Ceres, a UK-based distributed, spatial computing startup set out to build the infrastructure for the emerging metaverse, has closed a $30 million round of funding from high-profile investors including Epic Games and Tencent.
Founded out of London in 2015, Hadean launched with a broad mission to “make supercomputer levels of processing power accessible to anyone,” Technology Flow wrote back in 2017 when the company was still operating in beta. In the intervening years, Hadean has been iterated for different use-cases and has emerged as a major player especially in the gaming sector, where it powers major hits like Minecraft.
Primarily, Hadean helps developers scale their codebase to support software that requires significant computing power, which Minecraft demands when it comes to multiplayer engagement over the Internet. Hadean’s spatial simulation library integrates with all major gaming engines and helps MMO (massively multiplayer online game) and other online game developers avoid placing player limits or using other types of technical (but limited) tricks to overcome problems. Created 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 a single-player offline console game.
This is achieved through the magic of distributed computing, Hadean’s platform eliminates “excessive middleware, orchestration and over-engineering”, as the company says, dynamically provisioning more or less resources as the game needs.
But the underlying technology can be used for anything from resource-intensive enterprise applications to Web 3.0, blockchain and the metaverse. Back in July, Hadian was awarded a contract by the British Army to build a simulated training environment for land warfare.
And against that backdrop, Hadean has now gained notable backers interested in getting in on the early stages, while the metaverse is still in its formative years.
As first reported by the Telegraph newspaper last month [paywalled]Hadean initially received about $18 million in funding from investors including Chinese technology titan Tencent and InQTel, a CIA-backed nonprofit venture capital firm based in Virginia, US. It’s still in the process of closing a funding round, it’s 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, which is also a Hayden customer. In fact, Epic Games has previously provided funding to Hadean in the form of megagrants, which are basically grants to support companies working on projects to support its Unreal engine.
In an email to Technology Flow, Hadean CEO Craig Beddis said Epic Games was late to the Series A round, so had to invest through a convertible note, which is basically a short-term loan that turns into equity.
It’s also worth noting that Epic Games recently raised nearly $2 billion to build what it’s promoting as a kid-friendly Metaverse, and that gives a further clue as to why it’s now investing directly in Hadean.
“Hadian’s computing power provides the infrastructure we need as we work to create a scalable Metaverse,” said Mark Pettit, Epic’s VP of Unreal Engine Ecosystem, 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 U.S. Beddis explained that Hadian took less money than Tencent offered, so that it would comply with CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) and avoid a national security review.
With another $30 million in the bank, in addition to its previously raised seed rounds of nearly $16.5 million, Hadean is well-financed to double its current traction and power across the gaming, government and enterprise sectors. Web 3.0 and Metaverse Applications.
“Hadion’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,” Beddis said. “Today’s virtual worlds are a limited experience – small scale, dumb and insecure. Hence these are the technological challenges we face today. But we believe the true success and mass adoption of 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.