VR Education raises €9m to build a ‘metaverse for business’

18 Jun 2021

David Whelan, CEO, and Sandra Whelan, COO, VR Education. Image: Shane O’Neill/SON Photographic

The Waterford company plans to double its workforce from 60 to 120 as it builds out this new virtual reality offering for customers.

Waterford virtual reality company VR Education has raised €9m in a share placing to build a “metaverse for business” in VR.

VR Education, which is listed on Euronext Dublin and the London Stock Exchange, raised the funds through new shares placed by Davy and Shard Capital Partners.

Chief executive David Whelan told Siliconrepublic.com that the company is planning to build a new product for businesses that he describes as an “always-on persistent world”.

Its VR platform, Engage, was initially designed for education and corporate training but since Covid-19 hit, the company has seen an uptick in demand from enterprise clients.

“They were asking us for additional services. They were using us for business meetings and sales events and they actually want more of an outreach where they can offer services to the general public. So what we’re building is an always-on persistent world, a metaverse for business,” Whelan said.

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This would allow businesses to build virtual environments that are constantly operating where users can come in and avail of different services.

“You can go into the lobby area which is open access. The employees then have access to the private locations in that building where they can go into meetings and conferences,” he said.

“There’ll be locations branded by the companies themselves and you can walk around those locations but then if you want to get services from those companies, you can then purchase those services in this always-on metaverse.”

VR Education, which raised €3m from HTC in 2020, plans to launch the new product next year. In the meantime, it also plans to double its workforce from 60 to 120 over the coming year, mostly in tech roles. While the company is based in Waterford, it plans to hire around Ireland on a remote basis as well.

Whelan said the company reached 100 commercial clients over the last year despite the pandemic disruptions. One of its most popular products has been a VR learning tool detailing the Apollo 11 moon mission.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

editorial@siliconrepublic.com