GembaInc., an enterprise virtual reality (VR) training startup used by some of the world’s largest companies, has raised $18 million in Series A funding.
Gemba designs and distributes so-called “virtual”master class]and other nervous material supply chain management When lean manufacturing, working with subject matter experts to deliver courses that can be run over several days. The main selling point of Gemba’s program is that it is designed to be as lifelike as possible. This means that programs can be delivered live, facilitating real-time interaction between all participants.
“The Gemba Masterclass is fully interactive. It’s 3D, immersive, and uses the same software that makes 90% of video games (unity),” Gemba CEO Nathan Robinson told TechCrunch. “In the field, you can walk around freely, grab things, participate in simulations, and more.
Every participant has a corresponding avatar and can join from wherever you want, whether it’s your office or your living room.
“A typical masterclass is attended by 25 senior executives from companies in various sectors, including vice presidents from Pfizer, Nike, Adidas, Dell, Volvo, Roche, etc.,” Robinson added. rice field. “We have one masterclass leader who is a recognized subject matter expert and two of his speakers as guests from companies such as Amazon and AstraZeneca.”
Gemba’s software is now Meta’s Quest Headsetas part of the package, and the company says it is working to expand support to all popular VR and AR devices throughout 2023.
Up to this point
in the meantime Metaverse hype It may be premature to be backed by companies like Facebook’s parent company Meta, but it’s clear that VR, AR, and mixed reality are gaining at least a little more momentum outside the gaming industry these days. The pandemic may have played a role in this. Training, in particular, continues to be a central focus of many current VR applications, and investors are taking notice.
For example, last month Loft Dynamics Raises $20 Million Medical simulation platform addresses helicopter pilot shortage with VR training FundamentalVR secures $20 million Empowering surgeons to learn through VR. And then there’s VRAI. Recently raised just over $3.2 million Bringing VR simulation training to hazardous industries such as the offshore wind sector.
London-based Gemba was first established in 2010 as an executive training company called The Leadership Network and rebranded to its current name last April as part of a continued transition from its legacy training business. . The pandemic may have boosted his Gemba ambitions in the VR space, but it actually started shifting focus years ago. I was looking for new ways to take knowledge from training courses and extend it to thousands of users. In fact, the company conducted his first VR enterprise training in 2019 and started masterclasses the following year.
“From start to finish, this process has taken over five years,” says Robinson. “In 2017, VR was still cumbersome, challenging, and really only used in niche games, but all the elements of the metaverse were there. A once-in-a-generation opportunity to create immersive learning that feels as good as a face-to-face experience, with creative potential, all the efficiencies of digital platforms, and enormous environmental and social benefits. It was a changing workforce.”
All R&D through the pivot to VR was essentially self-financed from profits earned from traditional training programs, but is now building on the foundations that have won major customers such as Coca-Cola. We aim to strengthen and build. , Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Nike started out as Gemba customers in traditional in-person training businesses before moving into the VR space with Gemba.
A key selling point for customers is that VR reduces travel time and costs, meeting any carbon reduction efforts companies have in place. Courses at Gemba don’t come cheap, though. Each masterclass costs about $7,250 per he per program. Enterprise subscriptions, however, are available starting at around $120,000 annually for a team of 50 people, and he goes up to $1.2 million for larger ones. roll out.
Participants can also choose to keep their Meta Quest headsets at the end of the program, but with the Enterprise subscription plan, companies purchase headsets separately and reuse them in future programs.
Gemba, which has its first-ever outside funding of $18 million in the bank, said it plans to drive growth across the EMEA region and eventually expand into the North American market. In fact, Gemba’s Series A round was led by New York-based Parkway Venture Capital, in which he previously invested in Lyft, Intel-owned Mobileye, Coursera, China’s Didi, and others.