Hadean, a UK-based distributed space computing startup that sets out to build the infrastructure for the burgeoning metaverse, has closed a $30 million funding round of A-beings from a cast of high-profile investors, including Epic Games. and Tencent.
Founded in London in 2015, Hadean began with the broad mission of making “supercomputer levels of processing power available to anyone,” TechCrunch wrote in 2017 when the company was still operating in beta. In the intervening years, Hadean has iterated for different use cases and has become a major player in the gaming sphere in particular, where he powers big hits like Minecraft.
At its core, Hadean is about helping developers scale their code base to support software that requires significant computing power, something that Minecraft demands especially when it comes to internet multiplayer. Hadean’s space simulation library integrates with all major game engines and helps MMOs (massively multiplayer online gaming) and other online game developers avoid having to set player limits or use other forms of technical gimmicks ( but limited) to get around the problems. created by 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 “excess middleware, orchestration, and over-engineering,” as the company puts it, dynamically provisioning more or fewer resources as the game requires.
But the underlying technology can be used for almost any use case, from resource-intensive enterprise applications to web 3.0, blockchain, and the metaverse. In July, Hadean won a contract with the British Army to build a simulated training environment for ground warfare.
And it’s in that context that Hadean has now secured a host of illustrious backers eager to get in at an early stage, while the metaverse is still in its early years.
As the Telegraph newspaper first reported last month [paywalled]Hadean initially secured around $18 million in funding from investors, including Chinese tech giant Tencent and InQTel, a CIA-backed nonprofit venture capital firm based in Virginia, USA, still in the process of closing the round. of financing, which is what it announces 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 powerhouse Epic Games, who are also Hadean clients. In fact, Epic Games previously doled out funds to Hadean in the form of MegaGrants, which are basically grants to support companies working on projects to help support their Unreal Engine.
In an email to TechCrunch, Hadean CEO Craig Beddis said that Epic Games was late to the series A round and therefore had to invest via convertible note, which basically means it’s a short-term debt that will be converted into capital.
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 one more clue as to why it’s now investing directly in Hadean.
“Hadean’s computing power will provide the infrastructure that is needed as we work to create a scalable metaverse,” Marc Petit, who serves as vice president 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 notable, given the current geopolitical tensions between China and the US. Beddis explained that Hadean ended up receiving less money than Tencent offered in order to remain in compliance with the CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States) , and avoid a national security review.
With another $30 million in the bank, on top of its previously raised seed rounds to the tune of around $16.5 million, Hadean is well-funded to double down on its existing traction in the gaming, government, and enterprise realms, and power all kinds of web 3.0 and metaverse applications.
“Hadean’s mission is to bridge the physical and virtual worlds, to help us make better decisions and ultimately improve the quality of our lives in the physical world,” said Beddis. “Today’s virtual worlds are a limited experience: small-scale, isolated and insecure. So these are the technical challenges that we are addressing today. But we believe the true success and mass adoption of the metaverse will depend on how easily creators can build their own experiences at scale, leveraging robust, open metaverse-as-a-service technologies.”