debt converted into equity.

It’s also worth noting that Epic Games recently raised around $2 billion to build what it touts as a kid-friendly metaverse, and this gives another indication of why it’s now investing directly in Hadean.

“Hadean’s computing power will provide the infrastructure needed as we work to build a scalable metaverse,” said Marc Petit, who serves as VP of Epic’s Unreal Engine Ecosystem, in a statement. “The company’s technology complements Epic’s Unreal Engine, enabling massive amounts of concurrent users and unlocking new tools for creators and developers.”

Tencent’s involvement is also notable given the current geopolitical tensions between China and the US Beddis explained that Hadean ultimately accepted less money than was offered by Tencent in order to remain CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) compliant and avoid national security clearance.

With another $30 million in the bank on top of its previously raised seed rounds of around $16.5 million, Hadean is well-funded to double its existing traction in gaming, government, corporate and all possible types of power to have 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 our quality of life in the physical world,” Beddis said. “Today’s virtual worlds are a limited experience—small, isolated, and insecure. Therefore, these are the technical challenges we face today. But we believe that the true success and mass adoption of the Metaverse will depend on the ease with which developers will be able to build their own experiences at scale, using open and robust Metaverse-as-a-Service technologies to use.”

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