SoftBank-backed software startup Improbable has a new chief financial officer



  • SoftBank-backed software startup Improbable has hired a new chief financial officer, the company announced Tuesday.
  • Business Insider earlier reported that the company had lost a crop of senior staff in 2019, including its former CFO.
  • Dan Odell joined UK-headquartered Improbable in January, after 15 years at Disney, and will be responsible for mapping out the firm’s financial path to growth.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

SoftBank-backed software startup Improbable has hired a new chief financial officer, after former CFO Michael Bannon departed for messaging API startup MessageBird in 2019.

The new recruit is Dan Odell, a media finance veteran who joins the startup after 15 years at Disney, per an announcement on Improbable’s blog on Tuesday. He was previously vice-president, global product management at Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products and chief financial officer of Disney’s Maker Studios prior to that.

Dan Odell

Improbable wrote: “Dan will be responsible for managing Improbable’s Finance, Strategy and Operations teams, manage the financial affairs of the company, and identify and plan for the optimal path for Improbable’s ongoing growth.”

Improbable is best known for its SpatialOS software, predominantly used by developers to create mass multiplayer games. It also counts clients in defence, with The Telegraph reporting in 2018 that the firm was actively pitching for US military contracts.

The company raised $502 million from SoftBank in 2017, one of the Japanese mega-investor’s largest investments in a UK company to date.

The success of Improbable’s SpatialOS appears mixed.

Game developer Bossa Studios built the multiplayer game “Worlds Adrift” on Improbable’s software but killed the game after low traction in May. Another game built by indie studio Spilt Milk, “Lazarus,” shuttered in August. And Automaton, a small studio that was offered a £5 million loan facility by Improbable and was developing a game based on its software, collapsed in August last year.

The company has other games in development, and has acquired a number of game studios to showcase its offering.

Business Insider reported in January that Improbable had lost a top HR exec and its chief creative officer, as well as its CFO, in 2019.

According to financial filings for the year to June 2018, the startup was bleeding cash. Its losses increased ten-fold to £50.4 million ($65.1 million), from £4.8 million ($6.2 million) in 2017. Revenue declined to £579,859 ($750,000), from £7.8 million ($10 million) the prior year.

The firm is due to publish its financials for 2018-2019 in March.

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