VRAI wins the Dublin City Enterprise award

11 Mar 2020

Image: © Photocreo Bednarek/Stock.adobe.com

VRAI won the award for its HEAT platform, which enables organisations to train employees in high-risk activities.

On Tuesday (10 March), data-driven virtual reality simulation company VRAI was named as this year’s winner of the Dublin City Enterprise award, taking home the top prize of €5,000.

The start-up will go on to represent the Dublin City Local Enterprise Office at the 22nd National Enterprise Awards, which are scheduled to take place in the Mansion House in Dublin on 22 May.

VRAI will compete with 30 other finalists from local authorities across the country for a share of the €40,000 prize fund. Categories at the final of the competition include Best Export Business, Best Future Focused Business and Best Innovation, in addition to eight regional awards.

VRAI’s winning solution

Recognised by Enterprise Ireland as a high potential start-up, VRAI was founded by Niall Campion and Pat O’Connor in August 2017 when they saw the opportunity to develop virtual reality training products for high-hazard environments.

The company combines Campion’s experience of directing film and VFX, with O’Connor’s experience as a senior officer in the Irish Defence Forces working in Syria, Israel and Liberia. Now, the duo are based in Temple Bar, where they employ 15 people.

The company’s main offering is the Hazardous Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) VR system, which is used by organisations participating in high-risk activities. HEAT can also be used to train employees in remote or rare tasks, offering them an “authentic, memorable and measurable” experience.

The platform creates virtual training environments, with data capture and analytics to improve performance, safety and training outcomes. VRAI provides this technology to teams in defence, security, energy, utilities, aviation and the construction sector.

National Enterprise Awards

Greg Swift, head of enterprise and economic development with the Dublin City Local Enterprise Office, said: “For the last two decades, the National Enterprise Awards have celebrated homegrown success stories from every corner of Ireland, putting their achievements into the national spotlight.

“At the 2020 National Enterprise Awards, we are delighted to be represented by VRAI, yet another homegrown success story. VRAI exemplify innovation. The judges were particularly impressed by the calibre of international corporate clients they have secured in less than three years of operations. We wish them continued success with their company expansion plans.”

Commenting on the support the start-up has received from its Local Enterprise Office (LEO), Campion said: “We received a grant from DCC LEO in 2018. This grant allowed us to move from being a sole trader business employing contract staff to employing our first two full-time staff members.

“These two staff members are now a core part of our team of 15. The LEO support allowed us to add full-time staff, on a respectable salary, with reduced risk.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic