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AP Photo/Kin Cheung

Unity, a San Francisco-based VR/AR gaming engine founded in 2004, has raised $400 million in new funding led by Silver Lake. Around half of the deal is a secondary, which means that it will liquidity for early shareholders (primarily employees). The company is now valued at around $2.6 billion, and previously raised over $170 million from firms like DFJ Growth, Sequoia Capital, Thrive Capital and WestSummit Capital.

Why it matters: Beyond the fact that Unity powers Pokemon Go, which was the hottest thing on the planet (and in my house) at this time last year? Okay, how about because Unity claims that half of all new mobile games and two-thirds of all AR/VR content is now made in its environment? That basically means that Unity can sidestep the "hits problem" of gaming, and instead is able to ride the industry's more secular trends.

Bottom line: "Unity's plan is to democratize game development. It has done so by creating an engine that enables games to run on just about any platform, without huge costs related to porting the games to each new platform. That allows game developers to cut their costs and generate more revenues from more platforms. In that sense, Unity frees the developers from being beholden to platform owners, who often front the cash for big game development in exchange for exclusivity." -- Dean Takahashi, VentureBeat

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
5 mins ago - Economy & Business

Markets see rare convergence milestone

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals

A milestone was reached in the markets Thursday: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to match the dividend yield on the S&P 500

Why it matters: The two yields have been inverted since the beginning of last year, which is historically unusual.

Mike Allen, author of AM
59 mins ago - Economy & Business

First look: Business puts muscle behind Biden

Business Roundtable, the voice of America's top CEOs, today launched "Move the Needle," a campaign to support President Biden in rolling out COVID vaccines, increasing vaccine uptake and encouraging masks.

What they're saying: "Masks and vaccines are working. Now is the time to keep at it, overcome pandemic fatigue, and double down on the measures that will end this public health and economic crisis, said Business Roundtable president and CEO Josh Bolten.

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U.S. notified Israel in advance about Syria strike

Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration notified Israel in advance about the airstrike against an Iranian-backed Shiite militia base on the Syrian-Iraqi border Thursday evening, Israeli officials told me.

Why it matters: The airstrike was the first overt military action by the U.S. in the Middle East since Biden assumed office, and one that Israeli officials see as a positive signal about the new administration's posture toward Iran.