HTC invests €3m in Waterford firm VR Education

22 May 2020

From left: David Whelan, CEO of VR Education; and Sandra Whelan, COO of VR Education. Image: Shane O'Neill, SON Photographic

VR Education plans to use the funding to further develop its Engage platform while building its sales and marketing capability.

Waterford-based virtual reality start-up VR Education will receive a €3m investment from HTC, following on from a strategic licensing partnership the two companies announced in March.

In a statement, VR Education said that the investment will be used to further develop and enhance the company’s Engage platform, while building its sales and marketing capabilities. It will also produce additional showcase experiences to support the uptake of the Engage platform.

As part of the investment deal, HTC will appoint one non-executive director to the VR Education board. According to the Irish Independent, HTC will take a 20pc stake in the Irish business.

VR Education, which was featured as a Start-up of the Week in 2015, provides VR content that can be used in schools, universities, research centres and corporate training to teach subjects in a virtual environment. It was founded by husband-and-wife team David and Sandra Whelan.

VR and Covid-19

David Whelan, who is CEO of the company, said that the investment from HTC will help in the development of services that other businesses can use to deal with some of the challenges posed by the coronavirus.

“In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is set to catalyse long-term changes in working practices, VR Education and HTC’s combined offering provides a complete end-to-end service to alleviate the challenges posed by reduced travel due to health and climate change concerns,” Whelan said.

“We look forward to this next stage of our development and continuing working alongside HTC as a strategic partner and shareholder to provide these solutions for customers.”

Alvin W Graylin, president of HTC China, said: “Earlier this year, we saw first-hand the kind of value we can deliver through Engage by successfully hosting our annual Vive Ecosystem conference entirely in virtual reality.

“With the ongoing global pandemic, we recognise that now, more than ever, it is important to invest in and expand accessibility to XR technologies that enable human connection and maintain presence when we are physically apart.

“Through this partnership, we believe we can offer an important service to large groups of people to learn, share and collaborate with their peers around the world.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic